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YA Sci-Fi : The Society of Degenerate Artists

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#21 mindy24601

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 07:31 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. fair enough hook. i was trying to think if there was a punny way to reword the painting and capital offence, but nothing came to mind. 

 

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. reasonable 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 seems that she would be afraid and frightened out of painting...maybe say her blood boils, and she can no longer sit idly by?

 

For her first mission, Kell is teamed up with Sai,i am assuming sai is a girl given ballerina; if male, ballet dancer is the correct term 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 ...i feel that 'crappy' doesn't fit with the rest of the tone, sorry >.< as she imagined.

 

Whenwhile? they carry out their mission what mission? what did i miss? you mean, the one with sai? or a different one?, 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 comma before they finish, Sai is captured by the Ravians, taken to be tortured and executed i feel the torture and execution probably goes without saying. Facing the possibility of losing her only friend, and betrayal if sai gives up her name? 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. ack, ack, ack, i feel this is a cliche plot and not at all what you should have/ could have built up to. Can you do any better? 

 

THE SOCIETY OF DEGENERATE ARTISTS is a YA Sci-Fi complete at 100,000 words pushing the upper limit here...?. Combining narrative from three POVs  yikes! this would turn me off as a reader...is this commonly done? 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

 

sounds like you have a good story with the makings of a good query. just some notes for your consideration. 

cheers,

mindy



#22 Mdane

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 03:59 AM

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,​(I believe this is passive voice. Maybe begin with "Kell is allowed to paint under the protection...") but it comes at a price: they expect her to fight. At first, Kell is reluctant, (​Same thing here, "Kell is reluctant at first") 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,​(again here, "Kell is teamed up with Sai for her first mission") 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​(, not sure on the use of a comma here) 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. ​If Kell discovered a weapon that could destroy the government, why can't she use that? Also, the final line saying she could fight to save her friend--or die trying doesn't seem to work. If you wrote "she WOULD fight to save her friend--or die trying" or "She could fight to save her friend, and her world, with a possibility of dying."  The OR is out of lace.

 

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

 

Good work, I think you have a mostly polished query and an intriguing story. I look forward to hearing about how this goes with your submissions.


Desperately looking for advice on my query The Other Side of Blood

 

My published novel on Amazon The Traitor in the Trees


#23 darsenault

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 04:28 AM

 I like your query a lot. You've got an interesting world and the premise seems like it has a lot of potential. The other commenters pointed out most of what I wanted to for this draft, so let me just add a few more notes.

 

I have a question first, that doesn't need to be answered in the query, but I want to be sure you have a strong answer for moving forward: Why do the Ravian's hate art? Do they just... hate it because they're big mean baddies who don't like fun? Or is there something more? 

 

Second, I think you need to strengthen Kell's choice in the final paragraph. She has the potential to trigger a revolution with her painting- I'll let you have that as given. But if it's that simple, why wouldn't she do it? It looks like you're giving her a choice because you know she needs a choice, not because it's actually there in the story.

 

Let me put it another way: I have the choice whether or not to click "post" when I'm done writing this. But it's not a very good choice, because I have no reason not to, and every reason to do so. It's the stakes of the choice that make it interesting, and the closer the balance, the more nail-biting the choice.

Finally, "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." Just leave this out. It doesn't make your story look any more interesting to tell us who the audience is (beyond the genre), and mentioning the multiple POVs and documents is going to scare off a lot of agents. Let them discover that themselves once they're captivated by your world.

 

Just remember this: A query only exists to intrigue agents into reading your pages. Nothing else matters.

 

Good luck!



#24 bkarperien

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 10:32 PM

 I like your query a lot. You've got an interesting world and the premise seems like it has a lot of potential. The other commenters pointed out most of what I wanted to for this draft, so let me just add a few more notes.

 

I have a question first, that doesn't need to be answered in the query, but I want to be sure you have a strong answer for moving forward: Why do the Ravian's hate art? Do they just... hate it because they're big mean baddies who don't like fun? Or is there something more? 

 

Second, I think you need to strengthen Kell's choice in the final paragraph. She has the potential to trigger a revolution with her painting- I'll let you have that as given. But if it's that simple, why wouldn't she do it? It looks like you're giving her a choice because you know she needs a choice, not because it's actually there in the story.

 

Let me put it another way: I have the choice whether or not to click "post" when I'm done writing this. But it's not a very good choice, because I have no reason not to, and every reason to do so. It's the stakes of the choice that make it interesting, and the closer the balance, the more nail-biting the choice.

Finally, "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." Just leave this out. It doesn't make your story look any more interesting to tell us who the audience is (beyond the genre), and mentioning the multiple POVs and documents is going to scare off a lot of agents. Let them discover that themselves once they're captivated by your world.

 

Just remember this: A query only exists to intrigue agents into reading your pages. Nothing else matters.

 

Good luck!

Thanks so much for your comments, darsenault. I'll try to answer your questions as best I can. 

 

First off, to answer why art is illegal. They're living under an extreme fascist occupation ruled by a control-freak megalomaniac. The entire story concept is actually based on the Nazi Regime in WWII, during which the term "degenerative art" (hence the title) was coined. Hitler basically banned all modern art and forbade modernist artists from producing works, buying supplies, etc. It's basically the same in the story; the big bad Ravian President only allows traditional, pretty, pro-Ravian art to be produced, and you have to be registered with the government to buy art supplies. Painting without the President's permission is punishable by death.

 

Secondly, Kell's choice is a complicated matter, and definitely a huge deal in the story. I totally get what you're saying, and it does seem like I'm just hamming it up for the query. The problem is that the conflict is complex and hard to explain in the query without getting into a lot of backstory. Maybe you guys will have some suggestions as to how I can incorporate that to make the stakes stronger.

 

First off, Kell has some serious mental-health issues and blames herself for everything. When Sai is captured, it pushes her over the edge--literally--and in the moment, she intends to commit suicide. She also has very-low self-esteem and doesn't think it possible to save Sai herself, and it is more likely that she will be captured herself, possibly sent back to the internment camp she was in before. Ultimately, choosing to save Sai means choosing to live, even when she doesn't want to anymore. But I don't really want to make this the focus of the query, there's already enough going on.

 

Secondly, even if she does decide she wants to live, choosing to save Sai costs her two things. It means giving up the only opportunity she has to escape the city before the Ravians deploy the weapon and all hell breaks loose, her only chance to escape with the rebels. It also means putting a target on her back--before, the Ravians thought she was dead. They weren't looking for her, didn't care about her, so she was kind of safe. But doing this means losing that safety forever. It also means making herself the planet's most wanted rebel.

 

I'm sorry for that long winded explanation!  

 

As for your final comment, I see your point. I'll definitely alter that section. Thanks again! I appreciate all your guys' help.


Check out my query!


#25 Erevos

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 08:16 AM

The problem is that the conflict is complex and hard to explain in the query without getting into a lot of backstory. 

 

 

That's the problem when your story doesn't follow the norm "Hero wants to simply save the world." Writing good stakes seems impossible and of course you can't add 2 more paragraphs that will clariy things!

 

For me your stakes work. Even without the "She could fight to save her friend, and her world—or die trying".

But that's just a personal opinion, like an agent will like them, while others will not. I hope I could help more, but other than some simple comments the others made about the passive voice, the rest are good! I'd love to read a different story, where the hero doesn't simply go into the bad guy's base with guns blazing, but instead uses different methods to bring him down! That's why I like the part "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"

 

Very very intriguing!


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






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