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#41 AmberA

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 04:07 AM

 

 

Here's what I have now: 

 

When ex-high school hockey star Elliot Wexler finds homeless girl Lucy Pembroke in his dad’s shed, he isn’t sure if he should call the cops or invite her in for hot chocolate. ( HAHA! I like how he considers to invite her in for hot-chocolate! )
 
Eighteen-year-old Elliot spent his entire life preparing for the NHL, but after a blowout with his team and a failed suicide attempt, he quit playing and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. ( IDK why you jumped to Lucy. Is this told in two POVs) For seventeen-year-old Lucy, survival is everything, even when she owns nothing more than a backpack and a heart-shaped box. Despite their differences, Elliot falls for Lucy, so when his family lets him stay home while they go on vacation—knowing that his mental health needs stability—Elliot invites her to stay with him. 
 
With Lucy around, Elliot feels like he can get past the ostracization he faces at school, maybe even play hockey again. But then she disappears. Searching for Lucy’s true identity, Elliot discovers three things: Lucy’s parents are dead, her abusive ex-boyfriend might be behind it, and she’s classified as missing. But Lucy filled the hole in Elliot’s heart, so he doesn’t want to let her go, even when her ex-boyfriend stands in the way, even when every time he finds her, she leaves again ( This reads awkward. I wonder if you could introduce her always leaving and then the ex-boyfriend) . As Elliot tries to keep Lucy with him, his mental health declines—until it comes down to either getting help for the girl he loves, or getting help for himself. 

 

 

 

So your query is getting better with every revision!! That's amazing. Also, I was kind of sad you removed Elliots attempt to suicide from the ended  :blush:  But it's okay... The stakes are still good. I would work on a few things as noted above... Other than that, you're getting close to a ready query  :wink:


Would appreciate critiques on my YA- VENGEANCE query: http://agentquerycon...edits/?p=350461


#42 taylorhale

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 10:38 AM

current draft:

 

 
When Elliot Wexler finds Lucy Pembroke in his dad’s shed, he isn’t sure if he should call the cops or invite her in for hot chocolate. 
 
Eighteen-year-old Elliot spent his entire life preparing for the NHL, but after a blowout with his team and a failed suicide attempt, he quit playing and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. For seventeen-year-old Lucy, survival is everything, even when she owns nothing more than a backpack and a heart-shaped box. Despite their differences, Elliot falls for Lucy, so when his family lets him stay home while they go on Christmas vacation, he asks her to stay with him. 
 
It’s only with Lucy that Elliot feels he can get past the ostracization he faces at school, maybe even play hockey again. But when Lucy disappears, Elliot discovers two things: her parents are dead, and her abusive ex-boyfriend might be behind it. When Elliot finds Lucy again, she explains that her ex will hurt her friends if she tries to run, but Elliot is determined to help her, even when a potential murderer stands in the way, even when she keeps leaving. In Elliot’s efforts to keep Lucy with him, his mental health declines—until it comes down to either getting help for the girl he loves, or getting help for himself. 
 


#43 taylorhale

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 10:41 AM

So your query is getting better with every revision!! That's amazing. Also, I was kind of sad you removed Elliots attempt to suicide from the ended  :blush:  But it's okay... The stakes are still good. I would work on a few things as noted above... Other than that, you're getting close to a ready query  :wink:

thank you! for the Lucy sentence, I think it can be spun as Elliot learns those things about her, not that they are from her POV. That's what I was going for, anyway!



#44 mzbritney12

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 08:35 PM

 

current draft:

 

 
When Elliot Wexler finds Lucy Pembroke in his dad’s shed, he isn’t sure if he should call the cops or invite her in for hot chocolate. 
 
Eighteen-year-old Elliot spent his entire life preparing for the NHL, but after a blowout with his team and a failed suicide attempt, he quit playing and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. For seventeen-year-old Lucy, survival is everything, even when she owns nothing more than a backpack and a heart-shaped box. Despite their differences, Elliot falls for Lucy, so when his family lets him stay home while they go on Christmas vacation, he asks her to stay with him. 
 
It’s only with Lucy that Elliot feels he can get past the ostracization he faces at school, maybe even play hockey again. (this last sentence doesn't fit well at the beginning of this paragraph) But when Lucy disappears, Elliot discovers two things: her parents are dead, and her abusive ex-boyfriend might be behind it. When Elliot finds Lucy again, she explains that her ex will hurt her friends if she tries to run, but Elliot is determined to help her, even when a potential murderer stands in the way, even when she keeps leaving. In Elliot’s efforts to keep Lucy with him, his mental health declines—until it comes down to either getting help for the girl he loves, or getting help for himself. (I actually really like this last sentence)
 

 

 

Hey Taylor!

 

It's me again. :)

Your query is totally improving; it has changed a lot since I've seen it last. I'll be honest, I liked it better when you mentioned how Elliot's family was in danger. 

Two things about your hook: readers don't know who Lucy is, so it might be best to stick to describing her as the homeless team or thief. And second, the hot chocolate part threw me off. 

 

 

Still looking forward to seeing you progress!!!!!!!!! :) 

So much improvement!


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#45 darsenault

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 02:27 AM

 

current draft:

 

 
When Elliot Wexler finds Lucy Pembroke in his dad’s shed, he isn’t sure if he should call the cops or invite her in for hot chocolate. 
 
Eighteen-year-old Elliot spent his entire life preparing for the NHL, but after a blowout with his team and a failed suicide attempt, he quit playing and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. For seventeen-year-old Lucy, survival is everything, even when she owns nothing more than a backpack and a heart-shaped box. Despite their differences, Elliot falls for Lucy, so when his family lets him stay home while they go on Christmas vacation, he asks her to stay with him. 
 
It’s only with Lucy that Elliot feels he can get past the ostracization he faces at school, maybe even play hockey again. But when Lucy disappears, Elliot discovers two things: her parents are dead, and her abusive ex-boyfriend might be behind it. When Elliot finds Lucy again, she explains that her ex will hurt her friends if she tries to run, but Elliot is determined to help her, even when a potential murderer stands in the way, even when she keeps leaving. In Elliot’s efforts to keep Lucy with him, his mental health declines—until it comes down to either getting help for the girl he loves, or getting help for himself. 
 

 

Definitely a step in the right direction, so answer me this: Why doesn't Lucy just call the cops? If her ex killed her family, and is threatening her friends, he should just be arrested, right?

I presume the ex doesn't have all of her friends locked in a cellar somewhere, and that he's not a ninja, so how is he able to do so much killing and hurting without getting caught?



#46 taylorhale

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 02:44 PM

@mzbritney12 thank you! I've decided to take a different approach... again! And a different hook. I included that his family gets hurt somehow, but I don't say how, as someone pointed out that it gets too thrillery at that point and sort of makes the genre seem questionable. I want it to be clear that this is a contemporary YA novel at its core, but has some mystery/thriller elements. 

 

@darsenault in the book (thankfully!) there are logical reasons as to why the cops aren't immediately involved. In this draft, I made it apparent that there is a true reason, though the reason is not given away. But I definitely don't want it to seem like one of those teen books that has no cops and no parents, because it isn't lol. Elliot's dad is a cop ;-)

 

here is my current draft! 

 

 

Eighteen-year-old Elliot Wexler has one goal: to help Lucy, the girl he caught stealing from his dad’s shed.
 
Elliot spent his entire life preparing for the NHL, but after a blowout with his hockey team and a failed suicide attempt, he quit playing and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. But when he meets Lucy, Elliot’s life turns around—sure, she’s homeless, so they don’t have much in common. But Lucy makes Elliot feel accepted, so when his parents go to Cuba for Christmas, he invites her to stay with him. For the first time in forever, Elliot feels like he can heal from the ostracization he faces at school, maybe even play hockey again. But one morning, he wakes up alone.
 
Forty-five days after her disappearance, Lucy comes back to Elliot and explains that her abusive ex-boyfriend will hurt her friends if she runs away again. But Elliot’s dad is a cop—he can help, the only problem is, Lucy won’t let Elliot involve him. In Elliot’s search for Lucy’s true identity, he discovers two things: her parents are dead, and her ex might be behind it. When Elliot is sure he has to call the cops, Lucy comes back with important reasons why he can’t. Even with a potential murderer in his way, Elliot is determined to help, but when his family gets caught in the crossfire, the lines blur between helping Lucy and hurting himself. With his growing thoughts of self-hatred and failure, Elliot’s mental health declines, until he’s faced with a choice: to continue pursuing the girl he loves, or stop and accept the mental care he needs. 


#47 darsenault

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 02:05 AM

Eighteen-year-old Elliot Wexler has one goal: to help Lucy, the girl he caught stealing from his dad’s shed.

 

I love this as a first line. You can make it punchier by simplifying: "Elliot Wexler's only goal is to help Lucy, the girl he caught stealing from his dad's shed."

 

But say them both out loud before you decide. I'm a loyalist to the Query Shark, who always promotes simpler sentences, but I think there's plenty of merit to either approach.

 
Elliot spent his entire life preparing for the NHL, but after a blowout with his hockey team and a failed suicide attempt, he quit playing and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. But When he meets Lucy, Elliot’s life turns around. Sure, she’s homeless, but Lucy makes Elliot feel accepted. So he invites her to stay with him when his parents go to Cuba for Christmas. For the first time in forever, Elliot feels like he can heal from the ostracization he faces at school, maybe even play hockey again. But one morning, he wakes up alone.
 
I rearranged a lot of these sentences to make them cleaner and easier to follow. The first line of this para is perfect, so keep that, but maybe adjust the rest of it to make it flow a bit better, while avoiding all the dependent clauses. I particularly don't like the "so" in the middle of it, but couldn't come up with a great way to remove it without making the flow worse.
 
Forty-five days after her disappearance, Lucy comes back to Elliot and explains that her abusive ex-boyfriend will hurt her friends if she runs away again.  As Elliot searches for Lucy’s true identity, he discovers two things: her parents are dead, and her ex might be behind it. Lucy discovers that Elliot hasn't given up the search, but explains that her ex-boyfriend will hurt her friends if she leaves him again. Elliot’s dad is a cop—he can help-- the only problem is, Lucy won’t let Elliot involve him.When Elliot is sure he has to call the cops, Lucy comes back with important reasons why he can’t. [You either have to find a way to simple say what those reasons are, or leave them out altogether. With the line I left, you've at least addressed the cop issue, which shows you aren't just overlooking it.] Even with a potential murderer in his way, Elliot is determined to help, but when his family gets caught in the crossfire, the lines blur between helping Lucy and hurting himself. With his growing thoughts of self-hatred and failure, Elliot’s mental health declines as he's convinced he's failing Lucy until he’s faced with a choice: to continue pursuing the girl he loves, or stop and accept the mental care he needs. 

 

I apologize if my edits were a bit heavy-handed this time around, but I think you're getting so close to victory that I couldn't help but dig in with you. Take some of these changes with a grain of salt- I restructured a lot, and removed a lot too. But I think what's left has almost everything essential on the page, which is a really great sign. 

Excellent job with this rewrite! 



#48 sereneew

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 05:11 AM

 

@mzbritney12 thank you! I've decided to take a different approach... again! And a different hook. I included that his family gets hurt somehow, but I don't say how, as someone pointed out that it gets too thrillery at that point and sort of makes the genre seem questionable. I want it to be clear that this is a contemporary YA novel at its core, but has some mystery/thriller elements. 

 

@darsenault in the book (thankfully!) there are logical reasons as to why the cops aren't immediately involved. In this draft, I made it apparent that there is a true reason, though the reason is not given away. But I definitely don't want it to seem like one of those teen books that has no cops and no parents, because it isn't lol. Elliot's dad is a cop ;-)

 

here is my current draft! 

 

 

Eighteen-year-old Elliot Wexler has one goal: to help Lucy, the girl he caught stealing from his dad’s shed.
 
Elliot spent his entire life preparing for the NHL, but after a blowout with his hockey team and a failed suicide attempt, he quit playing and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. But when he meets Lucy, Elliot’s life turns around—sure, she’s homeless, so they don’t have much in common.​(I like the homeless part alone. and how it builds up later on in your query) Bbut Lucy makes Elliot feel accepted, so when his parents go to Cuba for Christmas, he invites her to stay with him. For the first time in forever, Elliot feels like he can heal from the ostracization he faces at school, maybe even play hockey again. But one morning, he wakes up alone.( I like this para!)
 
Forty-five days after her disappearance, Lucy comes back to Elliot and explains that her abusive ex-boyfriend will hurt her friends if she runs away again. But Elliot’s dad is a cop—he can help, the only problem is, Lucy won’t let Elliot involve him. In Elliot’s search for Lucy’s true identity, he discovers two things: her parents are dead, and her ex might be behind it. When Elliot is sure he has to call the cops, (​ why doesn't he just tell his dad about her?) Lucy comes back with important reasons (what are the reasons? This is a little vague )  why he can’t. Even with a potential murderer( who's the murderer?)  in his way, Elliot is determined to help, but when his family gets caught in the crossfire( I'm getting confused now. How does his family get involved?) , the lines blur between helping Lucy and hurting himself. With his growing thoughts of self-hatred and failure, Elliot’s mental health declines. He's until he’s faced with a choice: to continue pursuing the girl he loves, or stop and accept the mental care he needs. ( I'm not a fan of the stakes now. I read over your previous drafts, and the stakes were slightly better. The stakes aren't that enticing. I think you should make your stakes a little more tense. ) 

 

 

 

Hi there! Thank you for your feedback (: You have a pretty good query. I do like this new approach, but towards the third para. I get lost and the sentences get a little vague. I recommended a few chances, hopefully they're helpful, but I recommend changing your stakes up a bit to give that extra tension. Will keep an eye out for your next revision (;


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


#49 taylorhale

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 02:14 PM

@darsenault please don't apologize! I really appreciate you taking the time to help me clean this up. :-D I'll go check yours out as well.

 

@sereneew thank you! I'll try to chop that vagueness :-)

 

 

I've decided to change the POV. I think it works better this way but would love to hear what anyone else thinks. It's the same information, but pitched in a slightly different way...

 

 

When homeless seventeen-year-old Lucy Pembroke plots to steal from a suburban family, she doesn’t expect to get caught by their son. Eighteen-year-old Elliot Wexler has everything that Lucy doesn’t—a loving home, a picture-perfect family. But Elliot is more troubled than he seems, and Lucy soon discovers that he gave up his NHL dreams after a failed suicide attempt and a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Lucy’s life is all about survival, so falling in love isn’t part of the plan, but Elliot catches her heart.
 
What starts out as a perfect love dies when Lucy’s abusive ex-boyfriend, Colton, rips back into her life. If Lucy doesn’t leave Elliot, Colton will hurt her friends. But Elliot doesn’t give up on trying to contact Lucy, so when Colton leaves the city, she grabs her first chance to explain herself. Elliot’s dad is a cop—he can help, but crossing Colton has hurt Lucy before, and her friends’ lives are now in the balance. Lucy, like she always does, will figure this out herself.
 
It gets complicated when Elliot can’t let her go. And Lucy, as hard as she tries, can’t forget him, either. Elliot sinks into a deep depression, and Lucy realizes that she's damaging his life in an irreversible way. In order for Elliot’s mental health to heal, he’s better off without her, and Lucy is faced with a choice: to leave behind the only boy she’s ever loved, or risk hurting him more than she already has.


#50 darsenault

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Posted 17 January 2018 - 05:01 AM

Wow. Okay, so let me start off by asking: Why the hell didn't you switch to this perspective ten drafts ago!? This is much better- and no wonder. Lucy is really what makes the story interesting. Unfortunately, in terms of the mechanics here, we're a couple steps back, so into the fray once more!

 

 



 

@darsenault please don't apologize! I really appreciate you taking the time to help me clean this up. :-D I'll go check yours out as well.

 

@sereneew thank you! I'll try to chop that vagueness :-)

 

 

I've decided to change the POV. I think it works better this way but would love to hear what anyone else thinks. It's the same information, but pitched in a slightly different way...

 

 






When homeless seventeen-year-old Lucy Pembroke plots to steal from a suburban family, she doesn’t expect to get caught by their son. Eighteen-year-old Elliot Wexler has everything that Lucy doesn’t—a loving home, a picture-perfect family. But Elliot is more troubled than he seems, and Lucy soon discovers that he gave up his NHL dreams after a failed suicide attempt and a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. [Writing from Lucy's perspective makes it jarring how little Elliot's problems really matter. They'll be important to developing his character as the story goes- but pare down in your query. Focus on what's important.] Lucy’s life is all about survival, so falling in love isn’t part of the plan, but Elliot catches her heart. 
 
That last line has the potential to be incredibly snappy, maybe even your hook, but it needs cutting. This will be a lot easier if you introduce Lucy's problem sooner, and cut back/move the stuff about Elliot's mental health. I brainstormed a good suggestion, but it fell apart for me, so I'll give it a shot after the next draft!
 
What starts out as a perfect love dies when Lucy’s abusive ex-boyfriend, Colton, rips back into her life. [I don't know how someone "rips" back into someone's life.] If Lucy doesn’t leave Elliot, Colton will hurt her friends. [Very Good.] But Elliot doesn’t give up on trying to contact Lucy, so when Colton leaves the city,[this begged too many questions] she grabs her first chance to explain herself.[I actually like this line, but from Lucy's perspective, we don't actually know that Elliot isn't clued in, so you don't need to tell us that she goes out of her way to do so. Take advantage of what we don't know to prevent needing to waste words explaining.] Elliot’s dad is a cop—he can help, but crossing Colton has hurt Lucy before, and her friends’ lives are now in the balance. Lucy, like she always does, will figure this out herself.
 
Those lines are red because they are the soul of this new draft. I see the conflict, her choice, and the consequences all in one beautiful package. You can trim, rearrange, or beautify this query any way you want, but do not remove these lines.
 
It gets complicated when Elliot can’t let her go. And Lucy, as hard as she tries, can’t forget him, either. [We already know this, and worse, you showed it. So no need to tell us.] Elliot sinks into a deep depression, and Lucy realizes that she's damaging his life in an irreversible way. In order for Elliot’s mental health to heal, he’s better off without her, and Lucy is faced with a choice: to leave behind the only boy she’s ever loved, or risk hurting him more than she already has.
 
You might start that paragraph off with the other stake of Lucy's choice: "No matter how she isolates herself, Lucy's problem solving has consequences that she never intended. Elliot sinks..."

 

Switching to Lucy's POV was a great idea. Now cut it all to hell and make it shine.







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