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A Ray Among Shadows (YA Urban Fantasy Query)

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#1 KET Writes

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 11:57 PM

FIFTH REVISION IS ON POST # 26  - 03/03/18

 

 
 

 

Hi guys!

 

I'm new here, but am ready for the open-fire on my query letter. I will definitely be around the forums showing your queries and hooks some love in return as this week continues!

 

-----

 

Dear (Agent),

 

Desiree Saunders is a seventeen-year-old girl with a stomach-twisting, heart-racing, deeply hidden, fear of the dark. When she is attacked by a man who personifies everything that keeps her up at night, she unknowingly becomes a victim of a war that has been waging in the shadows for centuries.

 

The Orphae can call on darkness to conceal themselves, like it's a second skin. The Dritan’s powers are fueled by the light. Desiree is told she is one of the latter. Alarmingly, this puts her on the side fighting against her attacker and people like him—people like Adrian.

 

Adrian Lunavie is an Orphae. While he did technically save Desiree from her assailant, he also threatened to silence her if she revealed the truth about what really put her in the hospital that night. But when it turns out that he isn’t the only energy-wielding man keeping an eye on Desiree, his conscious kicks in, and he agrees to teach her how to defend herself, even though that means he's committing treason.

 

As Adrian and Desiree focus on keeping her safe, they shift from enemies to allies. As their trust in one another grows, so do the lingering gazes. As they learn that the man hunting Desiree down is Dritan, like her, she realizes that the light might not be as enticing as it once appeared, and that there is something as alluring, as there is unsettling, in the darkness. 

 

A RAY AMONG SHADOWS is a YA Urban Fantasy novel, with a WOC protagonist, complete at 100k words. It is told from the perspective of the Dritan struggling with her new identity, and the Orphae man who finds himself wanting to protect her. I am seeking your representation as you have expressed an interest in diverse, #OwnVoices novels.

 

Thank you for your consideration,

 

**As a note, every time I post, the word "Schedule" is inserted into my text. WHY? Anyone know how to make that go away..

 

 

 

 

 

Schedule

 

Schedule

Schedule


If my feedback was helpful, I'd appreciate some thoughts on my YA Urban Fantasy Query !

 


#2 Nessa

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 01:11 AM

Dear (Agent),

 

 

Desiree Saunders is a seventeen-year-old girl with a stomach-twisting, heart-racing, deeply hidden, ​[That's a lot of adjectives. The more you use, the emptier each one gets.]fear of the dark. When she is attacked by a man who personifies everything that keeps her up at night​[Attacked where? How?], she unknowingly becomes a victim of a war that has been waging in the shadows for centuries.​[I can't tell what kind of war you're referencing. Is it military? Magical? You should prime the agent for your genre. Will this be a contemporary fantasy? Urban fantasy? Dark fantasy? A variant of sci-fi?]

 

The Orphae ​[Name isn't introduced organically. It's dropped in, and I don't see how this connects to the previous paragraph.]can call on darkness to conceal themselves, like it's a second skin​[So they become invisible? They become literal walking shadows? Like the shadowpeople of urban mythology?]. The Dritan’s powers are fueled by the light.​[How is Desiree introduced to these two entities? Does an orphae attack her and a dritan save her?] Desiree is told she is one of the latter. ​[By who? Where? When?]Alarmingly, this puts her on the side fighting against her attacker and people like him—people like Adrian.​[I don't know who "him" is or where Adrian came from. I don't know if there's a war between the Orphae and the Dritan. I don't know if either side wants her killed or wants to help her.]

 

Adrian Lunavie is an Orphae. While he did technically save Desiree from her assailant,​[Try to introduce this sooner. You don't want the agent confused in the first paragraphs.] he also threatened to silence her if she revealed the truth about what really put her in the hospital that night.​[The Orphae? Assuming that's what attacked her.] But when it turns out that he isn’t the only energy-wielding​[Does this only refer to the Orphae and the Dritan?] man keeping an eye on Desiree, his conscious ​[?]kicks in, and he agrees to teach her how to defend herself,​[Why?] even though that means he's committing treason.​[Why is this treason?]

 

As Adrian and Desiree focus on keeping her safe​[Only by teaching her defense?], they shift from enemies to allies. As their trust in one another grows, so do the lingering gazes​[If romance isn't vital to the main plot, you might opt for removing it. Stick to the main conflict.]. As they learn that the man hunting Desiree down is Dritan​["As they learn" sounds awkward.], like her, she realizes that the light might not be as enticing as it once appeared​[Because one of them is a rotten apple?], and that there is something as alluring, as there is unsettling, in the darkness. ​[This sentence is too vague, and I don't know what the stakes are.]

 

A RAY AMONG SHADOWS is a YA Urban Fantasy novel, with a WOC protagonist, complete at 100k words. It is told from the perspective of the Dritan struggling with her new identity, and the Orphae man who finds himself wanting to protect her​[Remove this sentence. It only repeats what should be shown above.]. I am seeking your representation as you have expressed an interest in diverse, #OwnVoices novels.​[This personalization should be more specific. #MSWL mentions, specific items on blogs, recurring themes/elements/character types in the books the agent represents.

 

​Suggested skeleton to build on for your meta paragraph:

​A RAY AMONG SHADOWS, an #ownvoices YA urban fantasy with a WOC protagonist, is complete at 100,000 words.

 

Some agents are especially interested in specific #ownvoices, so you might want to note the specific background. (Black, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, half-Chinese and half-white, etc.]

Thank you for your consideration,

 

**As a note, every time I post, the word "Schedule" is inserted into my text. WHY? Anyone know how to make that go away.. ​[I'd send a message to staff or leave a post in the help forum.]

 

 

 

 

 

Schedule


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#3 ThatDan

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 02:07 AM

 

Dear (Agent),

 

Desiree Saunders is a seventeen-year-old girl with a stomach-twisting, heart-racing, deeply hidden, fear of the dark.​<although all the adjectives sound nice, I think in the context of a query, it wastes a lot of your word count. When she is attacked by a man who personifies everything that keeps her up at night,​<not entirely sere how someone personifies the dark she unknowingly becomes a victim of a war that has been waging in the shadows for centuries.

 

The Orphae can call on darkness to conceal themselves, like it's a second skin. The Dritan’s powers are fueled by the light. Desiree is told she is one of the latter. Alarmingly, this puts her on the side fighting against her attacker and people like him​<I wouldn't say this is alarming. makes sense really—people like Adrian.​<this paired with the paragraph break made me immediately say "who the hell is Adrian?" I know he is explained immediately after the break, but this didn't flow well for me

 

Adrian Lunavie is an Orphae. While he did technically save Desiree from her assailant,​agree with Nessa that this feels sudden being only revealed this far in. he also threatened to silence her if she revealed the truth about what really put her in the hospital that night.​<again, more info that feels it could've been introduced earlier But when it turns out that he isn’t the only energy-wielding man keeping an eye on Desiree​<if he saved her, then it seems obvious that the other person who tried to kill her is also watching her, his conscious​<conscience kicks in, and he agrees to teach her how to defend herself, even though that means he's committing treason.​<so saving her in the first place wasn't already treason?

 

As Adrian and Desiree focus on keeping her safe,​<odd wording they shift from enemies to allies. As their trust in one another grows, so do the lingering gazes. As they learn that the man hunting Desiree down is Dritan, like her, she realizes that the light might not be as enticing as it once appeared, and that there is something as alluring, as there is unsettling, in the darkness.​< I like this ending, but maybe could use some firmer stakes re what she stands to lose by turning to the dark side/ staying on the light side?

 

A RAY AMONG SHADOWS is a YA Urban Fantasy novel, with a WOC protagonist, complete at 100k words. It is told from the perspective of the Dritan struggling with her new identity, and the Orphae man who finds himself wanting to protect her. I am seeking your representation as you have expressed an interest in diverse, #OwnVoices novels.

 

​Very interesting story, love the premise. Seems like a solid plot, but the query just needs a few things clarified and tightened.

 

Thank you for your consideration,

 

**As a note, every time I post, the word "Schedule" is inserted into my text. WHY? Anyone know how to make that go away..

 

 

 

 

 

Schedule

​Schedule  :cool: 

​Better than the garbage-babble glitch I get when trying to comment on any mobile browser.


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

No active query atm.


#4 KET Writes

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 12:24 PM

Thank you ThatDan and Nessa  for the feedback!

 

I'm realizing that I should draw bits from a query letter I previously tossed aside. I thought it was getting too specific and bogged down with plot, and I guess with this one I might have swung the opposite way.

 

 

 As their trust in one another grows, so do the lingering gazes​[If romance isn't vital to the main plot, you might opt for removing it. Stick to the main conflict.].

 

Adrian and Desiree have a slow burning love dynamic, that really only become prominent in the last two thirds of the book. It does, however, drive a lot of their choices, and the tension of the story. Since the query should only really be capturing the first 1/3, I'm finding it hard to incorporate it without it seeming like it's coming from nowhere (as I guess it did above).

 

THANK you again for your feedback. I'm going to keep puttering away, and will be back for more!!


If my feedback was helpful, I'd appreciate some thoughts on my YA Urban Fantasy Query !

 


#5 Nessa

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 01:00 PM

Adrian and Desiree have a slow burning love dynamic, that really only become prominent in the last two thirds of the book. It does, however, drive a lot of their choices, and the tension of the story. Since the query should only really be capturing the first 1/3, I'm finding it hard to incorporate it without it seeming like it's coming from nowhere (as I guess it did above).

 

Because your genre is YA UF, we can assume there's going to be a romance. Most YA UF has a romantic subplot (or any YA). You can drop it in if you want, but I don't think it really adds anything. If the romance drives the plot, you might mention the romance sooner and clearly state how it affects their choices.


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#6 MICRONESIA

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 01:51 PM

Desiree Saunders is a seventeen-year-old girl with a stomach-twisting, heart-racing, deeply hidden, Yeah, this string of adjectives will turn some agents off. Though it works voice-wise, do you really want to risk seeming verbose? fear of the dark. When she is attacked by a man who personifies everything that keeps her up at night, Describe him! she unknowingly becomes a victim of a war that has been waging in the shadows for centuries.

 

The Orphae can call on darkness to conceal themselves, like it's a second skin. The Dritans' powers are fueled by the light. Desiree is told she is one of the latter. Alarmingly, this puts her on the side fighting against her attacker and people like him—people like Adrian. This made me stumble, because I had to glance over everything I'd already read. 

 

Adrian Lunavie is an Orphae. While he did technically save Desiree from her assailant, Why didn't you show us this when it happened? he also threatened to silence her if she revealed the truth about what really put her in the hospital that night. Or this? But when it turns out that he isn’t the only energy-wielding man keeping an eye on Desiree, his conscience kicks in, and he agrees to teach her how to defend herself, even though that means he's committing treason. Overloaded sentence that's easy to get lost in. Break it up. 

 

As Adrian and Desiree focus on keeping her safe, they shift from enemies to allies. As their trust in one another grows, so do the lingering gazes. As they learn that the man hunting Desiree down is Dritan, like her, she realizes that the light might not be as enticing as it once appeared, Nice twist. and that there is something as alluring, as there is unsettling, in the darkness. 

 

A RAY AMONG SHADOWS is a YA Urban Fantasy novel, with a WOC protagonist, complete at 100k words. It is told from the perspective of the Dritan struggling with her new identity, and the Orphae man who finds himself wanting to protect her. Is this all that important? I am seeking your representation as you have expressed an interest in diverse, #OwnVoices novels. What is the OwnVoices here?

 

Thank you for your consideration,

 

 

Thanks for the excellent comments on my synopsis! I couldn't find yours on there, so I took a look at this. 

 

I think you're better served going chronologically through the story, since the reader has to double-back a few times here. I'd also like to see things simplified -- though I get the gist of what's going on here, I don't feel like things are completely clear from a bird's-eye view. Like... why all this effort to keep her safe? Why is she important? What does she WANT?


A Darkness in Spring (query | synopsis)


#7 KET Writes

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 04:58 PM

Thank you guys for your feedback! Man, I was super hesitant about posting my query for critique, but I'm SO glad I did.

 

Here is my SECOND attempt. I tried to re-order it, increase the stakes, and provide some clarity on the plot. I'm slightly concerned about the length, but I'm stuck between being clear, providing enough information, and also trying to invoke some of the same voice that is found in the story, so that it doesn't sound "BLEH". Now, hopefully I didn't make this worse:

 

Dear (Agent),
 
Desiree Saunders is a seventeen-year-old girl with a barely-manageable fear of the dark. When a man with shadows rippling off his skin jumps her on an after-sunset grocery run, she unknowingly becomes the victim of a war crime.
 
Adrian Lunavie is connected to her attacker. While he did technically save her life, he also threatened to silence her if she revealed that it wasn't really a hit-and-run that put her in the hospital. The fact that an Orphae had attacked a Dritan, unprovoked, would break the fragile armistice between them. 
 
The Orphae can wield darkness like a weapon, and call on it to conceal themselves. The Dritans' powers are fueled by the light, and they can bend it at will. When Adrian softens up and tells Desiree she is one of the latter, she wants to be anywhere but on the side fighting against people like him.
 
But when a Dritan man appears, determined to take Desiree away, no matter the costs, she realizes the light isn't as welcoming as it once appeared. She asks Adrian to teach her how to defend herself, but that means she's asking him to commit treason by training the enemy.
 
With the Dritans and the Ophae preventing Desiree from returning to normalcy, she has to figure out who has her best interest in mind in order to survive. The idea of being sheltered in the shadows with Adrian is as alluring, as it is unsettling, and while she is naturally drawn to the light, she is terrified of the lengths the Dritans are willing to go to to have her. Putting her faith in the wrong side could not only lead to a loss of her freedom, but it could be the catalyst to reigniting a vicious war.
 
​A RAY AMONG SHADOWS, an #ownvoices YA urban fantasy with a WOC protagonist, is complete at 100,000 words. It is told from both Desiree's and Adrian's perspective.
 
Thank you for your consideration,

If my feedback was helpful, I'd appreciate some thoughts on my YA Urban Fantasy Query !

 


#8 A. Wass

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 05:54 PM

Thank you for taking the time to critique my query yesterday. I thought I'd return the favor. Find my thoughts below.

 

 

Thank you guys for your feedback! Man, I was super hesitant about posting my query for critique, but I'm SO glad I did.

 

Here is my SECOND attempt. I tried to re-order it, increase the stakes, and provide some clarity on the plot. I'm slightly concerned about the length, but I'm stuck between being clear, providing enough information, and also trying to invoke some of the same voice that is found in the story, so that it doesn't sound "BLEH". Now, hopefully I didn't make this worse:

 

Dear (Agent),
 
Desiree Saunders is a seventeen-year-old girl with a barely-manageable fear of the dark.(Being afraid of the dark isn't uncommon, so this doesn't really stand out. If she's afraid of the dark because of some unique reason, you might want to consider adding something about why she's afraid. If it's just a generic thing I'd consider trying to spice this hook up.) When a man with shadows rippling off his skin jumps her on an after-sunset grocery run, she unknowingly becomes the victim of a war crime. (This sentence is more intriguing.)
 
Adrian Lunavie is connected to her attacker. (This feels very out of context to me. There's no flow from the last paragraph to this one. Plus the way it's worded makes it sound like Adrian is a she and that she was also attacked. I had to read the whole query a few times to get it.Try to clarify that Adrian is a guy who is connected to Desiree's attacker.) While he did technically save her life, (so he attacked her but he saved her life?) he also threatened to silence her if she revealed that it wasn't really a hit-and-run that put her in the hospital. (She's in the hospital? I'm sorry but I'm very lost.) The fact that an Orphae had attacked a Dritan, unprovoked, would break the fragile armistice between them. (This isn't clear what or who the Dritan  or Orphae is.)
This entire paragraph seems like a bunch of information that is sort of thrown out there out of context and it's hard to connect any of it. Also it took me a few reads to figure that th
 
The Orphae can wield darkness like a weapon, and call on it to conceal themselves. The Dritans' powers are fueled by the light, and they can bend it at will. (This is better. Now I know what it is. Maybe don't separate the info about the Orphae/Dritans above. Keep this sentence with the other paragraph.) When Adrian softens up and tells Desiree she is one of the latter, she wants to be anywhere but on the side fighting against people like him(Who is him? Adrian or the attacker?). (Why would Desiree not want to be on the same side as what she is?)
 
But when a Dritan man appears, determined to take Desiree away, no matter the costs, she realizes the light isn't as welcoming as it once appeared. She asks Adrian to teach her how to defend herself, but that means she's asking him to commit treason by training the enemy. (Why is Adrian helping her at all?)
 
With the Dritans and the Ophae preventing Desiree from returning to normalcy, she has to figure out who has her best interest in mind in order to survive. The idea of being sheltered in the shadows with Adrian is as alluring, as it is unsettling, and while she is naturally drawn to the light, she is terrified of the lengths the Dritans are willing to go to to have her. Putting her faith in the wrong side could not only lead to a loss of her freedom, but it could be the catalyst to reigniting a vicious war.
 
​A RAY AMONG SHADOWS, an #ownvoices YA urban fantasy with a WOC protagonist, is complete at 100,000 words. It is told from both Desiree's and Adrian's perspective.
 
Thank you for your consideration,

 

 

So the concept is great and unique, I'm just not feeling that come across in the query. Overall I get very lost early on and it doesn't clear up from there. You have the backbone of the story but it isn't presented in a clear way and with too many broken up paragraphs that seem like they should be together. I know that with a concept like this, you'll get bites from agents. You just need to find a way to portray it better here. I'd be happy to take a look at it again once you revise to let you know if it makes more sense to an outsider. Let me know.



#9 Sataris

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 06:04 PM

 

Thank you guys for your feedback! Man, I was super hesitant about posting my query for critique, but I'm SO glad I did.

 

Here is my SECOND attempt. I tried to re-order it, increase the stakes, and provide some clarity on the plot. I'm slightly concerned about the length 326 words is long, but not absurd. I would try to get below 300 though, but I'm stuck between being clear, providing enough information, and also trying to invoke some of the same voice that is found in the story, so that it doesn't sound "BLEH". Now, hopefully I didn't make this worse:

 

Dear (Agent),
 
Desiree Saunders is a seventeen-year-old girl with a barely-manageable fear of the darkthis is an interesting detail, but it gets dropped throughout the rest of the query. Could you maybe just say something like "Desiree never thought she'd be the victim of a warcrime" or something like that to start? seems like the larger hook of the two. Or Desiree Saunders never imagined she would start a war, etc. When a man with shadows rippling off his skin jumps her on an after-sunset grocery run, she unknowingly becomes the victim of a war crime.
 
Adrian Lunavie is connected to her attacker. Since you aren't switching perspectives here, this would be stronger if you started with her life was saved by Adrian, a XYZ While he did technically save her life, he also threatened to silence her if she revealed that it wasn't really a hit-and-run that put her in the hospital. The fact that an Orphae had attacked a Dritan, unprovoked, would break the fragile armistice between them. 
 
It seems like the conflict between the two forces is the main conflict point of the book, but I wonder if you could do something to avoid giving them names. Otherwise it's hard to keep who is who is your head as they essentially read as third and fourth named characters
 
The Orphae can wield darkness like a weapon, and call on it to conceal themselves. The Dritans' powers are fueled by the light, and they can bend it at will. more cool details, but also a little jarring when presented in a vaccuum. Can you tie this stuff into the attack, or show us an example of her powers manifesting somewhere else?When Adrian softens up and tells Desiree she is one of the latter, she wants to be anywhere but on the side fighting against people like him I'm not totally clear on this - i think it's saying she doesn't want to be his enemy?
 
But when a Dritan man appears, determined to take Desiree away, no matter the costs, she realizes the light isn't as welcoming as it once appeared. She asks Adrian to teach her how to defend herself, but that means she's asking him to commit treason by training the enemy.
 
With the Dritans and the Ophae preventing Desiree from returning to normalcy, she has to figure out who has her best interest in mind in order to survive. The idea of being sheltered in the shadows with Adrian is as alluring, as it is unsettling, and while she is naturally drawn to the light, she is terrified of the lengths the Dritans are willing to go to to have her. Putting her faith in the wrong side could not only lead to a loss of her freedom, but it could be the catalyst to reigniting a vicious war.
 
​A RAY AMONG SHADOWS, an #ownvoices YA urban fantasy with a WOC protagonist, is complete at 100,000 words. It is told from both Desiree's and Adrian's perspective.
 
Thank you for your consideration,

 

Sounds like a really cool story. And thanks for the feedback on my query - you should have seen the earlier versions though. Totally awful.

 

Anyway, I think you could simplify this a good bit, as we get into a lot of blow by blow later on in the query with the teaching and the people wanting her and so on.

 

The bare bones would look something like this:

 

Desiree is attacked, but adrian saves her

But it turns out that Adrian is actually her enemy

Meanwhile, she's hunted by her own kind for X reason

Desiree much choose between the light and the dark.

If she chooses light, Y will happen, if she chooses dark, Z will happen.

 

I also think it would be more compelling if we knew why her own people are going to such great lengths to grab her. We're not really sure what makes her special by the end of the query (or why she was targeted early on).

 

Hope that was helpful! Best of luck!


No current query.


#10 Queen of my backyard

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 11:04 PM

 

Thank you guys for your feedback! Man, I was super hesitant about posting my query for critique, but I'm SO glad I did.

 

Here is my SECOND attempt. I tried to re-order it, increase the stakes, and provide some clarity on the plot. I'm slightly concerned about the length, but I'm stuck between being clear, providing enough information, and also trying to invoke some of the same voice that is found in the story, so that it doesn't sound "BLEH". Now, hopefully I didn't make this worse:

 

Dear (Agent),
 
 
Desiree Saunders is a Seventeen-year-old Desiree Saunders with a barely-manageable fear of the dark. When a man with shadows rippling off his skin jumps her on an after-sunset grocery run, she unknowingly becomes the victim of a war crime when she's jumped by a man with shadows rippling off his skin. (IMO, I don't think you need to say when or where, being the victim of a war crime at the hands of a man with shadows rippling off his skin his a pretty enticing hook.)
 
Adrian Lunavie is connected to her attacker. While he did technically saves her life, but he also threatens to silence her if she reveals that it wasn't really a hit-and-run that put her in the hospital he came to her aid . None of it make sense until Adrian reveals that he is an an Orphae, as was her attacker ––able to wield darkness like a weapon and call upon it to conceal himself. He tells her she is a Dritan–– she's fueled by the light and can bend it at will. He explains the implications:The fact that an Orphae had attacked attacking a Dritan unprovoked would could break the fragile armistice between them if others learn of it.  (insert what will happen and why that's so bad); that's why he saved her. (I've taken a few liberties here in parsing out what I believe you're trying to communicate in terms of plot and stakes. If I'm off the mark, I apologize.)  Knowing the danger Adrian put himself in to rescue her, Desiree struggles with being a Dritan, enemy of the Orphae, of Adrian. 
 
The Orphae can wield darkness like a weapon, and call on it to conceal themselves. The Dritans' powers are fueled by the light, and they can bend it at will. When Adrian softens up and tells Desiree she is one of the latter, she wants to be anywhere but on the side fighting against people like him.
 
But when When a Dritan man appears,(delete comma) determined to take Desiree away,(delete comma) no matter the costs, she realizes the light isn't as welcoming as it once appeared. (This is vague. After "When a Driton man appears" show us what happens to cause her to ask Adrian to teach her to defend herself... but then that begs the question, would a guy who deals in shadows really be the best person to teach a light bender how to defend herself?  She asks Adrian to teach her how to defend herself, but that means she's asking him to commit treason by training the enemy.(It seems like the limited word count of a query is backing you into a corner here bc your MC just became totally self-serving and much less endearing, particularly given Adrian already committed treason to save her life. Perhaps you can simply show us how the Dritan tries to take her and that leads to her realization she needs to learn to defend herself (the how can be left for the synopsis and the MS).
 
With the Dritans and the Ophae preventing Desiree from returning to normalcy (we've had no indication anywhere that normalcy is a driver for her... we'd all like the chaos in our lives to go the ##$% away so we could get back to normal, I think you're wasting word count, She has to figure out who has her best interest in mind in order to survive. The idea of being sheltered in the shadows with Adrian is as alluring,(delete comma) as it is unsettling. , and Yet, while she is naturally drawn to the light, she is terrified of the lengths the Dritans are willing to go to to have her. Putting her faith in the wrong side could not only lead to a loss of  cost her freedom, but it could be the catalyst to reigniting a vicious war.
 
​A RAY AMONG SHADOWS, an #ownvoices YA urban fantasy with a WOC protagonist, is complete at 100,000 words. It is told from both Desiree's and Adrian's perspective.
 
Thank you for your consideration,

 

 

Wow, I think this is SUCH a cool concept and I would totally read this book! I actually think you do have the stakes pretty well established. She clearly has to decide whether to fight on the side of the light or the dark... a very classic trope with a very new twist, not easy to do. I would defiantly recommend you build out what's in it for the Dritans and why they aren't necessarily so great. That's actually what makes your story unique IMO. It's the light (read: the traditionally good guys) that may not be so good. I think that would give real impact, especially if you are able to add an ounce of doubt as to Adrian's motives, or any other red-flag's of the "dark side" outside of her fear of the dark (which IMO isn't a strong hook to begin with, and as others have mentioned, is too commonplace a fear to stand out). 

This is so close to being a stand out... I can't wait to see this book on the shelves!

 

Edit: I'm sorry... I have yet to figure out why some of my edits appear in the colors I designate, and some mysteriously default to black, making them hard to distinguish from the original version. I neglected to preview the post in my haste to gobble dinner... my bad.


If you found my comments helpful, please consider critiquing my query at http://agentquerycon...fantasyrevised/


#11 Mdane

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Posted 20 January 2018 - 01:11 AM

 

 

Dear (Agent),
 
Desiree Saunders is a seventeen-year-old girl with a barely-manageable fear of the dark. When a man with shadows rippling off his skin jumps her on an after-sunset(i'm sure a strong, more succinct word could be used here) grocery run, she unknowingly becomes the victim of a war crime. The two sentences need to be tied together to create a stronger hook. "DS is a seventeen-year-old girl with a crippling fear of the dark. This is compounded ten-fold when a man with shadows tearing from his skin jumps her during a night time grocery run...." or something. The two sentences just seem a bit isolated from each other.
 
Adrian Lunavie (who?) is connected to her attacker(Desiree's?). While he did technically save her life(the attacker or Adrian?), he also threatened to silence her if she revealed that it wasn't really a hit-and-run that put her in the hospital. (so I am lost with these sentences. I don't know who saved who The fact that an Orphae(I think a brief description of what an orphae is should be here) had attacked a Dritan(and what a Dritan is here), unprovoked, would break the fragile armistice between them. 
 
The Orphae can wield darkness like a weapon, and call on it to conceal themselves. The Dritans' powers are fueled by the light, and they can bend it at will. When Adrian softens up and tells Desiree she is one of the latter, she wants to be anywhere but on the side fighting against people like him. (I like the twist here how she has a fear of the dark)
 
But when a Dritan man appears, determined to take Desiree away,(Don't need this comma here) no matter the costs, she realizes the light isn't as welcoming as it once appeared. She asks Adrian to teach her how to defend herself, but that means she's asking him to commit treason by training the enemy.
 
With the Dritans and the Ophae preventing Desiree from returning to normalcy, she has to figure out who has her best interest in mind in order to survive. The idea of being sheltered in the shadows with Adrian is as alluring,(no comma here) as it is unsettling, and while she is naturally drawn to the light, she is terrified of the lengths the Dritans are willing to go to to have her. Putting her faith in the wrong side could not only lead to a loss of her freedom, but it could be the catalyst to reigniting a vicious war. (Good stakes, I like it)
 
​A RAY AMONG SHADOWS, an #ownvoices YA urban fantasy with a WOC protagonist, is complete at 100,000 words. It is told from both Desiree's and Adrian's perspective.
 
Thank you for your consideration,

 

 

It sounds like you have a really interesting story here. I believe the query can be written more succinctly. The second paragraph had me scratching my head, and I believe the third needs to be tied into the second as well. One last thing, I'm not sure if it has been said in a previous post, but your word count is very high for a YA novel. Just a thought.

 

Hope this helps :)


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

 

My published novel on Amazon The Traitor in the Trees


#12 Soreen Laythyn

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Posted 20 January 2018 - 01:52 AM

Dear (Agent),
 
Desiree Saunders is a seventeen-year-old girl with a barely-manageable fear of the dark. When a man with shadows rippling off his skin jumps her on an after-sunset(i'm sure a strong, more succinct word could be used here) grocery run, she unknowingly becomes the victim of a war crime. The two sentences need to be tied together to create a stronger hook. "DS is a seventeen-year-old girl with a crippling fear of the dark. This is compounded ten-fold when a man with shadows tearing from his skin jumps her during a night time grocery run...." or something. The two sentences just seem a bit isolated from each other.
 
Adrian Lunavie (who?) is connected to her attacker(Desiree's?). While he did technically save her life(the attacker or Adrian?), he also threatened to silence her if she revealed that it wasn't really a hit-and-run that put her in the hospital. (so I am lost with these sentences. I don't know who saved who The fact that an Orphae(I think a brief description of what an orphae is should be here) had attacked a Dritan(and what a Dritan is here), unprovoked, would break the fragile armistice between them. 
 
The Orphae can wield darkness like a weapon, and call on it to conceal themselves. The Dritans' powers are fueled by the light, and they can bend it at will. When Adrian softens up and tells Desiree she is one of the latter, she wants to be anywhere but on the side fighting against people like him. (I like the twist here how she has a fear of the dark)
 
But when a Dritan man appears, determined to take Desiree away,(Don't need this comma here) no matter the costs, she realizes the light isn't as welcoming as it once appeared. She asks Adrian to teach her how to defend herself, but that means she's asking him to commit treason by training the enemy.
 
With the Dritans and the Ophae preventing Desiree from returning to normalcy, she has to figure out who has her best interest in mind in order to survive. The idea of being sheltered in the shadows with Adrian is as alluring,(no comma here) as it is unsettling, and while she is naturally drawn to the light, she is terrified of the lengths the Dritans are willing to go to to have her. Putting her faith in the wrong side could not only lead to a loss of her freedom, but it could be the catalyst to reigniting a vicious war. (Good stakes, I like it)
 
​A RAY AMONG SHADOWS, an #ownvoices YA urban fantasy with a WOC protagonist, is complete at 100,000 words. It is told from both Desiree's and Adrian's perspective.
 
Thank you for your consideration,

 

 

First off, thank you for helping me with my query, TRINITY: DEATH AND ALL HIS FRIENDS! 

 

Second, I really like what you have here so far, just a few notes and then I'll be on my way.

 

- The time "after-sunset" usually twilight or dusk. You can use anyone one of these words, but after-sunset just didn't sound right when I read it. (And I read it over about three times, which is something most agents won't do.)

 

-Maybe try to make it clear who Adrian Lunavie is. That paragraph introducing him makes it seem like he might be the attacker. (He's not, right?)

 

-I love the twist, don't change it.  :biggrin:

 

-The part about who's perspective it is, you might want to leave that part out.

 

I hope I helped some, I'm good at taking advice, not so much at giving it. But i did look up that thing about after-sunset just for this.



#13 PureZhar3

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Posted 20 January 2018 - 03:02 PM

Dear (Agent),

 

Desiree Saunders is a seventeen-year-old girl with a stomach-twisting, heart-racing, deeply hidden, (I'm not sure why, but the comma between deeply hidden and fear is rubbing me the wrong way) fear of the dark. When she is attacked by a man who personifies everything that keeps her up at night, she unknowingly becomes a victim of a war that has been waging in the shadows for centuries (all these phrases tacked onto one another are slightly hard to follow).

 

The Orphae can call on darkness to conceal themselves, like it's a second skin You might consider cutting the second clause to simply "like a second skin". The Dritan’s powers are fueled by the cut "the" for the sake of parallelism (you didn't say 'the darkness') light. Desiree is told she is one of the latter. Alarmingly, this puts her on the side fighting against her attacker and people like him—people like Adrian When I first read this, I was tripped up as to who was fighting who. If you could condense "on the side fighting against her attacker", I think it would be clearer.

 

Adrian Lunavie is an Orphae. While he did technically save Desiree from her assailant, he also threatened to silence her if she revealed the truth about what really put her in the hospital that night. I like the tension in this sentence :smile: But when it turns out that he isn’t the only energy-wielding man keeping an eye on Desiree, his conscious kicks in, and he agrees to teach her how to defend herself, even though that means he's committing treason. This could be me, but I'm confused as to who this paragraph is about. Is it about Adrian and what he's up to, or about how Adrian furthers Desiree's plot? If the former, I would reword the second sentence. If the latter, you might want to alter the first part of the third sentence to read as "When Desiree discovers multiple energy-wielding men..." so that it's about what she is doing.

 

As Adrian and Desiree focus on keeping her safe This phrasing made me think of a third-party "her", rather than of Desiree's safety, they shift from enemies to allies. As their trust in one another grows, so do the lingering gazes. As they learn that the man hunting Desiree down is Dritan, like her, she realizes that the light might not be as enticing as it once appeared, and that there is something as alluring, as there is unsettling, in the darkness. You should restructure the last sentence... the sentence prior to it also begins with "as", so it doesn't flow well. Also, while I like the concept it conveys, it's a bit long and wordy.

 

A RAY AMONG SHADOWS is a YA Urban Fantasy novel, with a WOC protagonist, complete at 100k words. It is told from the perspective of the Dritan struggling with her new identity, and the Orphae man who finds himself wanting to protect her. I am seeking your representation as you have expressed an interest in diverse, #OwnVoices novels.

 

Thank you for your consideration,

 

This is a really cool concept; I always enjoy books which explore the qualities of light and dark. I know I left a lot of comments, but I was being super nitpicky (the query made sense for the most part, and the tension/twists are very real). Hopefully it was helpful :happy:


If you have time, I'd appreciate it if you took a look at my query: http://agentquerycon...-realismsci-fi/


#14 KET Writes

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Posted 20 January 2018 - 04:36 PM

Trying again! Thank you for the feedback so far!

 

I think my biggest struggle is what to reveal in the query. At the beginning you only know that Adrian and Desiree's attacker know each other. You don't find out that the man is a member of Adrian's guard until about the 2/3 mark. But the 'connected to her attacker' explanation I was using didn't seem to be working.

 

I tried to make the second paragraph make more sense, as it was really confusing people. I'm not sure if I made it better or worse. 

 

I also could go into greater detail about the Dritans, but then the query risks getting long. Is there anything else in it that could be potentially cut?

 

 

Dear (Agent)

 

Seventeen-year-old Desiree Saunders has a debilitating fear of the dark. When a man with shadows rippling from his skin jumps her on an unlit street, her phobia is magnified, and she unknowingly becomes the victim of a war crime.

 

When Adrian Lunavie finds his soldier pressing a knife to Desiree’s throat, he saves her life on the condition she keeps quiet about the incident. When it’s clear Desiree doesn’t understand what’s going on, Adrian softens up and reveals that he and her attacker are Orphae—one with darkness, able to wield it like a weapon. He tells Desiree that they are enemies, that she is a Dritan—fuelled by the light and able to bend it at will. If it got out, the fact that an Orphae had attacked a Dritan, unprovoked, could break the fragile armistice between them.

All Desiree wants is to be anywhere except on the side fighting against people like Adrian. But when a Dritan man starts stalking her, determined to take Desiree away no matter the costs, she realizes that the light isn’t as welcoming as it once appeared. Especially as it seems they want her to be a pawn in their blood-feud with the Orphae.

 

Now, Desiree has to figure out who has her best interest in mind in order to survive. With time, the idea of being sheltered in the shadows with Adrian becomes as alluring as it is unsettling. Yet, while she is naturally drawn to the light, she is terrified of the lengths the Dritans are willing to go to have her. Putting her faith in the wrong side could not only cost her freedom, it could be the catalyst that reignites a vicious war. 

 

A RAY AMONG SHADOWS, an #ownvoices YA urban fantasy with a WOC protagonist, is complete at 100,000 words.

 

Thank you for your consideration,

Schedule


If my feedback was helpful, I'd appreciate some thoughts on my YA Urban Fantasy Query !

 


#15 VSChapman

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Posted 20 January 2018 - 05:15 PM

Trying again! Thank you for the feedback so far!

 

I think my biggest struggle is what to reveal in the query. At the beginning you only know that Adrian and Desiree's attacker know each other. You don't find out that the man is a member of Adrian's guard until about the 2/3 mark. But the 'connected to her attacker' explanation I was using didn't seem to be working.

 

I tried to make the second paragraph make more sense, as it was really confusing people. I'm not sure if I made it better or worse. 

 

I also could go into greater detail about the Dritans, but then the query risks getting long. Is there anything else in it that could be potentially cut?

 

 

Dear (Agent)

 

Seventeen-year-old Desiree Saunders has a debilitating fear of the dark. (I like this opening) When a man with shadows rippling from his skin (not sure what rippling from his skin means) jumps her on an unlit street, her phobia is magnified, and she unknowingly becomes the victim of a war crime.

 

When Adrian Lunavie finds his soldier pressing a knife to Desiree’s throat, he saves her life on the condition she keeps quiet about the incident. When it’s clear Desiree doesn’t understand what’s going on, Adrian softens up and reveals that he and her attacker are Orphae—one with darkness, able to wield it like a weapon. He tells Desiree that they are enemies, that she is a Dritan—fuelled by the light and able to bend it at will. If it got out, the fact that an Orphae had attacked a Dritan, unprovoked, could break the fragile armistice between them.

All Desiree wants is to be anywhere except on the side fighting against people like Adrian. But when a Dritan man starts stalking her, determined to take Desiree away no matter the costs, she realizes that the light isn’t as welcoming as it once appeared. Especially as it seems they want her to be a pawn in their blood-feud with the Orphae.

 

Now, Desiree has to figure out who has her best interest in mind who to trust in order to survive. With time, the idea of being sheltered in the shadows with Adrian becomes as alluring as it is unsettling. Yet, while she is naturally drawn to the light, she is terrified of the lengths the Dritans are willing to go to have her. Putting her faith in the wrong side could not only cost her freedom, it could be the catalyst that reignites a vicious war. 

 

A RAY AMONG SHADOWS, an #ownvoices YA urban fantasy with a WOC protagonist, is complete at 100,000 words.

 

Thank you for your consideration,

Schedule

I think this is pretty good. A few things could be a bit clearer, like the attack. Personally, I would drop the last names. Only because too many names confuse me and right now they aren't important. The story sounds pretty cool though. Hope this helps!  



#16 A. Wass

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Posted 20 January 2018 - 08:18 PM

Dear (Agent)

 

Seventeen-year-old Desiree Saunders has a debilitating fear of the dark. When a man with shadows rippling from his skin jumps her on an unlit street, her phobia is magnified, and she unknowingly becomes the victim of a war crime.

 

When Adrian Lunavie finds his soldier pressing a knife to Desiree’s throat, he saves her life on the condition she keeps quiet about the incident. (Yes! This is so much better. It ties in with the hook and I'm not confused anymore, I'm intrigued.) When it’s clear Desiree doesn’t understand what’s going on, Adrian softens up and reveals that he and her attacker are Orphae—one with darkness, able to wield it like a weapon. He tells Desiree that they are enemies, that she is a Dritan—fuelled by the light and able to bend it at will. If it got out, the fact that an Orphae had attacked a Dritan, unprovoked, could break the fragile armistice between them.

 

All Desiree wants is to be anywhere except on the side fighting against people like Adrian.(This sentence reads awkward to me and I have to read it several times before I get what you're trying to say.) But when a Dritan man starts stalking her, determined to take Desiree away no matter the costs, she realizes that the light isn’t as welcoming as it once appeared. Especially as it seems they want her to be a pawn in their blood-feud with the Orphae.(I'm glad this version includes why they want to take her.)

 

Now, Desiree has to figure out who has her best interest in mind in order to survive. With time, the idea of being sheltered in the shadows with Adrian becomes as alluring as it is unsettling. Yet, while she is naturally drawn to the light, she is terrified of the lengths the Dritans are willing to go to have her. Putting her faith in the wrong side could not only cost her freedom, it could be the catalyst that reignites a vicious war. 

 

A RAY AMONG SHADOWS, an #ownvoices YA urban fantasy with a WOC protagonist, is complete at 100,000 words.

 

 

This version is much better. Good job! There are a few more things that could be a little clearer or succinct but it's definitely better than the last version. 



#17 PureZhar3

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Posted 21 January 2018 - 03:10 PM

I really like this version! A few minor things I noticed:

 

Dear (Agent)

 

Seventeen-year-old Desiree Saunders has a debilitating fear of the dark. When a man with shadows rippling from his skin jumps her on an unlit street, her phobia is magnified, It's probably just me, but I'm not a fan of this phrase "her phobia is magnified" - maybe because it's in passive tense but also seems hyperbolic? and she unknowingly becomes the victim of a war crime.

 

When Adrian Lunavie finds his soldier pressing a knife to Desiree’s throat, he saves her life on the condition that she keeps quiet about the incident. When it’s clear Desiree doesn’t understand what’s going on, Adrian softens up and reveals that he and her attacker are Orphae—one with darkness, able to wield it like a weapon. He tells Desiree that they are enemies, that she is a Dritan—fuelled by the light and able to bend it at will. If it got out, the fact that an Orphae had attacked a Dritan, unprovoked, could break the fragile armistice between them.

All Desiree wants is to be anywhere except on the side fighting against people like Adrian.  This sentence doesn't quite make sense to me (I suppose because I'm confused why) But when a Dritan man starts stalking her, determined to take Desiree away no matter the costs, she realizes that the light isn’t as welcoming as it once appeared. Especially as it seems they want her to be a pawn in their blood-feud with the Orphae.

 

Now, Desiree has to figure out who has her best interest in mind in order to survive. With time, the idea of being sheltered in the shadows with Adrian becomes as alluring as it is unsettling. Yet you say "yet", but what you say next does not seem to be in different contrast to what you said before (the 'while' alone would suffice), while she is naturally drawn to the light, she is terrified of the lengths the Dritans are willing to go to have her. Putting her faith in the wrong side could not only cost her freedom, it could be the catalyst that reignites a vicious war. 

 

A RAY AMONG SHADOWS, an #ownvoices YA urban fantasy with a WOC protagonist, is complete at 100,000 words.

 

Thank you for your consideration,


If you have time, I'd appreciate it if you took a look at my query: http://agentquerycon...-realismsci-fi/


#18 Wayfarer

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Posted 21 January 2018 - 04:26 PM

Dear (Agent)

 

Seventeen-year-old Desiree Saunders has a debilitating fear of the dark. When a man with shadows rippling from his skin  wreathed in shadow jumps her on an unlit street, her phobia is magnified actualized, and she unknowingly becomes the victim of a war crime[This last point about being a victim comes out of nowhere, and doesn't make me curious, but instead breaks the flow of the former point of her being afraid of darkness and being assaulted by a man cloaked in it. Perhaps focus the hook on her fear, the man, and how that makes her feel, then move on to the bit about being a victim of a war crime.] 

 

When Adrian Lunavie finds his soldier pressing a knife to Desiree’s throat, he saves her life on the condition she keeps quiet about the incident. When it’s clear Desiree doesn’t understand what’s going on, Adrian softens up and reveals that he and her attacker are Orphae—one with darkness, able to wield it like a weapon. He tells Desiree that they are enemies, that she is a Dritan—fueled by the light and able to bend it at will bend it as they do the shadows. If it got out, the fact that an Orphae had attacked a Dritan, unprovoked, could break the fragile armistice between them. [This final sentence needs complete restructuring. Ex. He explains that if news broke of an Orphae assaulting a Dritan, the fragile armistice maintained between them could be shattered.

 

All Desiree wants is to be anywhere except on the side fighting against people like Adrian. [Why? This doesn't really tell me much besides she doesn't want to fight Orphae. Why not? Does she love Adrian?] But when a Dritan man starts stalking her, determined to take Desiree away no matter the costs, she realizes that the light isn’t as welcoming as it once appeared. [You just said she didn't want to be on the Dritan said, so why would it have appeared welcoming at all?] Especially as it seems they want her to be a pawn in their blood-feud with the Orphae.

 

Now, Desiree has to figure out who has her best interest in mind in order to survive. With time, the idea of being sheltered in the shadows with Adrian becomes as alluring as it is unsettling. Yet, while she is naturally drawn to the light, she is terrified of the lengths the Dritans are willing to go to have her. Putting her faith in the wrong side could not only cost her freedom, it could be the catalyst that reignites a vicious war.

 

A RAY AMONG SHADOWS, an #ownvoices YA urban fantasy with a WOC [A what?] protagonist, is complete at 100,000 words.

 

Thank you for your consideration,

Schedule



#19 KET Writes

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Posted 21 January 2018 - 06:55 PM

Thank you again and again for everyone's helpful feedback. Please know I am carefully considering everyone's feedback, but when I get conflicted messages I have either looked at how I can change something completely, or when all fails, go with the majority. Just so no one feels like I'm snubbing their critique.   :biggrin: 

 

Wayfarer - WOC is "woman of colour", most of the agents I plan on pitching have specifically listed "WOC" characters on their wish lists. For those who haven't, I will either spell it out, or use different language to describe Desiree. (Also I'm Canadian, so I spell Fueled "Fuelled"... This begs the question, anyone else from Canada or from the UK switch their spellings in their query and​ their manuscript depending where the agent is located? I don't want to risk an agent thinking I don't know how to spell!!)

 

Also how do people feel about this as a slight alternative to the opening line? : Seventeen-year-old Desiree has a debilitating fear of the dark. When a man cloaked in shadows jumps her on an unlit street, magnifying her phobia, she unknowingly becomes the victim of a war crime.

 

 

Okay everyone: Revision # 4

 

Dear (Agent)

 

Seventeen-year-old Desiree has a debilitating fear of the dark. When a man cloaked in shadows jumps her on an unlit street, her phobia is magnified, and she unknowingly becomes the victim of a war crime.

 

When Adrian finds his soldier pressing a knife to Desiree’s throat, he saves her life on the condition that she keeps quiet about the incident. When it’s clear Desiree doesn’t understand the mess she’s in, Adrian softens and reveals that he and her attacker are Orphae—able to wield darkness like a weapon. He tells Desiree that she is Dritan—fuelled by the light and able to bend it at will. If news broke that an Orphae had assaulted a Dritan, the fragile armistice between them could shatter.

 

Desiree struggles with her new identity, knowing that it positions her against everything that keeps her up at night. But when a Dritan man starts stalking her, determined to take Desiree away no matter the costs, she realizes that the light isn’t as welcoming as it once appeared. Especially as it seems they want her to be a pawn in their feud with the Orphae.

 

In order to survive, Desiree must figure out who to trust. As she spends time with Adrian, the idea of being sheltered in the shadows with him becomes as alluring as it is unsettling. And while the Dritans seem willing to go to terrifying lengths to have her, she is still naturally drawn to the light. Putting her faith in the wrong side could not only cost her freedom, it could be the catalyst that reignites a vicious war. 

 

A RAY AMONG SHADOWS, an #ownvoices YA urban fantasy with a WOC protagonist, is complete at 100,000 words.

 

Thank you for your consideration,


If my feedback was helpful, I'd appreciate some thoughts on my YA Urban Fantasy Query !

 


#20 Jbaydoun

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Posted 21 January 2018 - 08:18 PM

 

 

Dear (Agent)

 

Seventeen-year-old Desiree has a debilitating fear of the dark  is afraid of the dark (sometimes less words make it more impactful. When a man cloaked in shadows jumps attacks her on an unlit street, her phobia is magnified, and she unknowingly becomes the victim of a war crime.

 

When Adrian finds his soldier holding pressing a knife to Desiree’s throat, he spares her on the condition that she keeps quiet about the incident. When it becomes clear that Desiree doesn’t understand the mess she’s in, Adrian softens and reveals that he and his soldier  her attacker are Orphae—able to wield darkness like a weapon. He tells Desiree that she is Dritan—fuelled by the light and able to bend it at will. If news broke that an Orphae had assaulted a Dritan, the fragile armistice between them could shatter.

 

Desiree struggles with her new identity, knowing that it positions her against everything that keeps her up at night. But when a Dritan man starts stalking her, determined to take Desiree away no matter the costs, she realizes that the light isn’t as welcoming as it once appeared. Especially as it seems if they want her to be a pawn in their war feud with the Orphae.

 

In order to survive, Desiree must figure out who to trust. As she spends time with Adrian, the idea of being sheltered in the shadows with him becomes as alluring as it is unsettling. And while the Dritans seem willing to go to terrifying lengths to have her, she is still naturally drawn to the light. Putting her faith in the wrong side could not only cost her freedom, it could be the catalyst that reignites a vicious war. 

 

A RAY AMONG SHADOWS, an #ownvoices YA urban fantasy with a WOC protagonist, is complete at 100,000 words.

 

Thank you for your consideration,

 

I like the concept! You have a few little "errors" in places where I feel your wording dancing around too much. It is better to get straight to the point. I've  highlighted a few above. Good luck!







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