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Violet's on the Train - YA Romance (Resolved?)


Best Answer Arait , 10 February 2018 - 01:40 AM

I'm going to leave this another day to give everyone one last chance to mark me up. But as far as I understand, when a thread reaches a fairly decent query, I'm supposed to call it resolved.

So going once, going twice... Go to the full post


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#21 Arait

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Posted 01 February 2018 - 02:16 AM

smithgirl I didn't mean to make you feel as if your comments alone caused the crisis at all. It's probably really valuable to me that you expressed your confusion over certain aspects (as did some others). And while I recognize everybody has their own opinion of what works and what doesn't, confusion is one of those things that can't just be brushed off as opinion. And I guess the crisis is more about how important is it that everybody understands? Because if somebody loves a particular line and another person says it makes no sense, how do you know who to believe on that?

I intend to keep fiddling with some of everybody's suggestions because even if I can't make a query loved by all agents, I want to aim to make one understood by all the agents. In the meantime, I tried to make a synopsis thinking it might help me iron out some of the questions people have been raising. I'm certain it needs help also (at least I've tried writing queries for previous books. This is my first ms to get a synopsis, so way inexperienced). It's over in the synopsis critique thread, for intrepid souls who dare.

Thank you everybody for being patient with me and being willing to explain things and listen to explanations. I've never been the kind who can learn a new skill by reading instructions and copying examples, so I really appreciate the time you take explaining things.

#22 PureZhar3

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Posted 01 February 2018 - 05:15 PM

I know I'm supposed to be able to consider all of this objectively and recognize that so much of whether a query "works" or not is opinion-based. But I really can't understand how reactions are varying as widely as they are. Is it pretty good, only in need of polishing, or inconcise, illogical, and sorely lacking information? At this point, nothing I mentioned is superfluous at all. When I'm really questioning someone's advice (is it the query or just them?), I usually go check out their own query and other posts they've made, as well as check out their profile... it gives a good idea if they know what they're talking about and whether their advice tends to be spot-on or a bit off.

Even Sarah's broken heart isn't just why Violet comes back to town. It's connected to the fairy tales, the reason Violet trusts Jonah, and eventually even the crimes. I can't say Jonah is accused of "committing" all the crimes because he isn't. He's accused of being "at the center of," deeply involved, or connected to all the crimes. And I can't say "the true criminals" because that would imply that Jonah is entirely uninvolved, which he isn't. I understand. My story is full of nuances, but remember... once the agent starts actually reading your book, the exact wording you used in your query won't matter (so long as it got the general idea across). So even if some of what you say is *slightly!* misleading (i.e. "committing crimes") they'll quickly revise their understanding of the plot when they jump into your story and that he's more accused of being "at the center of" the crimes instead.

Everyone kept asking why Violet believes he's innocent aside from just being blinded by love, so I added the reason. She believes he's innocent because she trusts Sarah's judgment. But that only seemed to confuse people more than it helped. I also don't understand how to make it more clear that "proving his legendary origins" means she's trying to prove he's from the fairy tale (Which for those of you who asked, is why she falls in love with him because she loved him from the story before they ever even met to begin with). Having read your explanation of this issue, I have a suggestion. Most people who are reading your query are going to be the kind of people who are head-over-heels for some fairy tale character or other. So - instead of bringing up her trust in Sarah's judgment - perhaps talk about that (her love of him as a fairy tale) being the reason she wants to prove him innocent (she loved him as a fairy tale and she desperately wants to love him now). Readers might have more grace with that reasoning, because we've all been there/would probably feel the same way... we want our fairy tale characters to be who we knew them to be, and we want to believe the best of them. It will also make clearer the connection with wanting to prove his legendary origins and such clearer.

The prohibition era very significantly effects the story. I just can't seem to properly get it into the query. Oh, and why is it that most people seem to dislike the word vanish? Also, several people have mentioned making the first paragraph present tense also, but isn't it weird if now and eight years ago are both in present tense? I thought about this the first time I read your query. Perhaps try writing it in present tense and see if it sounds right at all. If not, revert it. As for word choice, I haven't worried about changing words in my query unless people could offer me a great reason that it didn't fit (i.e. it doesn't make sense because it draws an association with...)

As for editorializing, I thought that meant not to tell the agent what he/she or other people should/will think about the story. How is mentioning that the story highlights a historical time in American history when the nation went through huge changes but progressively rather than all at once editorializing? Maybe I don't understand what that word means at all? I would agree with your definition... when I read that bit, it didn't seem to be editorializing (and even if it was, it wasn't about your story). It should be okay. As the setting, it is important to keep the mention of the time, and your sentence on it helps to bring about an idea of what that time is.

The Girl on the Train, lol. Kinda funny that I wrote half of this story and titled it before that book got published. I sure hope it doesn't make other people think of that also, since that is a very dark story. In any case, I heard that it's not too important to have the right title because it often gets changed later anyways.

I know the query is no good at all if half the people who read it are totally confused and asking for explanation. So I was hoping maybe if I explained some of it to you guys, you'd be able to help me make it more immediately understandable? I think that's enough questions for now. Thanks for all of your help! (I'd much rather write a sequel than a query)

Overall, Arait, just keep trying! I know that I'm constantly thinking "ah, mine's nearly done" - and then I get a ton of feedback on what was confusing. I tried to address any specific questions of yours, but mine is just an opinion like everyone else's. In my own opinion, the only part of your query that could use fixing would be the connection between her desire to prove Jonah innocent and his status as a fairy tale character/her sister's trust. Keep it up!


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


#23 Arait

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Posted 01 February 2018 - 10:57 PM

Is this more clear? Specifically is that a better place to mention the Prohibition? And is it okay to factually call Jonah a fairy-tale boy in the query regardless of whether he truly is one?

Violet believes in fairy tales. Jonah is her proof.

As a child, Violet's sister Sarah indulges her wild imagination, painting worlds through storytelling. One day the fairy-tale boy Violet loves most appears by the railroad tracks behind the farm. Calling himself "Plum" with a cheeky grin, he vanishes when the train passes.

Eight years later, in the heart of the Prohibition, Violet has outgrown most of her childish fantasies. When she returns to her hometown to help mend Sarah's broken heart, however, her belief in fairy tales is refreshed when she runs into the same boy, literally, at the train station. The wild-eyed young man, whose true name is Jonah, is accused of being connected to a string of local crimes — most notably, the murder of the mercantile's owner.

Even if some evidence points to Jonah, many of the accusations are hearsay alone, based on collective prejudice. Violet can't believe the boy from her sister's story is connected to every wrongdoing in town. Determined to prove his innocence, and his legendary origins, Violet makes herself and her family a target of the criminals. Thrust suddenly into the reality Jonah has been trying to escape, Violet must decide whether she will stay with her family, or run away as a fugitive with the boy she has always loved.

VIOLET'S ON THE TRAIN is a YA historical romance complete at 95,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.

#24 Wayfarer

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Posted 02 February 2018 - 01:30 AM

Violet believes in fairy tales. Jonah is her proof.

As a child, Violet's sister Sarah indulges her wild imagination, painting worlds through storytelling. One day the fairy-tale boy Violet loves most appears by the railroad tracks behind the farm. Calling himself "Plum" with a cheeky grin, he vanishes when as the train passes.

Eight years later, in the heart of the Prohibition, Violet has outgrown most of her childish childhood fantasies. However, when she returns to her hometown to help mend Sarah's broken heart, however, her belief in fairy tales is refreshed when as she runs into the same boy, literally, Plum at the train station. The wild-eyed young man, whose true name is Jonah, is accused of being connected to a string of local crimes — most notably, the murder of the mercantile's owner.

Even if some evidence points to Jonah, many of the accusations are based only on hearsay alone, based on and collective prejudice. (What prejudice? Is Plum black or something? I think you can just say 'hearsay', because mentioning prejudice without explaining why it plays a part means you need to explain why it plays a part, which isn't necessary for the query you have going to feel full.) Violet can't refuses to believe the boy from her sister's story is connected to every wrongdoing in town. Determined to prove his innocence, and his legendary origins, Violet makes herself and her family a target of the true criminals. Thrust suddenly into the reality Jonah has been trying to escape (This is sort of confusing. I take this to mean that she's brought into the "fairy-tale" world that Plum is from. But it could also mean the reality of the crimes that he is being accused of, and the negative crap he has to deal with in regards to that. If it's the former, then it's a query in itself, and as such you should either rewrite to focus on that [not advised] or change this line into something else/the query's stakes [which can be lesser stakes from the story, like she needs to decide whether to advocate for Plum and risk the towns wrath because prejudice, or deny him and her love for him in order to keep her family safe), Violet must decide whether she will stay with her family, or run away as a fugitive with the boy she has always loved.

VIOLET'S ON THE TRAIN is a YA historical romance complete at 95,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.



#25 PureZhar3

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Posted 03 February 2018 - 11:13 AM

Is this more clear? Specifically is that a better place to mention the Prohibition? And is it okay to factually call Jonah a fairy-tale boy in the query regardless of whether he truly is one?

Violet believes in fairy tales. Jonah is her proof.

As a child, Violet's sister Sarah indulges her wild imagination, painting worlds through storytelling. One day the fairy-tale boy Violet loves most appears by the railroad tracks behind the farm. Calling himself "Plum" with a cheeky grin, he vanishes when the train passes.

Eight years later, in the heart of the Prohibition, Violet has outgrown most of her childish fantasies. When she returns to her hometown to help mend Sarah's broken heart, however, her belief in fairy tales is refreshed when she runs into the same boy, literally, at the train station. The wild-eyed young man, whose true name is Jonah, is accused of being connected to a string of local crimes — most notably, the murder of the mercantile's owner.

Even if some evidence points to Jonah, many of the accusations are hearsay alone, based on collective prejudice. Violet can't believe the boy from her sister's story is connected to every wrongdoing in town. Determined to prove his innocence, and his legendary origins, Violet makes herself and her family a target of the criminals. Thrust suddenly into the reality Jonah has been trying to escape, Violet must decide whether she will stay with her family, or run away as a fugitive with the boy she has always loved.

VIOLET'S ON THE TRAIN is a YA historical romance complete at 95,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.

I think overall this is more clear :) I would agree with most of Wayfarer's edits. The last paragraph should be tightened some more. I think one of the best ways would be to step back and talk about the stakes of the mystery... "If she can prove his legendary origins, Jonah will be vindicated, but if she fails, the true criminals will hunt her down." (I know those aren't really the stakes of whether or not she can prove his origins, but as an example)


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


#26 VSChapman

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Posted 05 February 2018 - 01:02 PM

Is this more clear? Specifically is that a better place to mention the Prohibition? And is it okay to factually call Jonah a fairy-tale boy in the query regardless of whether he truly is one?

Violet believes in fairy tales. Jonah is her proof.

As a child, Violet's sister Sarah indulges her wild imagination, painting worlds through storytelling. One day the fairy-tale boy Violet loves most appears by the railroad tracks behind the farm. Calling himself "Plum" with a cheeky grin, he vanishes when the train passes.

Eight years later, in the heart of the Prohibition, Violet has outgrown most of her childish fantasies. When she returns to her hometown to help mend Sarah's broken heart, however, her belief in fairy tales is refreshed when she runs into the same boy, literally, at the train station. The wild-eyed young man, whose true name is Jonah, is accused of being connected to a string of local crimes — most notably, the murder of the mercantile's owner.

Even if some evidence points to Jonah, many of the accusations are hearsay alone, based on collective prejudice. Violet can't believe the boy from her sister's story is connected to every wrongdoing in town. Determined to prove his innocence, and his legendary origins, Violet makes herself and her family a target of the criminals. Thrust suddenly into the reality Jonah has been trying to escape, Violet must decide whether she will stay with her family, or run away as a fugitive with the boy she has always loved.

VIOLET'S ON THE TRAIN is a YA historical romance complete at 95,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.

I also like Wayfarer's editing so I won't waste time doing the same. With his edits, I think the first three paragraphs are good to go. The last one- maybe explain the prejudice a little more. Show us a little of why people don't like him. Also, like I said before I think I need a little more feeling of Jonah. This feels one-sided and I need to know he feels something for her as well. Good luck!



#27 Arait

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 12:19 PM

I think I might have it finally (wavers uncertainly between an exclamation point and ellipses followed by a question mark). Oh, also if anybody can think of a comparable story, let me know so I can read it (my reading selection is rather limited to SciFi, treasure hunting, and pirates).

Violet believes in fairy tales. Jonah is her proof.

As a child, Violet's sister Sarah indulges her wild imagination, painting worlds through storytelling. One day the fairy-tale boy Violet loved most appears by the railroad tracks behind the farm. Calling himself "Plum" with a cheeky grin, he vanishes as the train passes.

Eight years later, in the heart of the prohibition, Violet has outgrown most of her childhood fantasies. When she returns to her hometown to help mend Sarah's broken heart, however, her belief in fairy tales is refreshed at the train station. Violet literally runs into the same boy, whose true name is Jonah. Now older and wild-eyed, Jonah has dreamed of her as well.

The only problem: he's accused of being connected to a string of local crimes—most notably, the murder of the mercantile's owner. Even if some evidence points to Jonah, many of the accusations are based on hearsay alone. Violet refuses to believe the boy from her sister's story is connected to every wrongdoing in town. Determined to prove his innocence, and his legendary origins, Violet makes herself and her family a target of the criminals. Jonah would do anything to protect her from the life he has been trying to escape, except leave her behind. If Violet chooses to go with him, it may mean becoming a fugitive for life.

VIOLET'S ON THE TRAIN is a YA historical romance complete at 95,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.

#28 PureZhar3

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 08:18 PM

I think I might have it finally (wavers uncertainly between an exclamation point and ellipses followed by a question mark). Oh, also if anybody can think of a comparable story, let me know so I can read it (my reading selection is rather limited to SciFi, treasure hunting, and pirates).

Violet believes in fairy tales. Jonah is her proof.

As a child, Violet's sister Sarah indulges her wild imagination, painting worlds through storytelling. One day the fairy-tale boy Violet loved most appears by the railroad tracks behind the farm. Calling himself "Plum" with a cheeky grin, he vanishes as the train passes.

Eight years later, in the heart of the prohibition, Violet has outgrown most of her childhood fantasies. When she returns to her hometown to help mend Sarah's broken heart, however, her belief in fairy tales is refreshed at the train station. Violet literally runs into the same boy, whose true name is Jonah. Now older and wild-eyed, Jonah has dreamed of her as well.

The only problem: he's accused of being connected to a string of local crimes—most notably, the murder of the mercantile's owner. Even if some evidence points to Jonah, many of the accusations are based on hearsay alone. Violet refuses to believe the boy from her sister's story is connected to every wrongdoing in town. Determined to prove his innocence, and his legendary origins, Violet makes herself and her family a target of the criminals. Jonah would do anything to protect her from the life he has been trying to escape, except leave her behind. If Violet chooses to go with him, it may mean becoming a fugitive for life.

VIOLET'S ON THE TRAIN is a YA historical romance complete at 95,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

​I really like this! I have nothing to improve. If you can get some new eyes on it, though, they may have a different opinion (fresh eyes often do). Best of luck!


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


#29 yawriter

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 04:25 PM

New revision in #10. Thanks everyone for your help so far.

I have two drafts that I would like to share to see which one is better, what works about them and what doesn't. Thanks everyone for helping.

Violet believes in fairy tales. Jonah is her proof. Personally, I always feel it is important to include their last names. They're just generic names and last names tend to give them more of a meaning. Perhaps even connect someone that much more to a character. ..Personal opinion!

As a child, Violet's sister, Sarah, indulged her wild imagination, painting her world with her storytelling (Perhaps add what kind of storytelling? Twisted? Colorful?). One day by the railroad tracks behind the farm, she met a boy straight out of her favorite story (One of Sarah's stories? Or in general?). Calling himself "Plum" with a cheeky grin, he vanished when the train passed. (I don't seem to care about Plum at all here. You mention him once and he's gone...:( Maybe mention why she loves this story so much? Give us a taste of the story? Perhaps an idea for a hook?)

Eight years later, Violet has grown out of most of her childish fantasies. When she returns to her hometown to help mend Sarah's broken heart, however, her belief in fairy tales (check to see if it is one word or two) is refreshed when she runs into him (who is him? Plum or the guy that broke Sarah's heart?), literally, at the train station. Now a handsome young man, Jonah is accused of being at the center of a string of local crimes. Determined to learn the truth behind his mysteries, Violet soon finds herself involved way beyond what even her far fetched imagination could dream up. So far I feel like it's a little scattered for me to follow. You got fairy tales as the focus in the beginning, than the storytelling, than Sarah's broken heart, than plum and now Jonah? Who's Jonah?

VIOLET'S ON THE TRAIN is a story of young romance budding in the midst of small-town gossip, prohibition-era crime rings, and family tragedy . Set in a time when America was moving from the past into the present one city at a time, Violet challenges gender roles, deeply ingrained prejudices, and her parents' own standards. Many people are against her and Jonah, but along the way they discover their numerous supporters as well: her brother's flapper wife, innocent Sarah, a clumsy bookworm, and even the ex-saloon girl's daughter.

VIOLET'S ON THE TRAIN is a YA historical romance complete at 95,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.

~Or~

Violet believes in fairy tales. Jonah is her proof.

Legends tell of a group of trouble making boys who ride the train to the mountains every spring, never to be seen again. Much better start. At least, that's (Try not to use contractions. It's less professional....that is)what her sister Sarah told her, once. Violet was You used present tense before...and now it is past tense.. positive that was who she saw by the railroad tracks, a wild-eyed boy who vanished as the train passed.

Eight years later, she runs into the same boy at the train station. Now a shifty young man, Jonah is accused of being at the center of a string of local crimes by the authorities, townsfolk, and her family. Determined to prove his innocence, and his legendary origins, Violet makes herself and her family a target of the criminals. Reality proves to be a much greater adventure than what even her far fetched imagination could dream up. This one is the way to go

VIOLET'S ON THE TRAIN, 95,000 words, is a story of young romance budding in a prohibition-era America which was moving from the past into the present one city at a time. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Please check out my query!  I could use your help to make things as short and sweet as yours!

 

http://agentquerycon...a-romance-help/

 

 



#30 Arait

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Posted 10 February 2018 - 01:40 AM   Best Answer

I'm going to leave this another day to give everyone one last chance to mark me up. But as far as I understand, when a thread reaches a fairly decent query, I'm supposed to call it resolved.

So going once, going twice...

#31 VSChapman

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 01:09 PM

I think I might have it finally (wavers uncertainly between an exclamation point and ellipses followed by a question mark). Oh, also if anybody can think of a comparable story, let me know so I can read it (my reading selection is rather limited to SciFi, treasure hunting, and pirates).

Violet believes in fairy tales. Jonah is her proof.

As a child, Violet's sister Sarah indulges her wild imagination, painting worlds through storytelling. One day the fairy-tale boy Violet loved most appears by the railroad tracks behind the farm. Calling himself "Plum" with a cheeky grin, he vanishes as the train passes.

Eight years later, in the heart of the prohibition, Violet has outgrown most of her childhood fantasies. When she returns to her hometown to help mend Sarah's broken heart, however, her belief in fairy tales is refreshed at the train station. Violet literally runs into the same boy, whose true name is Jonah. Now older and wild-eyed, Jonah has dreamed of her as well.

The only problem: he's accused of being connected to a string of local crimes—most notably, the murder of the mercantile's owner. Even if some evidence points to Jonah, many of the accusations are based on hearsay alone. Violet refuses to believe the boy from her sister's story is connected to every wrongdoing in town. Determined to prove his innocence, and his legendary origins, Violet makes herself and her family a target of the criminals. Jonah would do anything to protect her from the life he has been trying to escape, except leave her behind. If Violet chooses to go with him, it may mean becoming a fugitive for life.

VIOLET'S ON THE TRAIN is a YA historical romance complete at 95,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.

I think it's great! I wouldn't change anything. Good luck! 






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