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THE WINGS OF EARTHBOUND THINGS - YA Fantasy


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#1 Nikita

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 03:59 PM

Hi! I've been working on this query for awhile now, and am hoping it's starting to resemble something coherent. Any comments/critiques would be appreciated!
 
 
 
Dear Agent,
 
(Personalized intro)
 
Expectations and an overbearing older sister are the bane of sixteen-year-old Mari’s existence. She’s mature enough to find her own way in life, thank you very much. But that confidence is severely undermined when she happens upon the scene of an accident and makes a split-second decision to save six lives – at the expense of two others – and ends up accused of murder. After fleeing to the muddy, outlaw-infested stretch of coastline known as the Marsh Belt, she’s plagued with doubt over her decision. It certainly doesn’t help that the circumstances surrounding the accident are nebulous at best. The only thing which might give her some peace is digging into what happened, and finding the facts to justify her actions. It’s that, or die trying.
 
Mari’s sister, seventeen-year-old Elowis, is determined to secure her a pardon. Sure, El will have to give up her own comfortably predictable life to join Mari in the Marsh Belt as a spy for the Queen’s guard, but nothing’s more important than family. Trouble is, Mari doesn’t seem to want a pardon. And the longer she’s there, the more reckless she becomes.  El resolves to do whatever it takes to get Mari out of the Marsh Belt – even if it means playing fast and loose with her own moral convictions – because if she doesn’t, she might just lose her sister completely.
 
Told in duel point of view, THE WINGS OF EARTHBOUND THINGS is a YA fantasy set in a world without magic. It is complete at 75,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.


#2 PureZhar3

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 05:11 PM

 

Hi! I've been working on this query for awhile now, and am hoping it's starting to resemble something coherent. Any comments/critiques would be appreciated!
 
 
 
Dear Agent,
 
(Personalized intro)
 
Expectations and an overbearing older sister are the bane of sixteen-year-old Mari’s existence. She’s mature enough to find her own way in life, thank you very much ​Be careful slipping into a narrator's voice too quickly. But that confidence is severely undermined when she happens upon the scene of an accident ​what accident? and makes a split-second decision to save six lives – at the expense of two others – and ends up accused of murder. After fleeing to the muddy, outlaw-infested stretch of coastline known as the Marsh Belt, she’s plagued with doubt over her decision. It certainly doesn’t help that the circumstances surrounding the accident are nebulous at best ​why is it nebulous?. The only thing which might give her some peace ​is her internal peace the only thing at stake her? If you mean, get people to stop trying to arrest her, say that clearly is digging into what happened, and finding the facts to justify her actions. It’s that, or die trying. ​I haven't read your book, but this feels like a strong, turn-off exaggeration. Yes, a lot is at stake, but she has a lot of options besides dying
 
Mari’s sister, seventeen-year-old Elowis, is determined to secure her a pardon. Sure, El will have to give up her own comfortably predictable life to join Mari in the Marsh Belt as a spy for the Queen’s guard ​what? this is the first indication I get that this is set in a fantasy/not contemporary or Earth world, but nothing’s more important than family. Trouble is, Mari doesn’t seem to want a pardon. ​I thought she was going to die trying to find the answers? And the longer she’s there, the more reckless she ​Mari? becomes.  El resolves to do whatever it takes to get Mari out of the Marsh Belt – even if it means playing fast and loose with her own moral convictions – because if she doesn’t, she might just lose her sister completely. ​interesting...
 
Told in duel point of view, THE WINGS OF EARTHBOUND THINGS is a YA fantasy set in a world without magic ​this is intriguing but also really confusing. It is complete at 75,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

​So, overall this sounds interesting, but you need to be more specific. First of all, I'm having a really really hard time understanding what kind of world this is. And second, you need to delve more into the specifics of the plot a bit. This is often just a matter of replacing vague nouns (accident) with specific ones (fire). And then answering the questions that being specific introduces (because suddenly everyone is asking new questions - who started the fire? How did she save them? etc.) Good luck!


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


#3 TeaTime

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 10:26 PM

 

Dear Agent,
 
(Personalized intro)
 
Expectations and an overbearing older sister are the bane of sixteen-year-old Mari’s existence. She’s mature enough to find her own way in life, "thank you very much" (Yeah, this feels just a tad too much). But that confidence is severely undermined when she happens upon the scene of an accident and makes a split-second decision to save six lives – at the expense of two others (Interesting post-decision dilemma) – and ends up accused of murder. After fleeing to the muddy, outlaw-infested stretch of coastline known as the Marsh Belt (Since this is a Fantasy book, I think you need to introduce this world/setting sooner. Because so far all of this can easily be assumed into a normal world story/setting), she’s plagued with doubt over her decision. It certainly doesn’t help that the circumstances surrounding the accident are nebulous at best (Unfortunately, the details of this accident in this query are too nebulous--if there's anything unusual about it, or especially suspicious, those should come out in the query). The only thing which might give her some peace is digging into what happened, and finding the facts to justify her actions. It’s that, or die trying. (What is life-threatening for her? Is it the authorities that are near the scene of the accident that she feels compelled to investigate?)
 
Mari’s sister, seventeen-year-old (Might just say older? Or re-introduce her as the overbearing older sister?) Elowis, is determined to secure her a pardon. Sure, El will have to give up her own comfortably predictable life to join Mari in the Marsh Belt as a spy for the Queen’s guard, but nothing’s more important than family (Maybe instead of a common platitude, make it more personal to El--she's overbearing, but family is everything to her? Or something like that?). Trouble is, Mari doesn’t seem to want a pardon (Maybe clarify that a pardon means she accepts the murder/manslaughter charge, but doesn't get punished for it?). And the longer she’s there, the more reckless she becomes.  El resolves to do whatever it takes to get Mari out of the Marsh Belt – even if it means playing fast and loose with her own moral convictions – because if she doesn’t, she might just lose her sister completely.
 
Told in duel point of view, THE WINGS OF EARTHBOUND THINGS is a YA fantasy set in a world without magic. It is complete at 75,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

I agree with PureZhar3 that the reader of this query needs to be grounded in exactly what kind of world this is much sooner. Other than that, I think it's just a matter of clarifying the query's conflicts (especially at least a smidge more about the accident). Good luck  :smile:



#4 Laurie E. Smith

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 08:46 AM



 

Hi! I've been working on this query for awhile now, and am hoping it's starting to resemble something coherent. Any comments/critiques would be appreciated!
 
 
 
Dear Agent,
 
(Personalized intro)
 
Expectations and an overbearing older sister are the bane of sixteen-year-old Mari’s existence. [This is a very general statement -- WHAT expectations? HOW is her sister overbearing? And there's no "hook" here to grab the reader's attention.] She’s mature enough to find her own way in life, thank you very much. [I actually like the hint of character voice in this sentence, but again, it's very general and not intriguing.] But that confidence is severely undermined when she happens upon the scene of an accident and makes a split-second decision to save six lives – at the expense of two others – and ends up accused of murder. After fleeing to the muddy, outlaw-infested stretch of coastline known as the Marsh Belt, she’s plagued with doubt over her decision. It certainly doesn’t help that the circumstances surrounding the accident are nebulous at best. The only thing which might give her some peace is digging into what happened, and finding the facts to justify her actions. It’s that, or die trying. [Why "die trying'? Is she being threatened by somebody? I'd be much more interested in hearing about that, instead of all the stuff I've struck out. :) ]
 
Mari’s sister, seventeen-year-old Elowis, is determined to secure her a pardon. Sure, El will have to give up her own comfortably predictable life to join Mari in the Marsh Belt as a spy for the Queen’s guard, but nothing’s more important than family. Trouble is, Mari doesn’t seem to want a pardon. And the longer she’s there, the more reckless she becomes.  El resolves to do whatever it takes to get Mari out of the Marsh Belt – even if it means playing fast and loose with her own moral convictions – because if she doesn’t, she might just lose her sister completely. [Now I REALLY want to hear more about this threat, that's where the emotional tension would lie in my opinion. You could possibly summarize something like this "Sixteen-year-old Mari endures the usual annoyances of a teenager's life -- adult expectations, an overbearing older sisteer -- until a traffic accident turns her world upside-down. In order to save six people, she must sacrifice two others. She winds up accused of murder, and must flee to the outlaw-infested Marsh Belt to escape arrest. She can't escape her doubts, however, nor the conviction that there was more to the accident than meets the eye. With the help of her sister Elowis, who is determined to secure a pardon for Mari, she plunges into the mystery and faces [THE BIG THREAT, EXPLAINED]." :) ]
 
Told in duel point of view, THE WINGS OF EARTHBOUND THINGS is a YA fantasy set in a world without magic. It is complete at 75,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

I think you have some cool ideas here, the query just needs some clarification and punching up. Keep at it! And best of luck to you. :)



#5 ajvan

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 01:32 PM

Hi Nikita, congrats on finishing your ms!

 

 
 
Dear Agent,
 
(Personalized intro)
 
Expectations and an overbearing older sister are the bane of sixteen-year-old Mari’s existence. Whose expectations? Inquiring minds want to know. She’s mature enough to find her own way in life, thank you very much. But that confidence is severely undermined (crushed? destroyed? crippled?) when she happens upon the scene of an accident and makes a split-second decision to save six lives – at the expense of two others – and ends up accused of murder. Can you make that sentence more succinct and specific? "saves six people from a burning car at the expense of two others..." After fleeing to the muddy, (Marsh Belt implies this) outlaw-infested stretch of coastline known as the Marsh Belt, she’s plagued with doubt over her decision. (Or maybe something worse. Nightmares? Crippling self-doubt? Mere doubt doesn't seem enough.) It certainly doesn’t help that the circumstances surrounding the accident are nebulous at best. The only thing which might give her some peace is digging into what happened, and finding the facts to justify her actions. It’s that, or die trying. Try and make this less vague and more specific. It seems like an important catalyst, but as readers, we still have no idea what actually happened. 
 
Mari’s sister, seventeen-year-old Elowis, (Is this the overbearing one? Since we don't know her name from above, you might just want to say "older sister.") is determined to secure her a pardon. Uh oh...didn't realize she needed a pardon. Did she break laws then? Sure, El will have to give up her own comfortably predictable life to join Mari in the Marsh Belt as a spy for the Queen’s guard, but nothing’s more important than family. Not really following the Queen's guard part. Also, it seems like you just switched POV to the older sister. Trouble is, Mari doesn’t seem to want a pardon. And the longer she’s there, the more reckless she becomes.  El resolves to do whatever it takes to get Mari out of the Marsh Belt – even if it means playing fast and loose with her own moral convictions – because if she doesn’t, she might just lose her sister completely. Is this a dual POV novel then? Aha, it is! You might want to consider putting the genre and info up front. Either that or add some kind of verbal cue that the perspective is changing halfway through the query. 
 
Told in duel (dual, unless there's a lot of sword and pistol-fighting :) point of view, THE WINGS OF EARTHBOUND THINGS is a YA fantasy set in a world without magic. It is complete at 75,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

I've got a query up as well if you'd like to return the favor.



#6 TheBest

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 03:58 PM

Dear Agent,

 
(Personalized intro)
 
Expectations (Might be best to elaborate on this) and an overbearing older sister are the bane of sixteen-year-old Mari’s existence. She’s mature enough to find her own way in life, thank you very much. But that confidence is severely undermined (Wrong word. Maybe "obliterated" or "destroyed.") when she happens upon the scene of an accident and makes a split-second decision to save six lives – at the expense of two others – and ends up accused of murder. (Great voice.) After fleeing to the muddy, outlaw-infested stretch of coastline known as the Marsh Belt, she’s plagued with doubt over her decision. It certainly doesn’t help that the circumstances surrounding the accident are nebulous murky/muddy at best. The only thing which might give her some peace is digging into what happened, and finding the facts to justify her actions. It’s that, or die trying. (Too long, cut this paragraph down.)
 
Mari’s sister, seventeen-year-old Elowis, is determined to secure her a pardon. Sure, El will have to give up her own comfortably predictable life to join Mari in the Marsh Belt as a spy for the Queen’s guard, but nothing’s more important than family. Trouble is, Mari doesn’t seem to want a pardon. (This is really, really interesting) And the longer she’s there, the more reckless she becomes.  El resolves to do whatever it takes to get Mari out of the Marsh Belt – even if it means playing fast and loose with her own moral convictions – because if she doesn’t, she might just lose her sister completely. (Great!)
 
Told in duel point of view, THE WINGS OF EARTHBOUND THINGS is a YA fantasy set in a world without magic. It is complete at 75,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.
 
This is a really interesting story. I think your query would benefit from being split up, especially in the first paragraph. Have 3 strong, mid sized paragraphs instead of 2 longs ones. Plus, some of your word choices aren't extreme enough. Lastly, it might be best to elaborate on some of the "expectations" in the opening sentence, as agents love specifics. Good luck!


#7 Nikita

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 09:58 PM

Thanks all! You've given me some great specifics to help improve this, and I appreciate the help!



#8 Laurie E. Smith

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Posted 09 February 2018 - 08:17 AM

Thanks all! You've given me some great specifics to help improve this, and I appreciate the help!

You're very welcome! :) Will you be posting a revised query letter? I look forward to seeing the improvements!



#9 Nikita

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Posted 10 February 2018 - 04:21 PM

You're very welcome! :) Will you be posting a revised query letter? I look forward to seeing the improvements!

I tend to take awhile with revisions just to let ideas percolate, but I do plan to post an updated query eventually! It just might be a little while...






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