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YA Sci-Fi : The Society of Degenerate Artists

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#1 bkarperien

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 02:43 PM

New version at post #18! As always, all feedback is welcome, and I'll do my best to return the favor.   :smile: Also, everyone, I'm looking for beta/critique partners. If you're interested, I'm willing to swap pretty much anything YA. Message me!

 

After everything she’s lived through, Kell, a seventeen-year-old artist, doesn’t believe the world is worth saving. All she wants is get through the brutal Ravian occupation alive, and be rid of the guilt she harbors. However, when someone she cares about is nearly killed because of her, guilt drives her to accept a rebel mission, even though she knows she might not come back.

 

Sai, an eighteen-year-old ballerina, is only alive because of the sacrifices of others. She’s spent her life wrapped in secrets, running from the truth. Her only goal is to survive, and the only way to do that is to get off this planet. A rebel organization promises to smuggle her out, if she joins Kell’s mission. With nowhere else to turn, Sai agrees. And soon, Kell and Sai find in each other something they never knew they needed: friendship. Together, they begin to believe in hope.

 

While Kell uncovers a Ravian weapon that could wipe out the rebels and seal her planet’s fate, Sai is captured and discovers more secrets from her past. She learns that their mission was a Ravian set-up, and they need Sai to unlock the weapon. As the only person capable of unleashing the weapon, Sai is also the only one who can stop it. Running away is no longer an option, but stopping the Ravians may require a sacrifice greater than she can give. Meanwhile, Kell faces a decision. With her mission completed, she could walk away right now and continue hiding, or even end it all and be rid of her guilt forever. Or, she could pick up her paintbrush and set free the truth, ignite the revolution, and turn her planet on its head. She could lose everything to save the world—and her friend.

 

THE SOCIETY OF DEGENERATE ARTISTS is a YA Sci-Fi complete at 100,000 words. Combining narrative with an assemblage of transcriptions, emails, top-secret documents, and personal logs, it may appeal to fans of Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s The Illuminae Files, as well as Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity


Check out my query!


#2 ThatDan

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Posted 08 January 2018 - 02:22 AM

Hello all! You've always been so helpful with my query writing, so I'm back for more :) Here's what I've got so far for my latest project. As always, all feedback is welcome, and I'll do my best to return the favor.

 

 

After everything she’s lived through, Kell, a seventeen-year-old artist, doesn’t believe the world is worth saving. All she wants is get through the brutal Ravian occupation alive​<not really sure what this means, and be rid of the guilt she harbors​<not sure why she feels guilt either. However, when someone she cares about​<maybe say who (mother, sister, best friend...) is nearly killed because of her ​actions/apathy/some other word, guilt ​<more guilt? drives her to accept a rebel mission, even though she knows she might not come back. ​<this is good, and I think if you better convey what the Ravian occupation is, it'll have more weight.

 

Sai, an eighteen-year-old ballerina, is only alive because of the sacrifices of others. She’s spent her life wrapped in secrets, running from the truth.​<again, not sure what this means Her only goal is to survive, and the only way to do that is to get off this​'leaver her planet' sounds better imo. planet. A rebel organization promises to smuggle her out, if she joins Kell’s mission. With nowhere else to turn, Sai agrees. And soon, Kell and Sai find in each other something they never knew they needed: friendship. Together, they begin to believe in hope.​<not really getting a feel why they form a friendship. do they have something in common?

 

While Kell uncovers a Ravian weapon that could wipe out the rebels and seal her planet’s fate, Sai is captured and discovers more secrets from her past. She learns that their mission was a Ravian set-up, and they need Sai to unlock the weapon. As the only person capable of unleashing the weapon, Sai is also the only one who can stop it.​<any eludication as to why Sai is so special? Running away is no longer an option, but stopping the Ravians may require a sacrifice greater than she can give. Meanwhile, Kell faces a decision. With her mission completed, she could walk away right now ​<watch your tense here and continue hiding, or even end it all and be rid of her guilt forever.​<still unsure what her guilt is from Or, she could pick up her paintbrush and set free the truth, ignite the revolution, and turn her planet on its head. She could lose everything to save the world—and her friend. ​< stakes start to get a little convoluted her at the end.

 

THE SOCIETY OF DEGENERATE ARTISTS is a YA Sci-Fi complete at 100,000 words. Combining narrative with an assemblage of transcriptions, emails, top-secret documents, and personal logs, it may appeal to fans of Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s The Illuminae Files, as well as Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity

 

​I can tell you have a very interesting story here, but it is clouded by two main issues.

1. There is a lot of vagueness surrounding all these 'secrets' and 'guilt'. While it may sound cool and mysterious, I've always been told that agents would rather the query be concise and revealing, than vague and suspenseful.

​2. I start to lose track of things in the 3rd paragraph. Consider tightening and simplifying your characters missions and stakes so that it's a little clearer (maybe focussing on the major MC will help, and dropping the minor MC a bit. imo, it seems like Kell is the true MC, so maybe write the query primarily from her angle).  

 

Hope this helps, keep at it!


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

No active query atm.


#3 bkarperien

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Posted 08 January 2018 - 10:28 AM

Thanks for the words of wisdom, ThatDan. I knew it was a bad idea to introduce dual perspectives, so I don't know why, exactly, I went ahead and did it anyway. Well, I hope this is clearer:

 

Kell, a seventeen-year-old artist, doesn’t believe the world is worth saving. All she wants is get through the brutal Ravian occupation alive, but as an interment camp escapee and the daughter of rebel heroes, she’s an enemy of the government. Her survival means putting others at risk, and as the count of those who’ve died because of her grows, so does her guilt. So, when the rebels ask her to carry out a dangerous mission that could save countless lives, Kell accepts, against her better judgement.

 

While preparing for her mission, Kell teams up with Sai, a girl who knows what it’s like to spend your life hiding, whose race makes her a target of the government. Sai, a seventeen-year-old ballerina with confoundingly naïve optimism, becomes something Kell never knew she needed: a friend. And with Sai’s help, Kell begins to believe in hope, and in her own value.

 

When they carry out their mission, Kell successfully discovers a Ravian weapon that could wipe out countless rebels and seal her planet’s fate, but Sai is captured. Facing the possibility of having Sai’s death, and countless deaths, on her head, Kell must make a decision. She could walk away right now and continue hiding, hoping the rebels deal with everything, or even end it all and be rid of her guilt forever. Or, she could pick up her paintbrush and set free the truth, ignite the revolution, and turn her planet on its head. She could lose everything to save the world—and her friend.

 

THE SOCIETY OF DEGENERATE ARTISTS is a YA Sci-Fi complete at 100,000 words. Combining narrative with an assemblage of transcriptions, emails, top-secret documents, and personal logs, it will appeal to fans of Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s The Illuminae Files, as well as Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity


Check out my query!


#4 morgan.spraker

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Posted 08 January 2018 - 08:02 PM

Thanks for the words of wisdom, ThatDan. I knew it was a bad idea to introduce dual perspectives, so I don't know why, exactly, I went ahead and did it anyway. Well, I hope this is clearer:

 

Kell, a seventeen-year-old artist, doesn’t believe the world is worth saving This strikes me as a cliche hook -- there are plenty of protagonists who don't think the world is worth saving. Why is Kell different? What makes her special?. All she wants is get through the brutal Ravian occupation alive, but as an interment camp escapee and the daughter of rebel heroes, she’s an enemy of the government. Her survival means putting others at risk, and as the count of those who’ve died because of her grows, so does her guilt. So, when the rebels ask her to carry out a dangerous mission that could save countless lives, Kell accepts, against her better judgement. Why against her better judgement? From the way you've framed it, I feel like she'd be biting at the bit to save lives

 

While preparing for her mission, Kell teams up with Sai, a girl who knows what it’s like to spend your life hiding, whose race makes her a target of the government. Sai, a seventeen-year-old ballerina with confoundingly To me, "confoundingly" doesn't really fit the tone you've built naïve optimism, becomes something Kell never knew she needed: a friend. And with Sai’s help, Kell begins to believe in hope, and in her own value.

 

When they carry out their mission, Kell successfully discovers a Ravian weapon that could wipe out countless rebels and seal her planet’s fate, but Sai is captured. Facing the possibility of having Sai’s death, and countless deaths, on her head, Kell must make a decision. She could walk away right now and continue hiding, hoping the rebels deal with everything, or even end it all and be rid of her guilt forever. Or, she could pick up her paintbrush Why paintbrush??? Like I know she's an artist, but what about the painting will set the truth free? and set free the truth, ignite the revolution, and turn her planet on its head. She could lose everything to save the world—and her friend.

 

THE SOCIETY OF DEGENERATE ARTISTS I ADORE this title -- sounds like something I'd pick up without a second thought is a YA Sci-Fi complete at 100,000 words. Combining narrative with an assemblage of transcriptions, emails, top-secret documents, and personal logs, it will appeal to fans of Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s The Illuminae Files, as well as Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity

First off, your title is freaking amazing. I think your biggest problem is your character set-up is a little contradictory to me. Really clarify Kell's motives and make sure they're crystal-clear. Other than that, this sounds like an awesome concept! Since you have dual perspectives (as you mentioned above), a killer phrase to convey that is "a YA Sci-Fi told from dual point of views complete at 100,000 words" Thanks for the feedback on my query too :)



#5 ThatDan

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 12:15 AM

​Good comments provided by morgan, and heres a few more from me:

 

Kell, a seventeen-year-old artist, doesn’t believe the world is worth saving. All she wants is get through the brutal Ravian occupation alive, but as an interment camp escapee and the daughter of rebel heroes, she’s an enemy of the government. Her survival means putting others at risk, and as the count of those who’ve died because of her grows, so does her guilt. ​<good. makes sense who she is (rebel on the run) and why she feels guilt (people die trying to keep her hidden) So, when the rebels ask her to carry out a dangerous mission that could save countless lives, Kell accepts, against her better judgement.​<agree with morgan. does she assume she'll fail?

 

​>>I've re-arranged the following paragraph, as I feel it flows better. Still needs tidying though. >>While preparing for her mission, Kell teams up with Sai, a seventeen-year-old ballerina with confoundingly naïve optimism. Sai knows what it’s like to spend a lifetime hiding, for racial oppression makes her a target of the government. Sai, , becomes something Kell never knew she needed: a friend. And with Sai’s help, Kell begins to believe in hope, and in her own value.

 

When they carry out their mission, Kell successfully discovers a Ravian weapon that could wipe out countless rebels and seal her planet’s fate, but Sai is captured. Facing the possibility of having Sai’s death, and countless deaths,​<repeat use of deaths on her head, Kell must make a decision. She could walk away right now and continue hiding, hoping the rebels deal with everything,​< I assume that hiding means she relies on the rebels to finish her job and destroy the weapon? not sure tho or even end it all and be rid of her guilt forever​<end it all? end what, and how?. Or, she could pick up her paintbrush and set free the truth, ignite the revolution, and turn her planet on its head​<more specifics on how her paintbrush would achieve this pls. She could lose everything to save the world—and her friend.

 

THE SOCIETY OF DEGENERATE ARTISTS is a YA Sci-Fi complete at 100,000 words. Combining narrative with an assemblage of transcriptions, emails, top-secret documents, and personal logs, it will appeal to fans of Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s The Illuminae Files, as well as Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity

 

A few confusing parts here and there, but otherwise sounding much clearer. Nice work.


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

No active query atm.


#6 bkarperien

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 01:38 PM

Thanks for your feedback, everyone. I've made a few more changes. Let me know if that's any clearer, or if it's still confusing! Thanks :)

 

Cynical seventeen-year-old artist Kell is an interment camp escapee on a planet where painting is a capital offence. In her opinion, she’s already lost far too much to the rebellion, and all she wants now is to get through the brutal Ravian occupation alive. However, as an enemy of the government, her survival means putting others at risk, and as the count of those who’ve died because of her grows, so does her guilt—and Kell is fantastic at harbouring guilt. So, when the rebels want to recruit her for a vital mission, Kell accepts, hoping it will ease her conscience.

 

While preparing for her mission, Kell teams up with Sai, a seventeen-year-old ballerina and confoundingly naïve optimist. Sai knows what it’s like to spend a lifetime hiding, as her race makes her a target of the government, and the girls discover they have much in common. Soon, Sai becomes something Kell never knew she needed: a friend. And with Sai’s help, Kell begins to believe in hope, and her own value.

 

When they carry out their mission, Kell successfully discovers a Ravian weapon that could wipe out countless rebels and seal her planet’s fate, but Sai is captured. Facing the possibility of having Sai’s and countless deaths on her head, Kell must make a decision. She could walk away right now and continue hiding, hoping the rebels save themselves, or even end it all and be rid of her guilt forever. Or, she could pick up her paintbrush and set free the truth, using her talents to ignite a revolution and turn her planet on its head. She could lose everything to save the world—and her friend.

 

THE SOCIETY OF DEGENERATE ARTISTS is a YA Sci-Fi complete at 100,000 words. Combining narrative from three POVs with an assemblage of transcriptions, emails, top-secret documents, and personal logs, it will appeal to fans of Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s The Illuminae Files, as well as Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity


Check out my query!


#7 AmberA

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 06:58 PM

Thanks for your feedback, everyone. I've made a few more changes. Let me know if that's any clearer, or if it's still confusing! Thanks :)

Cynical seventeen-year-old artist Kell is an interment camp escapee on a planet where painting is a capital offence.( I would start with “ Seventeen-year-old Kell is an...) In her opinion, she’s already lost far too much to the rebellion, and all she wants now is to get through the brutal Ravian occupation alive. ( this should be your hook)

(Start new paragraph with this ) However, as an enemy of the government, her survival means putting others at risk. ( When many people die because of her, Kell feels guilty, and she is fantastic at harboring guilt ...) , and as the count of those who’ve died because of her grows, so does her guilt—and Kell is fantastic at harbouring guilt. So, when the rebels want to recruit her for a vital mission, Kell accepts, hoping it will ease her conscience. ( i wondering if you can reword this, as in combine it with Kelly guilt. I.e “ to ease her guilt she accepts a mission from the rebels” something along those lines )

While preparing for her mission, Kell teams up with Sai, a seventeen-year-old ballerina and confoundingly naïve optimist. Sai knows what it’s like to spend a lifetime hiding, as her race makes her a target of the government, and the girls discover they have much in common( this sentence is vague? What do you mean they discover they have something in common ? ) Soon, Sai becomes something Kell never knew she needed: a friend. And with Sai’s help, Kell begins to believe in hope, and her own value. ( hmm. I like the friend Part but I’m not sure the last portion is necessary. Kell felt like she was worthless in the beginning ? )

When they carry out their mission, Kell successfully discovers a Ravian weapon that could wipe out countless rebels and seal her planet’s fate, but Sai is captured. Facing the possibility of having( maybe say “ losing the only friend she has and having the blood of many peoples death in her hands, frightens Kell. She must make a choice: ....” this flows better. You can chcnage it up, these are just suggestions. ) Sai’s and countless deaths on her head, Kell must make a decision. She could walk away right now and continue hiding, hoping the rebels save themselves, or even end it all and be rid of her guilt forever. Or, she could pick up her paintbrush and set free the truth, using her talents to ignite a revolution and turn her planet on its head. She could lose everything to save the world—and her friend.

THE SOCIETY OF DEGENERATE ARTISTS is a YA Sci-Fi complete at 100,000 words. Combining narrative from three POVs with an assemblage of transcriptions, emails, top-secret documents, and personal logs, it will appeal to fans of Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s The Illuminae Files, as well as Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity.

Overall I like the plot! So first off, thank you for your feedback, it was very helpful. Secondly, I’m sorry I couldn’t color code or make marks on the post since I’m doing this off my phone, haha. Yeah not a great idea. But I thought I should help. I added a few suggestions as well as some alternative sentences you could use. I apologize in advance if i made some spelling errors or what not, I’m very limited with my phone. But hopefully later tonight when I’m home, I’ll fix them up. :-) good luck.

Would appreciate critiques on my YA- VENGEANCE query: http://agentquerycon...edits/?p=352035


#8 bkarperien

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 09:11 AM

Thanks Amber A, for the helpful comments!

New version:

 

Seventeen-year-old artist Kell is an interment camp escapee on a planet where painting is a capital offence. Though she’s pressured by the rebels to join the fight, all she wants now is to get through the brutal Ravian occupation alive. However, as an enemy of the government, her survival means putting others at risk. So, when the deaths on her head become too much to bear, she gives in and accepts a vital rebel mission, hoping to ease her guilt.

 

While preparing for her mission, Kell teams up with Sai, an eighteen-year-old ballerina and confoundingly naïve optimist. Kell remains distant at first, certain that friendship isn’t something she deserves. But the two girls have much in common: Sai knows what it’s like to spend a lifetime hiding, as her race makes her a target of the government, and she also shares Kell’s passion for art. Soon, they become inseparable.

 

When they carry out their mission, Kell discovers a Ravian weapon that could wipe out the rebels and seal her planet’s fate, but Sai is captured in doing so. Facing the possibility of losing her friend, and letting countless people die, Kell must make a decision. She could walk away right now and continue hiding, hoping the rebels save themselves, or even end it all and be rid of her guilt forever. Or, she could pick up her paintbrush and set free the truth, using her talents to ignite a revolution and turn her planet on its head. She could lose everything to save the world—and her friend.

 

THE SOCIETY OF DEGENERATE ARTISTS is a YA Sci-Fi complete at 100,000 words. Combining narrative from three POVs with an assemblage of transcriptions, emails, top-secret documents, and personal logs, it will appeal to fans of Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s The Illuminae Files, as well as Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity


Check out my query!


#9 rhwashere

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 03:50 PM

Thanks Amber A, for the helpful comments!

New version:

 

Seventeen-year-old artist Kell is an interment camp escapee on a planet where painting is a capital offence. Though she’s pressured by the rebels to join the fight, all she wants now is to get through the brutal Ravian occupation alive survive (this makes the sentence less clunky). However, as an enemy of the government, her survival means putting others at risk (How so? Does she live with people or is she alone?). So, when the deaths on her head become too much to bear (I feel like this could be more specific, show what happened and how it hurt Kell), she gives in and accepts a vital rebel mission, hoping to ease her guilt.

 

While preparing for her mission, Kell teams up with Sai, an eighteen-year-old ballerina and confoundingly naïve optimist. Kell remains distant at first, certain that friendship isn’t something she deserves. But the two girls have much in common: Sai knows what it’s like to spend a lifetime hiding, as her race makes her a target of the government (What? Why? And wouldn't being a rebel do that anyway?), and she also shares Kell’s passion for art. Soon, they become inseparable. (I might shorten this paragraph to something like: "...Sai, a confoundingly naive optimist who shares her passion for art and knows what it's like to spend a lifetime hiding." This would free up more space to elaborate on Kell's motivation)

 

When they carry out their mission, Kell discovers a Ravian weapon that could wipe out the rebels and seal her planet’s fate, but Sai is captured in doing so. Facing the possibility of losing her friend, and letting countless people die, Kell must make a decision. She could walk away right now and continue hiding, hoping the rebels save themselves, or even end it all and be rid of her guilt forever.  (The option of suicide isn't really an option, unless you want to really disappoint your readers) Or, she could pick up her paintbrush and set free the truth, using her talents to ignite a revolution and turn her planet on its head. (This is my favorite sentence in the whole query. I would try building to this. You don't need the following sentence) She could lose everything to save the world—and her friend.

 

THE SOCIETY OF DEGENERATE ARTISTS is a YA Sci-Fi complete at 100,000 words. Combining narrative from three POVs with an assemblage of transcriptions, emails, top-secret documents, and personal logs, it will appeal to fans of Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s The Illuminae Files, as well as Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity

 

Interesting concept here. I would like to see it show more of how Kell will use art to save the day!


Please feel free to critique my query: http://agentquerycon...51718/?p=356935


#10 sereneew

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 04:19 PM

Thank you for your feedback!! 

 

Seventeen-year-old artist Kell is an interment camp escapee on a planet where painting is a capital offence. Though she’s pressured by the rebels to join the fight, all she wants now is to get through the brutal Ravian occupation alive. However, as an enemy of the government, her survival means putting others at risk ( How is she putting others at risk? Does she kill them? ) . So, when the deaths ​ on her head become too much to bear, she gives in and accepts a vital rebel mission, hoping to ease her guilt. ( Maybe try rewording this last sentence. Try condensing it to the the specific points. ) 

 

 

While preparing for her mission, Kell teams up with Sai, an eighteen-year-old ballerina and confoundingly naïve optimist. Kell remains distant at first, certain that friendship isn’t something she deserves. But the two girls have many things in common much in common: Sai knows what it’s like to spend a lifetime hiding, as her race ( what race is she? how is she a target?) makes her a target of the government, and she also shares Kell’s passion for art. Soon, they become inseparable.

 

When they carry out their mission, Kell discovers a Ravian weapon that could wipe out the rebels and seal her planet’s fate, but Sai is captured ( How did she get captured.. Who captures her? You should mention that. )  in doing so. Facing the possibility of losing her only friend, and letting countless people die, Kell must make a decision. She could walk away right now and continue hiding, hoping the rebels save themselves, or even end it all and be rid of her guilt forever. Or, she could pick up her paintbrush and set free the truth, using her talents to ignite a revolution and turn her planet on its head. She could lose everything to save the world—and including her only friend.( I would say 'only friend' just to make it dramatic ) ( I would also talk about Kell's powers and ability.) 

 

THE SOCIETY OF DEGENERATE ARTISTS is a YA Sci-Fi complete at 100,000 words. Combining narrative from three POVs with an assemblage of transcriptions, emails, top-secret documents, and personal logs, it will appeal to fans of Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s The Illuminae Files, as well as Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity

 

 

You have a good story, just needs a little tweaking and condensing some things. I would like to know about her powers too, I'm not sure you mentioned any of that in the third paragraph, but do that. Hope this helps, goodluck (: 


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


#11 TheBest

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 04:51 PM

Seventeen-year-old artist Kell is an interment camp escapee on a planet where painting is a capital offence. (This is an absolutely brilliant idea, but you could make it a little punchier. Consider using a "when" statement that sets up the stakes right away.) Though she’s pressured by the rebels to join the fight, all she wants now is to get through the brutal Ravian occupation alive. However, as an enemy of the government, her survival means putting others at risk. So, when the deaths on her head hands become too much to bear, she gives in and accepts a vital rebel mission, hoping to ease her guilt. 

 

While preparing for her mission, Kell teams up with Sai, an eighteen-year-old ballerina and confoundingly naïve optimist. Kell remains distant at first, certain that friendship isn’t something she deserves. But the two girls have much in common: Sai knows what it’s like to spend a lifetime hiding, as her race makes her a target of the government, and she also shares Kell’s passion for art. Soon, they become inseparable. (This is some great characterization, but it can be shortened. Particularly, cut the last bit about them becoming inseperable.)

 

When they carry out their mission, Kell discovers a Ravian weapon that could wipe out the rebels and seal her planet’s fate, but Sai is captured in doing so (Awkward). Facing the possibility of losing her friend, and letting countless people die, Kell must make a decision. She could walk away right now and continue hiding, hoping the rebels save themselves, or even end it all and be rid of her guilt forever. Or, she could pick up her paintbrush and set free the truth, using her talents to ignite a revolution and turn her planet on its head (Golden! That's wonderful voice + badass stakes) . She could lose everything to save the world—and her friend.

 

THE SOCIETY OF DEGENERATE ARTISTS is a YA Sci-Fi complete at 100,000 words. Combining narrative from three POVs with an assemblage of transcriptions, emails, top-secret documents, and personal logs, it will appeal to fans of Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s The Illuminae Files, as well as Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity.  (Exceptional comps.)

 

This is a strong query, but at times the flow is stunted, or bogged down with too much detail. It can feel like a summary, more than a way to establish stakes and draw agents in. Cut down on the details and stick with what makes this query so strong: The stakes and character relationships. Go through and make sure each sentence flows and you'll be on track. Good luck!!



#12 bkarperien

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 07:06 PM

Thanks for the feedback, guys! Shoutout to TheBest (long time no see)--you're exactly right, it just didn't have enough zing. I took it in a different direction, hopefully there's a little more life in it now. 

 

After a childhood from hell, seventeen-year-old internment camp escapee Kell has only one thing left to live for: her art. Unfortunately, under the brutal Ravian occupation, painting is a capital offence.

 

Sheltered by the rebels, Kell painted in peace for a while, but now they’re pressuring her to join the fight. At first, Kell has no intention of giving in, but when she sees a rebel killed for speaking out against the occupation, she caves and agrees to one mission. Hopefully, it’ll be enough to wipe the ashen taste of guilt from her mouth.

 

For her mission, Kell is teamed up with Sai, an eighteen-year-old ballerina and confoundingly naïve optimist who knows what it’s like to spend a lifetime hiding. Kell remains distant at first, certain that friendship isn’t something she deserves. But as Sai draws her out of her self-imposed isolation, Kell begins to wonder if the world beyond her easel might not be quite as crappy as she remembered.

 

Then they carry out their mission and Kell discovers a Ravian weapon that could wipe out the rebels and seal her planet’s fate in a few short days. To make matters worse, Sai is captured by the Ravians, taken to be tortured and executed. Facing the possibility of losing her friend and letting countless people die, Kell must make a decision. She could walk away right now and continue hiding, hoping Sai and the rebels save themselves. Or, she could pick up her paintbrush and set free the truth, using her talents to ignite a revolution and turn her planet on its head. She could lose everything to save the world—and her friend.

 

THE SOCIETY OF DEGENERATE ARTISTS is a YA Sci-Fi complete at 100,000 words. Combining narrative from three POVs with an assemblage of transcriptions, emails, top-secret documents, and personal logs, it will appeal to fans of Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s The Illuminae Files, as well as Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity


Check out my query!


#13 AmberA

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 09:29 PM

Thanks for the feedback, guys! Shoutout to TheBest (long time no see)--you're exactly right, it just didn't have enough zing. I took it in a different direction, hopefully there's a little more life in it now. 

 

After a childhood from hell, seventeen-year-old internment camp escapee Kell has only one thing left to live for: her art. Unfortunately, under the brutal Ravian occupation, painting is a capital offense. ( I liked your previous hook. This reads awkward. I would suggest... Seventeen-year-old internment camp escapee Kell has only one thing left to live for: her art. Unfortunately, under the brutal Ravian occupation, painting is a capital offense and whoever is caught must face the consequences ( you could add the consequences) . ( This would be a catchy hook) 

 

Sheltered by the rebels, Kell painted in peace for a while, but now they’re pressuring her to join the fight. At first, Kell has no intention of giving in, but when she sees a rebel killed for speaking out against the occupation, she caves and agrees to one mission. Hopefully, it’ll be enough to wipe the ashen taste of guilt from her mouth. ( what guilt?) 

 

For her mission, Kell is teamed up with Sai, an eighteen-year-old ballerina and confoundingly naïve optimist who knows what it’s like to spend a lifetime hiding. Kell remains distant at first, certain that friendship isn’t something she deserves. But as Sai draws her out of her self-imposed isolation, Kell begins to wonder if the world beyond her easel might not be quite as crappy as she remembered.

 

Then When they carry out their missionand Kell discovers a Ravian weapon that could wipe out the rebels and seal her planet’s fate in a few short days. To make matters worse, Sai is captured by the Ravians, taken to be tortured and executed. Facing the possibility of losing her friend and letting countless people die, Kell must make a decision. She could walk away right now and continue hiding, hoping Sai and the rebels save themselves. Or, she could pick up her paintbrush and set free the truth, using her talents to ignite a revolution and turn her planet on its head. She could lose everything to save the world—and her friend. ( Im not sure how this fits in. Maybe add this earlier. Only because I like the stakes as is. )

 

THE SOCIETY OF DEGENERATE ARTISTS is a YA Sci-Fi complete at 100,000 words. Combining narrative from three POVs with an assemblage of transcriptions, emails, top-secret documents, and personal logs, it will appeal to fans of Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s The Illuminae Files, as well as Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity

 

 

 

You're almost finished. I feel your query is getting better with every revision. Just a little advise but other than that you might be at the end  :happy:


Would appreciate critiques on my YA- VENGEANCE query: http://agentquerycon...edits/?p=352035


#14 bkarperien

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 10:55 AM

Thanks AmberA! Latest version:

 

Seventeen-year-old internment camp escapee Kell has only one thing left to live for: her art. Unfortunately, under the brutal Ravian occupation, painting is a capital offence.

 

Sheltered by the rebels, Kell painted in peace for a while, but now they’re pressuring her to join the fight. At first, Kell has no intention of giving in, but when she sees a rebel killed for speaking out against the occupation, she caves and agrees to one mission. Hopefully, it’ll be enough to assuage her guilt over everything the rebels have done for her and the nothing she’s given in return.

 

For her mission, Kell is teamed up with Sai, an eighteen-year-old ballerina and confoundingly naïve optimist who knows what it’s like to spend a lifetime hiding. Kell remains distant at first, certain that friendship isn’t something she deserves. But as Sai draws her out of her self-imposed isolation, Kell begins to wonder if the world beyond her easel might not be quite as crappy as she remembered.

 

When they carry out their mission, Kell discovers a Ravian weapon that could wipe out the rebels and seal her planet’s fate in a few short days. To make matters worse, Sai is captured by the Ravians, taken to be tortured and executed. Facing the possibility of losing her friend and letting countless people die, Kell must make a decision. She could walk away right now and continue hiding, hoping Sai and the rebels save themselves. Or, she could pick up her paintbrush and set free the truth, using her talents to ignite a revolution and turn her planet on its head. She could lose everything to save the world—and her friend.

 

THE SOCIETY OF DEGENERATE ARTISTS is a YA Sci-Fi complete at 100,000 words. Combining narrative from three POVs with an assemblage of transcriptions, emails, top-secret documents, and more, it will appeal to fans of Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s The Illuminae Files, as well as Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity


Check out my query!


#15 VSChapman

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 12:26 PM

Thanks AmberA! Latest version:

 

Seventeen-year-old internment camp escapee Kell has only one thing left to live for: her art. Unfortunately, under the brutal Ravian occupation, painting is a capital offence. (I like this hook. It's clear and builds the picture nicely. No pun intended. ;)) 

 

Sheltered by the rebels, Kell painted (paints? Maybe would give it more 'in the moment'?)  in peace for a while, but now they’re pressuring her to join the fight. At first, Kell has no intention of giving in, but when until she sees a rebel killed for speaking out against the occupation, she caves (I would use another word here. 'Caves' makes her sound like she's giving in because she's sick of being pressured.) Instead maybe "Hoping to atone for quilt over everything the rebels have done for her, she agrees to one mission.)and agrees to one mission. Hopefully, it’ll be enough to assuage her guilt over everything the rebels have done for her and the nothing she’s given in return.

 

For her mission, Kell is teamed up with Sai, an eighteen-year-old ballerina and confoundingly naïve optimist (love this description) who knows what it’s like to spend a lifetime hiding. Kell remains distant at first, certain that friendship isn’t something she deserves. But as Sai draws her out of her self-imposed isolation, Kell begins to wonder if the world beyond her easel might not be quite as crappy as she remembered.

 

When they carry out their mission, and Kell discovers a Ravian weapon that could wipe out the rebels and seal her planet’s fate in a few short days. To make matters worse, Sai is captured by the Ravians, taken to be tortured and executed. Facing the possibility of losing her friend and letting countless people die, Kell must make a decision. She could walk away right now and continue hiding, hoping Sai and the rebels save themselves. Or, she could pick up her paintbrush and set free the truth, using her talents to ignite a revolution and turn her planet on its head. She could lose everything to save the world—and her friend. (So I'm a little confused oh how exactly her painting can ignite a revolution. Is she uncovering secrets in the painting for everyone to see? I'm assuming that's what you mean by set free the truth. I would just clarify it a bit).

 

THE SOCIETY OF DEGENERATE ARTISTS is a YA Sci-Fi complete at 100,000 words. Combining narrative from three POVs with an assemblage of transcriptions, emails, top-secret documents, and more, it will appeal to fans of Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s The Illuminae Files, as well as Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity

I really like this.  I hope my comments make sense. I tried to just clean it up a bit but overall I think it sounds really good!



#16 rhwashere

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 01:38 PM

Thanks AmberA! Latest version:

 

Seventeen-year-old internment camp escapee (Something about that phrase "interment camp escapee" sounds clunky to me. Are you sure you need it?) Kell has only one thing left to live for: her art. Unfortunately, under the brutal Ravian occupation, painting is a capital offence. (Why? Is there some way you can address this in the query?)

 

Sheltered by the rebels, Kell painted in peace for a while, but now they’re pressuring her to join the fight. (I feel like this could be punched up a little. Just spit-balling here: The only refuge in which she can paint is among a group of art-loving rebels, but this sanctuary comes at a price: they expect her to fight.) At first, Kell is reluctant has no intention of giving in, but when she sees a rebel killed for speaking out against the occupation, she caves and agrees to one mission she can no longer sit idly by. Hopefully, it’ll be enough to assuage her guilt over everything the rebels have done for her and the nothing she’s given in return(I just went through and cut out stuff that made Kell passive, and inserted more active sentences. I feel like this makes her more engaging in the query)

 

For her mission, Kell is teamed up with Sai, an eighteen-year-old ballerina and confoundingly naïve optimist who knows what it’s like to spend a lifetime hiding. Kell remains distant at first, certain that friendship isn’t something she deserves (Why?) . But as Sai draws her out of her self-imposed isolation, Kell begins to wonder if the world beyond her easel might not be quite as crappy as she remembered. (I don't know what that means)

 

When they carry out their mission, Kell discovers a Ravian weapon that could wipe out the rebels and seal her planet’s fate in a few short days (Could you be more specific as to what this weapon is or does?). To make matters worse, Sai is captured by the Ravians, taken to be tortured and executed. Facing the possibility of losing her friend and letting countless people die, Kell must make a decision. (These two sentences are exciting! But the three that follow don't seem to connect to it...) She could walk away right now and continue hiding, hoping Sai and the rebels save themselves. Or, she could pick up her paintbrush and set free the truth, using her talents to ignite a revolution and turn her planet on its head. She could lose everything to save the world—and her friend. (What would she have to lose by saving the world and her friend? That doesn't make sense to me. I'd love to hear what Kell will do to save Sai.)

 

THE SOCIETY OF DEGENERATE ARTISTS is a YA Sci-Fi complete at 100,000 words. Combining narrative from three POVs with an assemblage of transcriptions, emails, top-secret documents, and more, it will appeal to fans of Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s The Illuminae Files, as well as Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity

I definitely think it's an improvement over the last version. I think the heart of your story is with Kell and Sai, and there is where the stakes become personal for your MC. I would focus on that a bit more for the ending. Also, and this is something I've been trying to do too, try cutting sentences that might sound good but aren't specific enough to carry much meaning.

 

And thanks for your feedback. I have a new version of mine if you get a chance, in which I tried to incorporate some of the suggestions, as well as tweaked some things that were bothering me.


Please feel free to critique my query: http://agentquerycon...51718/?p=356935


#17 Erevos

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 01:58 PM

Hello there and thank you for your lovely comments on my query!!

I started working on it long before I started sending queries... I knew that it wouldn't be easy :)

 

Btw, I love your story and the setting!! Your query is right on the spot! Just improve one-two things that the others have mentioned and it'll be good to go!

Thanks AmberA! Latest version:

 

Seventeen-year-old internment camp escapee Kell has only one thing left to live for: her art. Unfortunately, under the brutal Ravian occupation, painting is a capital offence. I really, really like the hook!! I guess painting is a capital offence because like you said below, it can trigger a revolution right?

 

Sheltered by the rebels, Kell painted in peace for a while, paints? Like Chapman said! but now they’re pressuring her to join the fight. At first, Kell has no intention of giving in, but when she sees a rebel killed for speaking out against the occupation, she caves and agrees to one mission. Hopefully, it’ll be enough to assuage her guilt over everything the rebels have done for her and the nothing she’s given in return. Again, Chapman has reworded this nicely!

 

For her mission, Kell is teamed up with Sai, an eighteen-year-old ballerina and confoundingly naïve optimist who knows what it’s like to spend a lifetime hiding. Kell remains distant at first, certain that friendship isn’t something she deserves. But as Sai draws her out of her self-imposed isolation, Kell begins to wonder if the world beyond her easel might not be quite as crappy as she remembered. Damn, nice! Though, this creates many questions, I don't feel you should elaborate more than that!

 

When they carry out their mission, Kell discovers a Ravian weapon that could wipe out the rebels and seal her planet’s fate in a few short days. To make matters worse, Sai is captured by the Ravians, taken to be tortured and executed. Facing the possibility of losing her friend and letting countless people die, Kell must make a decision. She could walk away right now and continue hiding, hoping Sai and the rebels save themselves. Or, she could pick up her paintbrush and set free the truth, using her talents to ignite a revolution and turn her planet on its head. This is excellent, I'd only explain a bit better the "set free the truth" part! I'm guessing letting her people know about the weapon and rallying them to take up arms against the Ravian! She could lose everything to save the world—and her friend. This last sentence....hmm...I'd improve it so it flows better.

 

THE SOCIETY OF DEGENERATE ARTISTS is a YA Sci-Fi complete at 100,000 words. Combining narrative from three POVs with an assemblage of transcriptions, emails, top-secret documents, and more, it will appeal to fans of Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s The Illuminae Files, as well as Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity


My Query http://agentquerycon...a-high-fantasy/ Let me know if you want me to look at yours. Will happily do so.


#18 bkarperien

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 02:31 PM

Thanks all! Very helpful comments. I've made a few more changes. 

 

Seventeen-year-old internment camp escapee Kell has only one thing left to live for: her art. Unfortunately, under the brutal Ravian occupation, painting is a capital offence.

 

Under the protection of a group of art-loving rebels, Kell is allowed to paint, but it comes at a price: they expect her to fight. At first, Kell is reluctant, but when she sees a rebel killed for speaking out against the occupation, she can no longer sit idly by.

 

For her first mission, Kell is teamed up with Sai, an eighteen-year-old ballerina and confoundingly naïve optimist who knows what it’s like to spend a lifetime hiding. Kell remains distant at first, certain she has no use for a friend. But as Sai draws her out of her self-imposed isolation, Kell begins to wonder if the world beyond her easel might not be as crappy as she imagined.

 

When they carry out their mission, Kell discovers a secret that could ruin the government, along with a weapon that could wipe out the rebels in a few short days. But before they finish, Sai is captured by the Ravians, taken to be tortured and executed. Facing the possibility of losing her only friend, and letting countless people die, Kell must make her choice. She could walk away right now and continue hiding, hoping Sai and the rebels save themselves. Or, she could pick up her paintbrush and set free the truth, using her talents to ignite a revolution and turn her planet on its head. She could fight to save her friend, and her world—or die trying.

 

THE SOCIETY OF DEGENERATE ARTISTS is a YA Sci-Fi complete at 100,000 words. Combining narrative from three POVs with an assemblage of transcriptions, emails, top-secret documents, and more, it will appeal to fans of Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s The Illuminae Files, as well as Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity


Check out my query!


#19 VSChapman

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 04:22 PM

Thanks all! Very helpful comments. I've made a few more changes. 

 

Seventeen-year-old internment camp escapee Kell has only one thing left to live for: her art. Unfortunately, under the brutal Ravian occupation, painting is a capital offence.

 

Under the protection of a group of art-loving rebels, Kell is allowed to paint, but it comes at a price: they expect her to fight. At first, Kell is reluctant, but when she sees a rebel killed for speaking out against the occupation, she can no longer sit idly by. (This is much better! Now she's becoming a hero and not someone forced into doing the right thing.)

 

For her first mission, Kell is teamed up with Sai, an eighteen-year-old ballerina and confoundingly naïve optimist who knows what it’s like to spend a lifetime hiding. Kell remains distant at first, certain she has no use for a friend. But as Sai draws her out of her self-imposed isolation, Kell begins to wonder if the world beyond her easel might not be as crappy as she imagined.

 

When they carry out their mission, Kell discovers a secret that could ruin the government, along with a weapon that could wipe out the rebels in a few short days. But before they finish, Sai is captured by the Ravians, taken to be tortured and executed. Facing the possibility of losing her only friend, and letting countless people die, Kell must make her choice. She could walk away right now and continue hiding, hoping Sai and the rebels save themselves. Or, she could pick up her paintbrush and set free the truth, using her talents to ignite a revolution and turn her planet on its head. She could fight to save her friend, and her world—or die trying.

 

THE SOCIETY OF DEGENERATE ARTISTS is a YA Sci-Fi complete at 100,000 words. Combining narrative from three POVs with an assemblage of transcriptions, emails, top-secret documents, and more, it will appeal to fans of Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s The Illuminae Files, as well as Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity

I think you're good to go. I really wouldn't change anything else. 



#20 HeatherBlue

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 07:26 PM

Thanks all! Very helpful comments. I've made a few more changes. 

 

Seventeen-year-old internment camp escapee Kell has only one thing left to live for: her art. Unfortunately, under the brutal Ravian occupation, painting is a capital offence. I think the beginning is a little bit of a mouthful. Could maybe try something like "Seventeen-year-old Kell escaped from an internment camp, and she has only one thing left to live for: her art." Or something like that anyway.

 

Under the protection of a group of art-loving rebels, Kell is allowed to paint, but it comes at a price: they expect her to fight. At first, Kell is reluctant, but when she sees a rebel killed for speaking out against the occupation, she can no longer sit idly by.

 

For her first mission, Kell is teamed up with Sai, an eighteen-year-old ballerina and confoundingly naïve optimist who knows what it’s like to spend a lifetime hiding. Kell remains distant at first, certain she has no use for a friend. But as Sai draws her out of her self-imposed isolation, Kell begins to wonder if the world beyond her easel might not be as crappy as she imagined.

 

When they carry out their mission, Kell discovers a secret that could ruin the government, along with a weapon that could wipe out the rebels in a few short days. But before they finish, Sai is captured by the Ravians, taken to be tortured and executed. Facing the possibility of losing her only friend, and letting countless people die, Kell must make her choice. She could (I would change this to "can" to stay in the present tense with the rest of the query) walk away right now and continue hiding, hoping Sai and the rebels save themselves. Or, (I would say no comma here) she could (can) pick up her paintbrush and set free the truth, using her talents to ignite a revolution and turn her planet on its head. She could (can) fight to save her friend, and her world—or die trying.

 

THE SOCIETY OF DEGENERATE ARTISTS is a YA Sci-Fi complete at 100,000 words. Combining narrative from three POVs with an assemblage of transcriptions, emails, top-secret documents, and more, it will appeal to fans of Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s The Illuminae Files, as well as Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity

 

 

Besides a few small edits, I think your query letter is great! You can let me know what you think of mine if you have the time. Best of luck!

 

Also, if you're looking for critique partners I would look up Critique Partner Matchup in Google Groups. You can post on there and email people to see if you guys would match up for critiquing each other's novels.







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