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Query--YA FANTASY-- LATEST-- Post 53


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#1 sereneew

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Posted 22 December 2017 - 11:37 PM

Hello everyone, Decided to give my second book a chance. This is a first draft... I hope for starters it's good. Thank you in advance !!!


CHECK POST #53 for Revision Link: http://agentquerycon...st-50/?p=350935

 

Dear Agent x,

17 yo Norvina wishes to spend the prom night she’s always dreamt of, when the love of her life tries to rape her, Norvina lights his suit on fire with her bare hands. Unable to control her powers, she unintentionally lights the entire forest on fire, and all the energy expenditure causing her to lose consciousness. 48 hours later, Norvina wakes up in a hospital. All she ends up with is a burn on her right wrist and no memory of her past.


A year later, Norvina walks in on a group of Latrons using an infused meson gun to kill her classmate. When she notices a picture of herself in one of the mens hand, she realizes she was the main target. Until today, she did not know deviants exist, but now they're after her. While the Latrons try to kill Norvina, she is rescued by an old classmate, Vulcan; God of Fire and ex-Latron traitor.

Overwhelmed with unanswered questions, she learns that the only person able to help her is Volcan. They hate each other. They want each other dead. But they have a similar goal that draws them together -- kill the deviants. While they both attempt to defeat their enemies, they awaken the Latron leader and the deadliest human on earth; Black Death. He feeds on the souls of powerful humans and his main target is Norvina.

With the Black Death after them, it soon leads Norvina and Vulcan on a vengeance obstacle course. It reveals secrets of Norvinas past and Vulcans true powers. What they end up discovering and what Vulcan keeps hidden, might drive them apart forever.

LONGING SOULS is a YA contemporary fantasy novel, complete at 85,000 words. It will appeal to fans of Marvel heroines and hidden identities.


If I helped please leave a feedback on my YA FANTASY QUERY http://agentquerycon...st-50/?p=350935


#2 Sataris

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Posted 23 December 2017 - 08:29 PM

Hello, Decided to give my second book a chance. This is a first draft... I hope for starters it's good. Thank you in advance !!!


Dear Agent x,

17 yo Norvina wishes to spend the prom night she’s always dreamt of, when the love of her life tries to rape her, Norvina lights his suit on fire with her bare hands This probably need to be two sentences, and if it's the first time her powers manifest, you might want to let us know before this next line. Unable to control her powers, she unintentionally lights the entire forest is she at prom, or in the forest, or does the forest surround the building? on fire, and all the energy expenditure causes her to lose consciousness. 48 hours later, Norvina wakes up in a hospital. All she ends up with is a burn on her right wrist and no memory of her past. Losing her memories seems like a really big deal. This first paragraph reads like Carrie, which is fine, but then...
 

A year later, Norvina walks in on a group of Latrons whats a latron? using an infused meson gun not sure what this is to kill her classmate This seems like a big jump to science fiction-almost like we've started another story. And in general, if you're going to use time jumps in a query, you can just cut the first bit, since it's clear the story (or action) actually starts here. When she notices a picture of herself in one of the mens hand, she realizes she was the main target. Until today, she did not know deviants not sure what a deviant is exist, but now they're after her. While the Latrons try to kill Norvina, she is rescued by an old classmate, Vulcan; God of Fire This seems like another theme jump - she's classmates with a literal god? and ex-Latron traitor.  

 

Overwhelmed with unanswered questions such as?, she learns that the only person able to help her is Volcan. They hate each other. They want each other dead Why? He just saved her, right?. But they have a similar goal that draws them together -- kill the deviants deviants=latrons?. While they both attempt to defeat their enemies, they awaken the Latron leader and the deadliest human on earth; Black Death. He feeds on the souls of powerful humans and his main target is Norvina why?

 

With the Black Death after them, it soon leads Norvina and Vulcan on a vengeance obstacle course not sure what this means. It reveals secrets of Norvinas past and Vulcans true powers we don't know what Norvina's past is, so we can't really emphasize with her past being revealed. What they end up discovering and what Vulcan keeps hidden, might drive them apart forever. We need something a little more concrete here as well, as we have no idea what the secret could be. and also- they want each other dead early on in the query, so you might want to emphasize that they're getting closer as the story goes on

LONGING SOULS is a YA contemporary fantasy novel, complete at 85,000 words. It will appeal to fans of Marvel heroines and hidden identities.

 

First off, thanks for the feedback! I do think this is a good first attempt. Here are three things I'd focus on for your next attempt:

 

1. Try to make the genre more consistent- Right now the first paragraph reads like supernatural fiction, then the first half of the second reads as science fiction, then the third brings in a Roman god- can you see how that might be a little jarring for the reader? Or for the agent who's trying to make sure you know your genre? Cutting the first paragraph would be a good start here-it doesn't seem like we really need the backstory. There's actually another example up on this on the query shark blog right now.

 

2. Making things more concrete. phrases such as "what they end up discovering" won't help you much with an agent - it reads too much as a tease, and there isn't enough information to make it seem interesting, since we have no idea what the secret could even be. Other things like Latrons, Deviants, meson guns- these all need to be explained, or you could just a find a way to detail them without using the proper names. Like if you just cut the meson gun and say a group of people assassinated her classmate, it reads virtually the same to us, because we don't have any idea what the guns are anyway.

 

3. Focus more tightly on the relationship between Vulcan and Norvina. Given your last line, it seems like this relationship is a focal point of the novel. If so, you're going to want to detail their arc a little bit more; right now we know they want eachother dead, then at the very end they might get split up (but we didn't know they were together).

 

Hope that was helpful and best of luck!


No current query.


#3 sereneew

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Posted 25 December 2017 - 04:50 AM

Thank you Sataris for you FEEDBACK! Took you advice, so I hope this second one is a bit better...

 

 

New York City was once a safe place filled with superheroes,  before a new Mayor was elected. He hired Black Death —only feeds on the soul of powerful people — to exterminate the superhero species. But a little girl survived, Norvina.

 

17 years later Norvina discovers she has superpowers, when her body turns to flame while a group of men try to rape her. But when she tries to turn off the fire, she encounters a group of assassins, who work for Black Death. While the assassins try to kill Norvina, she is rescued by an old classmate bully— Vulcan.   


When Norvina becomes NYC most wanted, she must stay hidden and team up with Vulcan, who agrees to teach her how to use her power. While they work together, neither can continue to disregard the attraction that is uniting them. But when Norvina discovers Black Death killed her mother and Vulcans relationship to him, she will do everything in her powers to kill Black Death-- in spite of revealing her cover, breaking the law and forgetting she ever had affections for Vulcan.


If I helped please leave a feedback on my YA FANTASY QUERY http://agentquerycon...st-50/?p=350935


#4 RMLucas

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Posted 25 December 2017 - 07:48 AM

Thank you Sataris for you FEEDBACK! Took you advice, so I hope this second one is a bit better...

 

 

New York City was once a safe place filled with superheroes,  before a new Mayor was elected. He hired Black Death —only feeds on the soul of powerful people — to exterminate the (last of the superheroes?) superhero species. But a little girl survived, Norvina. (I'd start with the MC. She should be the first person you introduce.)

 

17 years later Norvina discovers she has superpowers, when her body turns to flame while a group of men try to rape her (Line seems a little clunky. I may consider something on the lines of "When 17-year-old Norvina is assaulted, she discovers she has the power to turn her body into flames. You don't really need to mention the attempted rape for query to work.) ,  But when she tries to turn off the fire, she encounters (is attacked by?) a group of assassins, who work for Black Death. While the assassins try to kill Norvina, she is only to be rescued by an old classmate bully— Vulcan. 


When Norvina becomes NYC most wanted, she must stay hidden and team up with Vulcan, who agrees to teach her how to use her power. While they work together, neither can continue to disregard the attraction that is uniting them. But when Norvina discovers Black Death killed her mother and Vulcan(')s relationship(association) to him, she will do everything in her powers to kill Black Death-- in spite of revealing her cover, breaking the law and forgetting she ever had her affections for Vulcan.

Just a couple of changes I would suggest. Main thing is your hook. Make sure your MC is the first thing we get introduced to. The rest is just trying to simplify the extra details you don't really need. Some of the details on your subplots don't need to go on your query. The point is to draw the agent without confusing him with extra details. It's coming along though. Like this version to the other one :) Would love your opinion on mine. Thanks!

 

http://agentquerycon...tique/?p=349850



#5 sereneew

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Posted 25 December 2017 - 05:04 PM

Revision # 3 

 

 

It's a crime and curse to have superpowers in New York City since they were killed by Black Death--- only feeds on the soul of powerful people--- and his men. But one night, Norvina discovers she is one of the cursed ones with superpowers. 

 

When 17-year-old Norvina is assaulted in a back alley, she finds she has the power to turn her body into flames. But when she tries to control and turn off the fire, she is attacked by Black Death and his men. While they try to kill Norvina, she is rescued by an old classmate bully— Vulcan. 

 

When Norvina becomes NYC most wanted, she must stay hidden with Vulcan, who agrees to teach her how to use her powers. Although they hate each other, neither can continue to ignore the attraction that is uniting them. But when Norvina discovers Black Death killed her mother and Vulcan's connection to him, she will do everything in her powers to kill Black Death-- in spite of revealing her identity, breaking the law and ignoring her affections for Vulcan.


If I helped please leave a feedback on my YA FANTASY QUERY http://agentquerycon...st-50/?p=350935


#6 Danelle Chase

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Posted 26 December 2017 - 12:13 AM

Hi, dear! Thanks for looking at my query! I'm here to return the favor. :)

 

 

Revision # 3 

 

 

It's a crime and curse to have superpowers in New York City since hired hitman (or better title) Black Death killed every last super hero. they were killed by Black Death--- only feeds on the soul of powerful people--- and his men. But one night, Norvina discovers she is one of the cursed ones (cut curse above, so it could stay down here) with superpowers. 

 

When 17-year-old Norvina is assaulted in a back alley, she finds she has the power to turn her body into flames. But when She tries to control and turn off the fire, but then she is attacked by Black Death and his men. While They try to kill Norvina, and she is rescued by an old classmate bully— Vulcan. (solid paragraph! Maybe finish it up with how he rescued her with his own powers, since it's apparent he teaches in the following paragraph?)

 

With When Norvina becoming becomes New York City's most wanted, she must stay hidden with Vulcan, who agrees to teach her how to use her powers. Although they hate each other, neither can continue to ignore the attraction that is uniting them (this sentence is a little cliche. It may sound corny, but use Norvina's powers to refer to the 'spark' between them. This way, you're carrying your supernatural theme)But (careful when using 'but' to begin your sentences. Great for dramatic effect, like in the previous paragraph, but when used again in the following paragraph, it loses that effect) When Norvina discovers Black Death killed her mother (is this a recent death or past death? Be clear here, so I can understand the direct impact on the character's emotional state--ripping open an old wound or creating a fresh one?) and Vulcan's connection to him, she will do everything in her powers to kill Black Death-- in spite of revealing her identity, breaking the law and ignoring her affections for Vulcan. (Solid finisher!)

 

I can't wait to see your revisions! 



#7 sereneew

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Posted 26 December 2017 - 09:42 PM

Thank you for your feedback. Hopefully this is better...

 

REVISION #4

 

It's a crime to have superpowers in New York City since hired gunman Black Death killed every last superhero. But one night, Norvina discovers she is one of the cursed ones with superpowers.

 

When 17-year-old Norvina is assaulted in a back alley, she finds she has the power to turn her body into flames. She tries to control and turn off the fire, but then she is attacked by Black Death and his men. They try to kill Norvina, and she is rescued by an old classmate bully— Vulcan. He uses his combat skills he learned from defense class to distract the gunman's, in order to save Norvina.    

 

With Norvina becoming New York City's most wanted, she must stay hidden with Vulcan, who agrees to teach her how to use her powers, from what he learns online. While he goes out of his way to help Norvina and try to keep her safe, neither can continue to ignore the attraction that is uniting them. When Norvina discovers Black Death killed her mother several years ago when she was just an infant and Vulcan's connection to him, she will do everything in her powers to kill Black Death-- in spite of revealing her identity, breaking the law and ignoring her affections for Vulcan.


If I helped please leave a feedback on my YA FANTASY QUERY http://agentquerycon...st-50/?p=350935


#8 Nessa

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Posted 26 December 2017 - 10:56 PM

Thank you for your feedback. Hopefully this is better... ​[I think you're almost done.]

 


 

REVISION #4

 

It's a crime to have superpowers in New York City since hired gunman Black Death killed every last superhero. ​[This is lacking an emotional hit. Toy with colorful words. Ex: "Ever since hired-gunman Black Death annihilated every superhero in New York City, it has been a crime to seek/absorb/use superpowers." Your current sentence begs the questions of how superpowers are obtained, who is leading the government, and why using superpowers is now a crime.] But one night, Norvina discovers she is one of the cursed ones with superpowers. ​[I suggest introducing Norvina in the first sentence. Queries are quick reads. You want to quickly take the agent to the protagonist.]

 

When 17-year-old Norvina is assaulted in a back alley ​[Again, I suggest opening with Norvina's introduction and her age. The way your query is currently laid out, the first paragraph is unnecessary. As a side-note, you might want to reconsider rewording the assault. It sounds like sexual assault, and that's a sensitive topic. If it's not a sexual assault, just reword your query. If it is​, I suggest doing a minor revision. Just words of caution. Is it really necessary to the plot??], she finds she has the power to turn her body into flames. She tries to control and turn off the fire, but then she is attacked by Black Death and his men​ [Does she train herself on the side? Does she train by watching old recordings of superheroes?]. They try to kill Norvina, and she is rescued by an old classmate bully— Vulcan ​[Why does he save her? You could also reword this as "an old classmate bully who (so-and-so)" to fill in the gaps about his reasoning.] He uses his combat skills he learned from defense class to distract the gunman's, in order to save Norvina. ​[I don't think this sentence is necessary.]   

 

With Norvina becoming New York City's most wanted, ​[What is going on between the attack and now that turns her into somebody who is wanted?] she must stay hidden with Vulcan, who agrees to teach her how to use her powers, from what he learns online. While he goes out of his way to help Norvina and try to keep her safe, neither can continue to ignore the attraction that is uniting them​ [Personal taste, but I always err on mentioning romance unless it's a huge part of the plot. You already mention it later as "affections," so you can go with that.]. When Norvina discovers Black Death killed her mother several years ago when she was just an infant and Vulcan's connection to him ​[This is worded strangely. Her mom is killed when she's an infant? Who is an infant? And how does "several years" fit in? Also, "Vulcan's connection to him" is tacked on awkwardly. Try rewording.], she will do everything in her powers to kill Black Death-- ​[even if that means revealing her identity, breaking the law, and ignoring her growing affection for Vulcan.]in spite of revealing her identity, breaking the law and ignoring her affections for Vulcan.

 

​LONGING SOULS is a YA contemporary fantasy novel complete at 85,000 words. It will appeal to fans of Marvel heroines and hidden identities. ​[Imo, these comps are weak. You might want to try "It combines X with the voice/setting/theme of Y." Be specific about the elements that are similar. Ex: "...with the voicey narration of X." I also recommend dropping Marvel as a comp. Marvel is on another plane of reality. We've got comics, movies, and now YA novels (I'm so excited for Loki's novel!). Comping your work to such a powerful entity might not work in your favor. Look for YA novels about non-Marvel and non-DC superheroes. I'm not really into superheroes outside of DC and Marvel (ah, who am I kidding--Marvel owns my heart), but several comps that come to mind include Brandon Sanderson's THE RECKONERS series, Marissa Meyers' RENEGADES, and Peter Moore's V IS FOR VILLAIN. You might try Perry Moore's HERO, though that was published in 2010. Your comps don't need to be about superheroes, and on that note I'll recommend Marie Lu's THE YOUNG ELITES, which has X-Men vibes.]

 

​Good luck!


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#9 sereneew

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Posted 28 December 2017 - 05:51 PM

REVISION #5 Hopefully this is a better version. THANK YOU FOR EVERYONES HELP IN ADVANCE !

 

17- year- old orphan Norvina discovers she is one of the cursed ones with superpowers. Ever since hired-gunman Black Death annihilated every superhero in New York City, it has been a crime to absorb superpowers.

 

When Norvina is attacked in a back alley, she finds she has the power to turn her body into flames. Unable to control her new found powers and turn off the fire, she is attacked by Black Death and his men​. They try to kill Norvina, and an old classmate bully-- Vulcan--- rivals with Black Death--- saves her from the gunman.

 

With Norvina flying under the radar of the law, she must stay hidden with Vulcan, who agrees to teach her how to use her powers, from what he learns online. While he goes out of his way to help Norvina, his hidden superpowers unveil and relation to Black Death. She’s helpless and seeking answer--- until she discovers Black Death is the reason she’s been an orphan for seventeen years, ever since he killed her mother, she will do everything in her powers to kill Black Death-- ​even if that means revealing her identity, breaking the law, and ignoring her growing affection for Vulcan.

 

​LONGING SOULS is a YA contemporary fantasy novel complete at 85,000 words.LONGING SOULS is a stand alone with series potential. It will appeal to fans of new heroines with hidden identities such as FIREBIRD from the MARVEL COMICS.  It also combines Marissa Meyers' RENEGADES with the voice of Peter Moore's V IS FOR VILLAIN.


If I helped please leave a feedback on my YA FANTASY QUERY http://agentquerycon...st-50/?p=350935


#10 smithgirl

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Posted 28 December 2017 - 08:17 PM

 

17- year- old orphan Norvina discovers she is one of the cursed ones with superpowers. Ever since hired-gunman Black Death annihilated every superhero in New York City, it has been a crime to absorb superpowers.

 

Your hook seems weak to me; two sentences that are not well related to one another. Try to rephrase and connect in a way that makes it more exciting. Also the absorb word is strange. I assume it pertains to the mechanism of superpower acquisition in your book, but in just the query, it sounds strange and confusing.

 

Ever since hired gunman Black Death annihilated every superhero in New York City, it has been a crime to acquire superpowers. Which is bad for Norvina, because she just got them in a big way.

 

The orphan Norvina is seventeen when Norvina she is attacked in a back alley, and suddenly she finds avoid passive passive phrases like she finds she has the power to turn her body into flames. But when she is unable to control her new found powers and turn off the fire, she is attacked by Black Death and his men​. They try to kill her Norvina, but an an old classmate bully-- Vulcan--- rivals with Black Death--- saves her from the gunman. Before you said she was attacked by men. Here you say saved her from the gunman.

 

With Norvina flying under the radar of the law, she must stay hidden with Vulcan, who agrees to teach her how to use her powers, from what he learns online. While he goes out of his way to help Norvina, his own hidden superpowers (unveil and relation to Black Death). I don't understand what you're trying to say here. She’s helpless and seeking answers--- until she discovers Black Death is the reason she’s been an orphan for seventeen years, ever since he killed her mother, she will do everything in her powers to kill Black Death-- ​even if that means revealing her identity, breaking the law, and ignoring her growing affection for Vulcan. This sentence is way too long and unclear. And the affection for Vulcan is out of nowhere -- there was no reason until now to think she had affection for Vulcan. You need to introduce this earlier.

 

This last paragraph has too much info crammed into it. It becomes unclear and confusing.

 

​LONGING SOULS is a YA contemporary fantasy novel complete at 85,000 words.LONGING SOULS is a stand alone with series potential. It will appeal to fans of new heroines with hidden identities such as FIREBIRD from the MARVEL COMICS.  It also combines Marissa Meyers' RENEGADES with the voice of Peter Moore's V IS FOR VILLAIN.

 

Hi gtwahab. I made some comments on your query. I think it's getting there. Especially the last paragraph has too much information that is not clear. Try to focus on the essential elements of the story; make your query a clear sequence of events that connect and build upon each other. Good luck!



#11 mindy24601

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Posted 28 December 2017 - 08:32 PM

REVISION #5 Hopefully this is a better version. THANK YOU FOR EVERYONES HELP IN ADVANCE !

 

17- year- old orphan Norvina discovers she is one of the cursed ones this sounds a tad generic. is she cursed because she has superpowers in a world that's prejudiced against them? cursed (i.e. by as witch) and has superpowers? perhaps consider a different word than cursed with superpowers. Ever since hired-gunman Black Death annihilated every superhero in New York City, it has been a crime to absorb superpowers. ooh this is much catchier. i'd almost lead with this, and bring in norvina afterwards

 

When Norvina is attacked in a back alley, she finds she has the power to turn her body into flames. i thought the superpowers had to be absorbed. did she actually accidentally absorb them? Unable to control her new found one word powers and turn off the fire you mean she was walking around like a shining beacon? maybe reword this, it sounds a bit juvenile, she is attacked by Black Death and his men​. They try to kill Norvina, and but an old classmate bully an old school bully?-- Vulcan--- rivals with Black Death reword this: black death's rival?--- saves her from the gunman.

 

With Norvina flying under the radar of the law, she must stay hidden with Vulcan, who agrees to teach her how to use her powers, from what he learns online. watch those commas! also, i wonder about the plausibility of this as well -- isn't online usualyl tracked? While he goes out of his way to help Norvina, his hidden superpowers unveil is there a typo somewhere here?and relation to Black Death. She’s helpless and seeking answer--- until she discovers Black Death is the reason she’s been an orphan for seventeen years, ever since he killed her mother, you need to break this up into multiple sentences she will do everything in her powers to kill Black Death-- ​even if that means revealing her identity, breaking the law isn't she already doing this by having superpowers, and ignoring her growing affection for Vulcan.

 

​LONGING SOULS is a YA contemporary fantasy novel complete at 85,000 words.LONGING SOULS is a stand alone with series potential. It will appeal to fans of new heroines with hidden identities such as FIREBIRD from the MARVEL COMICS.  It also combines Marissa Meyers' RENEGADES with the voice of Peter Moore's V IS FOR VILLAIN.

 

reminds me a tad of steelheart (brandon sanderson) as well. certainly sounds interesting. watch your grammar, and pick the most powerful words you can!

 

please consider giving your opinion: http://agentquerycon...ry-ya-fantasy/ 



#12 sereneew

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 01:48 AM

Thank you @smithgirl and @mingy24601 for your feedback, Hoping this is a better suited query. Deleted a few things and added a few other things. 

 

REVISION #6

 

Ever since hired gunman Black Death annihilated every superhero in New York City, it has been a crime to acquire superpowers. Which is bad for Norvina, because she just got them in a big way.

 

The orphan is seventeen when she is attacked in a back alley, and suddenly she has the power to turn her body into flames. But when she is unable to control her new found powers and turn off the fire, she is encountered by Black Death and his men​. They try to kill her, but an old classmate bully-- Vulcan--- foes with Black Death--- saves her from the men.

 

Norvina must stay hidden with Vulcan, who agrees to teach her how to use her powers. While he goes out of his way to help Norvina, their hatred turns to affection. (I'm not sure if I should use that sentence or... While he goes out of his way to help Norvina, secrets about his own hidden superpowers are leaked.)  When she discovers Black Death killed her mother seventeen years ago, she will do everything in her powers to kill Black Death-- ​even if that means revealing her identity, breaking the law, and ignoring her growing attraction for Vulcan ( working with Vulcan who deceived her. ) 

 

​LONGING SOULS is a YA contemporary fantasy novel complete at 85,000 words. LONGING SOULS is a stand alone with series potential. It will appeal to fans of uprising heroines with hidden identities such as FIREBIRD from the MARVEL COMICS.  It also combines Marissa Meyers' RENEGADES with the voice of Peter Moore's V IS FOR VILLAIN.

 

 

​The blue are alternative sentences for a better dramatic effect, but if the original is catchy then disregard the blue. 


If I helped please leave a feedback on my YA FANTASY QUERY http://agentquerycon...st-50/?p=350935


#13 Nessa

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 07:56 PM

REVISION #6

 

 

Ever since hired gunman Black Death annihilated every superhero in New York City, it has been a crime to acquire superpowers. ​["Ever since hired gunman Black Death annihilated every superhero in New York City and reinstated himself as the Ruler Ultimate, it has been a crime to acquire superpowers." Your plot might be completely different, but you want to clarify the last bit of your current sentence. Who makes it a crime? (new bad guy) Why is it a crime? (though not explicitly stated, can be assumed that Black Death wants to be a dictator/monarch/whatever. Others will disagree with me, and will want you to explicitly explain why superpowers are illegal.]Which is bad for Norvina, because she just got them in a big way. ​[Nice voice.]

 

The orphan is seventeen ​[Avoid epithets. Stick with names. "Norvina is seventeen..."]when she is attacked ​[by muggers/thieves/robbers/etc.]in a back alley, and suddenly she has the power to turn her body into flames. ​[Ignore me. I'm just tooling around with rewriting sentences. Maybe something will inspire you. "When Norvina is jumped by muggers in a back alley, her adrenaline triggers a mutation in her DNA that gives her overwhelming power over fire. She roasts the muggers well done and attracts the attention of Black Death's city patrol. They try to take her in, but she fights them off with the help of Vulcan, a former classmate bully who wants dibs on slitting Black Death's throat." Not your voice, probably not your plot, but do you see how I (attempt) to weave in the important bits with action? I think you query need a little more movement. More flow in the sentences. Kind of like an action scene, which I assume most of your story will be.]But when she is unable to control her new found powers and turn off the fire, she is encountered by Black Death and his men​. They try to kill her, but an old classmate bully-- Vulcan--- foes with Black Death--- saves her from the men.

 

Norvina must stay hidden with Vulcan, who agrees to teach her how to use her powers. While he goes out of his way to help Norvina, their hatred turns to affection. (I'm not sure if I should use that sentence or... While he goes out of his way to help Norvina, secrets about his own hidden superpowers are leaked.)  ​[Norvina still hasn't forgiven Vulcan for making her life hell, but his hideaway and hatred of Black Death convince her to strike a deal with him. He'll hide and train her in the art of fire in exchange for....] When she discovers Black Death killed her mother seventeen years ago, she will do everything in her powers to kill Black Death​[Did her goals change from merely surviving under Black Death's reign to actually ending it? I'm not sure what her initial goal even is.]-- ​even if that means revealing her identity, breaking the law, and ignoring her growing attraction for Vulcan ( working with Vulcan who deceived her. ) 

 

​LONGING SOULS is a YA contemporary fantasy novel complete at 85,000 words. LONGING SOULS It is a stand alone with series potential. It and will appeal to fans of uprising heroines​[Idk what "uprising" means in this context.] with hidden identities such as FIREBIRD from the MARVEL COMICS. It also combines Marissa Meyers' RENEGADES with the ​[How would you describe his voice? Snarky? Humorous? Try to fill in the blanks for agents who never read V IS FOR VILLAIN] voice of Peter Moore's V IS FOR VILLAIN. 

 

 

​The blue are alternative sentences for a better dramatic effect, but if the original is catchy then disregard the blue. 


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#14 sereneew

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 09:27 PM

REVISION#7 THIS HAS A LOT MORE ACTION YAY! THANK YOU FOR YOUR INSIGHT @NESSA

Ever since hired gunman Black Death annihilated every superhero in New York City and reinstated himself as the Ruler Ultimate, it has been a crime to acquire super powers, unless you're a supervillain. Which is bad for Norvina, because she just got them in a big way. ​

Seventeen-year-old Norvina is jumped by thieves in a back alley. When they taser her, the electric currents trigger a mutation in her DNA that gives her overwhelming power over fire. She roasts the muggers and attracts the attention of Black Death's superpredators. They try to kill her, but she fights them off with the help of Vulcan, a former classmate bully who wants dibs on slitting Black Death's throat.

Norvina still hasn't forgiven Vulcan for making her high school experience a living hell, but his hideaway and hatred of Black Death convince her to strike a deal with him. He'll hide and train her in the art of fire in exchange for help to defeat all the supervillains that work for Black Death.

When Norvina and Vulcan encounter supervillain, Megafauna-- a four-eyed mind manipulator-- Norvina puts her training into play. She uses the power of pyrokinesis, which enables her to mentally excite the atoms until it combusts. While she starts throwing fire bombs and electrical bolts, the monster mind manipulates Norvina and replays the death of her mother by Black Death. Instead of weakening her powers, it fortifies them, surrounding her with an aura of flames. She's filled with vengeance and will do everything in her powers to kill Black Death-- ​even if that means revealing her identity and breaking the law.


​LONGING SOULS is a YA contemporary fantasy novel complete at 85,000 words. It is a stand alone with series potential. It will appeal to fans of kick-ass heroines with hidden identities such as FIREBIRD from the MARVEL COMICS. It also combines Marissa Meyers' RENEGADES with the ​twist and revelations of Brandon Sanderson’s STEELHEART.


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#15 Ajax

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Posted 30 December 2017 - 08:41 AM


Ever since hired gunman Black Death annihilated every superhero in New York City and reinstated himself as the Ruler Ultimate, it has been a crime to acquire super powers, unless you're a supervillain. Which is bad for Norvina, because she just got them in a big way. ​(This sounds exactly like Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson. I'm not hooked.)

Seventeen-year-old Norvina is jumped by thieves in a back alley. When they taser her, the electric currents trigger a mutation in her DNA that gives her overwhelming power over fire. She roasts the muggers and attracts the attention of Black Death's superpredators. They try to kill her, but she fights them off with the help of Vulcan, a former classmate bully (Why would her bully help her?) who wants dibs on slitting Black Death's throat. (Why?)

Norvina still hasn't forgiven Vulcan for making her high school experience a living hell, but his hideaway and hatred of Black Death (What's causing this hatred? Also, wouldn't it be risky for Norvina to share her plans with her bully? How can she even trust him?) convince her to strike a deal with him. He'll hide and train her in the art of fire (Is he a fire bender? How does he know about this "art"?) in exchange for help to defeat all the supervillains that work for Black Death. (Why would she want to defeat these supervillains? What's her motive? Why can't she just pack up her bags and flee to a better place? Why is she being heroic?)

When Norvina and Vulcan encounter supervillain, Megafauna-- a four-eyed mind manipulator-- Norvina puts her training into play. She uses the power of pyrokinesis, which enables her to mentally excite the atoms until it combusts. While she starts throwing fire bombs and electrical bolts, the monster  (Too detailed for the query.) mind manipulates Norvina and replays the death of her mother by Black Death. (Why?) Instead of weakening her powers, it fortifies them, surrounding her with an aura of flames. (So he's helping her? Why?) She's filled with vengeance and will do everything in her powers to kill Black Death-- ​even if that means revealing her identity and breaking the law. (So at stake is her true identity? That's all? It's a weak ending especially when the query starts with Norvina trying to save herself from death.) 

 

(Press delete twice.)

​LONGING SOULS is a YA contemporary fantasy (I'm not sure if such a sub genre even exists. Urban fantasy sounds more apt here.) novel complete at 85,000 words. It is a stand alone with series potential. It will appeal to fans of kick-ass heroines with hidden identities such as FIREBIRD from the MARVEL COMICS. (I hope Firebird is a household name. I don't think most literary agents would know much about obscure characters from comic books.) It also combines Marissa Meyers' RENEGADES with the ​twist and revelations of Brandon Sanderson’s STEELHEART(It's apparent.)

 

 

My biggest gripe with this query is that it just doesn't stand out. This will have to pull a Red Queen in front of Red Rising. You need to focus on highlighting elements that would make your narrative fresh starting with the hook. 

 

The query needs voice. Use the turn of phrases to give the reader a sense of Norvina's personality. 

 

You can also flesh out Black Death's character, add more plot, and mention the conflict. 

 

Good luck. 



#16 lnloft

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Posted 30 December 2017 - 11:22 AM

Hi, sereneew! Happy to help.

REVISION#7 THIS HAS A LOT MORE ACTION YAY! THANK YOU FOR YOUR INSIGHT @NESSA

Ever since hired gunman Black Death annihilated every superhero So, this is kinda random, but I think technically the term "super hero" is under a joint trademark between Marvel and DC, meaning there are some limitations of its use (stupid, I know). It's, for instance, why the heroes in The Incredibles are called "Supers" and not superheroes. I'm not sure how it all exactly works, and I doubt it'll matter too much for purposes of your query, but just be aware that somewhere down the line someone might insist you change it to something like "empowered people" or whatever. Potentially, because again I'm not exactly a trademark lawyer. in New York City and reinstated himself as the Ruler Ultimate, it has been a crime to acquire super powers, unless you're a supervillain. Which is bad for Norvina, because she just got them in a big way. ​I'm torn. Structurally, this works, but on the other hand, I generally advise starting your hook with your main character, and you've got the entire first sentence devoted to your villain. The set-up you have right now wouldn't work flipping, but I'm still wondering if there's a way you can start with Norvina. Also, I guess I have a few questions. Black Death "reinstated" himself as in charge, so he was in charge before? And he's also nothing more than a "hired gunman"? So he doesn't even have super powers? These are things that are never addressed later on.

Seventeen-year-old Norvina is jumped by thieves in a back alley. When they taser her, the electric currents trigger a mutation in her DNA that gives her overwhelming power over fire. She roasts the muggers and attracts the attention of Black Death's superpredators. They try to kill her, but she fights them off with the help of Vulcan, a former classmate bully who wants dibs on slitting Black Death's throat. There isn't enough context for this. I feel like she's still in the alley when  the superpredators show up, and then here comes this guy whom she knows but we don't, and for some reason he wants to kill the Big Bad. So it just kinda clunks right now.

Norvina still hasn't forgiven Vulcan for making her high school experience a living hell, but his hideaway and hatred of Black Death convince her to strike a deal with him. He'll hide and train her in the art of fire in exchange for help to defeat all the supervillains that work for Black Death. WHY does Vulcan hate the Black Death? If Norvina doesn't know, that's fine, but drop some line in here about her not knowing but brushing those concerns aside in the name of learning. To that end, how does Vulcan know how to train her? It feels like this is a world where people can just get random powers from random things, much like Marvel or DC, which is totally fine because we just accept that as part of the internal logic of the world, but it still doesn't explain how Vulcan knows how to use Norvina's newly acquired powers. Does he have some sort of powers, too?

When Norvina and Vulcan encounter supervillain, Megafauna-- a four-eyed mind manipulator-- Norvina puts her training into play. She uses the power of pyrokinesis, which enables her to mentally excite the atoms until it combusts. While she starts throwing fire bombs and electrical bolts, the monster mind manipulates Norvina and replays the death of her mother by Black Death This is the first time we're being told that Norvina's mother is dead and that she was murdered by Black Death. It's a little late in the query to be dropping this on us. Instead of weakening her powers, it fortifies them, surrounding her with an aura of flames. She's filled with vengeance and will do everything in her powers to kill Black Death-- ​even if that means revealing her identity and breaking the law. I kinda feel like we don't need Megafauna for the query. Because, one, I'm a little confused about what he/she/it is (you say monster but I sort of assumed all the supervillains were humans with powers; I also don't understand why it's called "Megafauna" when its powers are mind manipulation), but I also don't think we need this to explain why Norvina is going after Black Death. He's already tried to kill her, he's oppressing her and people like her, he apparently killed her mother... And when you focus the paragraph on the fight with Megafauna, the last line just feels a little tacked on. The drama now is that Norvina wants to take out Black Death, but it's very dangerous, potentially lethally so. So lay out the stakes. What's the choice that Norvina is facing? Does she initially just want to hide and survive, but then begins to change her mind? Is Vulcan pushing her to go up against Black Death (wanting to use her for his own purposes)? Lay out the choices that Norvina has and the dangers of each.



​LONGING SOULS Not sure I'm a big fan of the title. Doesn't give the right vibe in my opinion. Titles are always, hard, though. is a YA contemporary fantasy novel complete at 85,000 words. It is a stand alone with series potential. It will appeal to fans of kick-ass heroines with hidden identities such as FIREBIRD from the MARVEL COMICS. It also combines Marissa Meyers' RENEGADES with the ​twist and revelations of Brandon Sanderson’s STEELHEART.

Hmm... so there does sound like a cool story here (I haven't read Steelheart, so I can't say how similar these are, but you do want to make sure you highlight why yours in unique), but there's still a few holes here. Vulcan is one of my biggest gripes, as I note above, as I don't have a clear view of who he is or why he does what he does. I assume there's friction between him and Norvina, that he's likely a brooding sort, and that there's probably things he's not telling her, but you don't really show any of that, aside from telling that they used to not get along. So feed us more on that.

 

I'd also like to know more about the world they're in. Black Death has taken over. But what else has he done? Is his main evil act to kill off the superheroes, and the average people get to go about their lives without too much concern? Or has he implemented an oppressive regime where even the everyday person needs to keep their head down and their mouth shut, really making this a dystopia? Just a quick sentence will give us a much better sense of the world and a sense of why this guy is bad. Because Black Death is still under-explained, too, I feel. He's your villain, but right now it just feels like he's doing things for the evilz. So a bit more on his motivations (even if it's just that he wants power) would be nice.

 

Hope this is helpful, and good luck.



#17 sereneew

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Posted 30 December 2017 - 06:28 PM

Thank you @AJAX and @INLOFT for your feedback... I've taken everything into consideration. I feel, maybe I should start over with more voice and less action. I'll leave the most action in the synopsis. As far as the title, I'm still trying to find a catchy title ( hardest part). 

 

REVISION #8

 

New York City has one law: annihilate all humans with superpowers. Like the rest of the citizens, seventeen-year-old Norvina pretends not to notice the corrupt world she’s in. But when she discovers she has fire manipulating powers,  Norvina will do whatever it takes to stay alive, including working with her enemies rebellious son-    Vulcan.

 

Vulcan has been in hiding ever since his father the monarch     Black Death,  tried to kill him, after finding out he has superpowers. Norvina still hasn't forgiven Vulcan for making her life a living hell, but his hatred for his own father convinces her to strike a deal. He agrees to train her in the art of fire with his own power    light manipulation, if Norvina will help kill his father. 

 

It’s a fair price – or so it seems. But with supervillains striking down on her at every turn, Norvina soon realizes she may have gotten more than she bargained for.  As she uncovers the horrifying facts, they discover a secret between Black Death and the government. Black Death has been transforming prisoners into powerful, yet deadly enhanced superpredators called Megafauna, by using the blood of murdered superheroes.  He’s trying to expand an army of supervillains to take over more than just the city.

 

Norvina refuses to end up like the other superheroes, but Vulcan wants to put an end to his father's evil scheme. She is pessimistic and reluctant to accept the mission and wants nothing to do with him.  As she struggles to grapple with her reality she must make a choice: be egocentric and live or ally with Vulcan in his mission and save millions of innocent lives,  even if the journey means certain death.

 

UNTITLED, a young adult urban fantasy completed at 85,000 words. It will appeal to fans of kick-ass heroines with hidden identities. It also combines Marissa Meyers' RENEGADES with the ​twist and revelations of Brandon Sanderson’s STEELHEART.


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#18 rockondon

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Posted 31 December 2017 - 12:24 PM

Thank you @AJAX and @INLOFT for your feedback... I've taken everything into consideration. I feel, maybe I should start over with more voice and less action. I'll leave the most action in the synopsis. As far as the title, I'm still trying to find a catchy title ( hardest part). 

 

REVISION #8

 

New York City has one law: annihilate all humans with superpowers. Like the rest of the citizens, seventeen-year-old Norvina pretends not to notice the corrupt world she’s in corruption around her (just a thought. Your way is good too). But when she discovers she has fire manipulating powers,  Norvina will do whatever it takes to stay alive, including working with her enemies  enemy's rebellious son-    Vulcan.  I'd replace with son, Vulcan. 

 

Vulcan has been in hiding ever since his father the monarch     Black Death,  tried to kill him, after finding out he has superpowers. Norvina still hasn't forgiven Vulcan for making her life a living hell, but his hatred for his own father convinces her to strike a deal. He agrees to train her in the art of fire with his own power    light manipulation, if Norvina will help kill his father. 

 

It’s a fair price – or so it seems. But with supervillains striking down on her at every turn, Norvina soon realizes she may have gotten more than she bargained for.  As she uncovers the horrifying facts, they discover a secret between Black Death and the government. Black Death has been transforming prisoners into powerful, yet deadly enhanced superpredators called Megafauna, by using the blood of murdered superheroes.  He’s trying to expand an army of supervillains to take over more than just the city.

 

Norvina refuses to end up like the other superheroes, but Vulcan wants to put an end to his father's evil scheme. She is pessimistic and reluctant to accept the mission and wants nothing to do with him.  As she struggles to grapple with her reality she must make a choice: be egocentric and live or ally with Vulcan in his mission and save millions of innocent lives,  even if the journey means certain death.

 

I'm not loving these last two paragraphs because they're telling too much of the book. Instead of telling us exactly what Black Death has done, perhaps say he has a deadly secret that threatens millions of lives. 

 

UNTITLED, a young adult urban fantasy completed at 85,000 words. It will appeal to fans of kick-ass heroines with hidden identities. It also combines Marissa Meyers' RENEGADES with the ​twist and revelations of Brandon Sanderson’s STEELHEART.



#19 egavin

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Posted 01 January 2018 - 12:07 PM

 

New York City has one law: annihilate  eliminate all humans with superpowers. (Snappy hook, though I might change it two "all humans with superpowers must die" since law implies its an "if you do this, this happens", not an action)  Like the rest of the citizens, seventeen-year-old Norvina pretends not to notice the corrupt (is there another world besides corrupt? You world seems more totalitarian and outright genocidal than corrupt) world she’s in. But when she discovers she has fire manipulating powers,  Norvina will do whatever it takes to stay alive, including working  must work with her enemies rebellious son, Vulcan, to survive.

 

It would be interesting if you replaced "discovers she has fire manipulating powers" with whatever event actually shows he she can manipulate fire. Is there any event after the prom night incident in which she rediscovers she's a pyromancer? 

 

Vulcan has been in hiding ever since his father the monarch     Black Death,  tried to kill him, after finding out he has superpowers. Norvina still hasn't forgiven Vulcan for making her life a living hell (how has he made her life a living hell? You should drop a mention here to make it clearer. Alternatively, just say she distrusts him because of his father, which I assume is part of it too), but his hatred for his own father convinces her to strike a deal. He agrees to train her in the art of fire with his own power    light manipulation, if Norvina will help kill his father. 

 

It’s a fair price – or so it seems. But with supervillains striking down on her at every turn, Norvina soon realizes she may have gotten more than she bargained for.  As she uncovers the horrifying facts, they discover a secret between Black Death and the government. Black Death has been transforming prisoners into powerful, yet deadly enhanced superpredators called Megafauna, by using the blood of murdered superheroes.  He’s trying to expand an army of supervillains to take over more than just the city.

 

Norvina refuses to end up like the other superheroes, but Vulcan wants to put an end to his father's evil scheme. She is pessimistic and reluctant to accept the mission and wants nothing to do with him(I wouldn't mention her feud with Vulcan here, since it seems a bit petty in the context of everything else going on).  As she struggles to grapple with her reality she must make a choice: be egocentric (again, when the stakes are her life or the lives of millions, her ego seems like an insignificant consideration) and live or ally with Vulcan in his mission and save millions of innocent lives,  even if the journey means certain death. (Nice stakes, though the lead up seems a bit complicated. It's not completely clear why Norvina changes her mind. Is it just suddenly more dangerous with the Black Death plot?)

UNTITLED, a young adult urban fantasy completed at 85,000 words. It will appeal to fans of kick-ass heroines with hidden identities. It also combines Marissa Meyers' RENEGADES with the ​twist and revelations of Brandon Sanderson’s STEELHEART.

Hope some of my comments are helpful! Looks like an interesting story. Good luck!



#20 sereneew

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Posted 02 January 2018 - 05:48 PM

Thank you @egavin and @rockondon for your feedback, I will be working on another revision, soon.  :smile:


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