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The Hummingbird Project (YA thriller)


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#1 donnayberry

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 01:14 PM

**Edited version below**

 

“If I can’t die, how am I human?”

 

For most of her life, this is the question eighteen-year-old has struggled with. All she ever wanted was a normal life with a normal family, but inheriting the family curse, made her dream near impossible. It’s not every girl who can say her father is the Roman Centurion cursed by Jesus to live for eternity.

 

Sent away by her father when she was days old, Noa grows up in a convent, hidden from society, until one day, her father is kidnapped and brutally beaten, throwing Noa into an international conspiracy, hunted by a terror group that threatens to bring down the Catholic Church her father has sworn to protect.

 

Torn between her duty and the love and connection she desperately craves, Noa struggles with defending the Church by her father’s side, unsure of her place in the world, until…Henry (a British Jason Bourne with a sense of humor).

 

But falling in love with Henry brings the insoluble dilemma of what she will do with her life into sharp focus.  Will she do what her father has done for centuries or blaze her own path? But before she can know if she even has a choice in her fate, Noa must unwind centuries of corruption and lies and come face-to-face with an enemy she owes her life to.

 

This Own Voices story features a biracial character in an interracial relationship and will appeal to fans of The All Souls Trilogy and the Beautiful Creatures novels.  It’s a Da Vinci Code meets Romeo and Juliet adventure featuring troubled families and twisted fates that takes the reader from the jungles of New Guinea to the catacombs of Paris. With its steamy passion, legendary curse, and a nerdy focus on history, The Hummingbird Project (92,000-word YA contemporary thriller), is just the type of genre-bending novel I think will have wide commercial appeal.

 

I am a reluctant lawyer, currently working as a designer, who moonlights as a writer. I recently completed the “Your Novel Year” creative writing program at ASU and was fortunate to have Bill Konigsberg, Barry Lyga, and Martha Brockenbrough as my editors/mentors.



#2 Laurie E. Smith

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 01:37 PM

I'm going to play hardball here, so be warned. :)

 

I am seeking representation for my 92,000-word YA contemporary thriller, The Hummingbird Project. (This information goes at the end. You can leave out "I am seeking representation for" because that's assumed -- this is, after all, a query letter. You should also mention if it's a stand-alone work or has sequel or series potential.)

 

Born into an impossible (too vague: what's so impossible about it? why?) birthright, eighteen-year-old Noa is legacy to a curse inflicted on her father centuries ago when he was a Roman Centurion. (And he's still alive? How? Why? What was the curse? WHY was he cursed?) Plucked from a relatively happy existence living in a convent in California, Noa is thrown into an international conspiracy, hunted by a terror group that threatens everything she knows (again, too vague) and the Church her father has sworn to protect. (I'm guessing you mean the Roman Catholic church, but you should specify.)

 

Torn between the family curse that keeps her hidden from society and the love and connection she desperately craves, Noa struggles with the path her father has chosen for her, unsure of her place in the world and even questioning her humanity, until…Henry (a British Jason Bourne with a sense of humor). (Paranthetical phrases are not a great idea in a query letter. Also, I'm not getting any real sense of emotional stakes here. Vague, vague, vague.)

 

But falling in love with Henry brings the insoluble dilemma of what she will do with her life into sharp focus.  Will she defend the Church alongside her father or choose her own path? (Again, I'm not getting any emotional connection here. WHY does she fall in love with Henry? Is it dangerous to her, or to him? What's the problem she must unravel? What are teh stakes if she doesn't follow her father's path?) Before she can know if she even has a choice in her fate, Noa must unwind centuries of corruption and lies and come face-to-face with an enemy she owes her life to. (Don't end with "to". Rephrase to "to whom she owes her life". And again -- I want to know more. This is all very general, no sense of tension (at least, not for me).)

 

This Own Voices story features a biracial character in an interracial relationship and will appeal to fans of The All Souls Trilogy and the Beautiful Creatures novels. (Good infornation to include, definitely!) It’s a Da Vinci Code meets Romeo and Juliet adventure (add a comma) featuring troubled families and twisted fates that takes the reader from the jungles of New Guinea to the catacombs of Paris. (This sentence is intriguing but, arguably, too long. Perhaps break it up?) With its steamy passion, legendary curse, and a nerdy focus on history, The Hummingbird Project, is just the type of genre-bending novel I think will have wide commercial appeal. (This claim comes off as too presumptuous. You're not the one to make that determination: the agent or the editor is, based on what's come before in the body of the query. Also, if at all possible pick a genre for the purposes of your query. Your agent or editor can always change that later.)

 

I am a reluctant lawyer, currently working as a designer, who moonlights as a writer.  ("Reluctant" is a very negative word. None of this info is necessary in a query.) I recently completed the “Your Novel Year” creative writing program at ASU and was fortunate to have Bill Konigsberg, Barry Lyga, and Martha Brockenbrough as my editors/mentors. (Now THIS info IS good to include: it speaks to your credentials as a writer.)

 

Hope to hear from you, (NEVER come off as begging. "Thank you for your time and consideration" is much more neutral and conventional.)

 

Donna Berry

 

Please don't be discouraged by all that red up there. Most people don't get the first try (or the fifteenth, or the thirtieth) right. Keep working on it, and good luck! :)



#3 Arait

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 04:36 PM

How was her father cursed hundreds of years ago and she's only 18? Does the curse also make you live forever or age slowly? And if she has a father, that means he fell in love with a girl one time, so what is forbidden about her falling in love with Henry?

#4 Springfield

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 04:45 PM

I am seeking representation for my 92,000-word YA contemporary thriller, The Hummingbird Project.

 

Born into an impossible birthright, eighteen-year-old Noa is legacy to a curse inflicted on her father centuries ago when he was a Roman Centurion. Ok, which is? Plucked from a relatively happy existence living in a convent in California, Back up, she lives in a convent? She's a novitiate? Noa is thrown into an international conspiracy, hunted by a terror group that threatens everything she knows and the Church her father has sworn to protect. This is way too vague.

 

Torn between the family curse that keeps her hidden from society and the love and connection she desperately craves, Noa struggles with the path her father has chosen for her,The Yellow Brick Road? Gangster Rap? unsure of her place in the world and even questioning her humanity, until…Henry (a British Jason Bourne with a sense of humor).

 

But falling in love with Henry brings the insoluble dilemma of what she will do with her life into sharp focus.  Will she defend the Church alongside her father or choose her own path? Before she can know if she even has a choice in her fate, Noa must unwind centuries of corruption and lies and come face-to-face with an enemy she owes her life to. I have no clue what's going on.

 

This Own Voices story features a biracial character in an interracial relationship and will appeal to fans of The All Souls Trilogy and the Beautiful Creatures novels.  It’s a Da Vinci Code meets Romeo and Juliet adventure featuring troubled families and twisted fates that takes the reader from the jungles of New Guinea to the catacombs of Paris. With its steamy passion, legendary curse, and a nerdy focus on history, The Hummingbird Project, is just the type of genre-bending novel I think will have wide commercial appeal.

 

I am a reluctant lawyer, currently working as a designer, who moonlights as a writer. I recently completed the “Your Novel Year” creative writing program at ASU and was fortunate to have Bill Konigsberg, Barry Lyga, and Martha Brockenbrough as my editors/mentors.

 

Hope to hear from you,

 

Donna Berry

 

I don't understand the plot, her problem, the stakes... also, if the racial aspect is relevant to the plot, it should be in the query.



#5 PureZhar3

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 05:23 PM

Others have adequately noted the problems with this; I stand behind them. I was able to follow the first two paragraphs decently well, and after I was struggling. I'll check back for a revised version and critique that more thoroughly.


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


#6 donnayberry

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 06:42 PM

Thanks guys. I've edited the query per your requests. Let me know what you think:)



#7 PureZhar3

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 04:55 PM

**Edited version below**

 

“If I can’t die, how am I human?”  ​this seems to be both a quote and a question, both "no"s for hooks these days, I'm afraid. That said, I kind of like it. Maybe try to rewrite it as a statement?

 

For most of her life, this is the question eighteen-year-old ​name? has struggled with. All she ever wanted was a normal life with a normal family, but inheriting the family curse,​no comma. be more specific than family curse made her dream near impossible. It’s not every girl who can say her father is the Roman Centurion cursed by Jesus to live for eternity. ​interesting. But this almost makes it sounds as if it's a good thing. Maybe try to connect the character focus of the second and third sentences more

 

Sent away by her father when she was days old, Noa grows up in a convent, hidden from society, until one day, her father is kidnapped and brutally beaten, throwing Noa into an international conspiracy, hunted by a terror group that threatens to bring down the Catholic Church her father has sworn to protect. ​this is one long, confusing sentence. A lot of it is disconnected too - why does her father (does she know who he is) throw her into an international conspiracy? I'm just a little confused

 

Torn between her duty and the love and connection ​too many "ands" - choose one or format it better she desperately craves, Noa struggles with defending the Church by her father’s side, unsure of her place in the world, until…Henry (a British Jason Bourne with a sense of humor). ​no parentheses

 

But falling in love with Henry brings the insoluble dilemma of what she will do with her life into sharp focus.  Will she do what her father has done for centuries or blaze her own path? But before she can know if she even has a choice in her fate, Noa must unwind centuries of corruption and lies and come face-to-face with an enemy she owes her life to.

 

This Own Voices story features a biracial character in an interracial relationship and will appeal to fans of The All Souls Trilogy and the Beautiful Creatures novels.  It’s a Da Vinci Code meets Romeo and Juliet adventure featuring troubled families and twisted fates that takes the reader from the jungles of New Guinea to the catacombs of Paris. With its steamy passion, legendary curse, and a nerdy focus on history, The Hummingbird Project (92,000-word YA contemporary thriller), is just the type of genre-bending novel I think will have wide commercial appeal.

 

I am a reluctant lawyer, currently working as a designer, who moonlights as a writer. I recently completed the “Your Novel Year” creative writing program at ASU and was fortunate to have Bill Konigsberg, Barry Lyga, and Martha Brockenbrough as my editors/mentors.

​I'm not sure what is going on. You have all the same problems as before, too. You may consider looking more into writing queries - there are lots of great sources on the Internet, such as "queryshark" and others. Keep it up!


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


#8 Maddie978

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 08:02 PM

**Edited version below**

 

“If I can’t die, how am I human?” ​I'm not sure about this. It's interesting, but it's a little too close to a rhetorical question for my taste. If you can find a different way to say the same thing, it would be a great hook. 

 

For most of her life, this is the question eighteen-year-old (name?) has struggled with. All she ever wanted was a normal life with a normal family, but inheriting the family curse (no comma) made makes her dream near impossible. It’s not every girl who can say her father is the Roman Centurion (should centurion be capitalized? Doesn't it mean captain? Also, referring to him as "the" makes me think there is only one of him, but try as I might, I cannot recall a Roman centurion being cursed by Jesus in the Bible) cursed by Jesus to live for eternity. 

 

Is that the family curse? Living forever? It's not clear, but it seems like an important plot point. 

 

Sent away by her father when she was days old (why?), Noa grows grew up in a convent, hidden from society, until one day, her father is kidnapped and brutally beaten, throwing Noa into an international conspiracy, hunted by a terror (do you mean terrorist?) group that threatens to bring down the Catholic Church her father has sworn to protect. (why would her father protect the Church when he was cursed by Jesus??)

 

Wow, that was all one sentence. Please cut that down. Too much information packed in there. 

Also, I get that your father being kidnapped can be a big deal, but I'm not sure a) how she knows that if she's hidden from society, and b) why it involves her if no one knows about her.

 

Torn between her duty (which is?) and the love and connection she desperately craves (from who? why?), Noa struggles with defending the Church by her father’s side (I thought he was kidnapped), unsure of her place in the world, until…Henry (a British Jason Bourne with a sense of humor). (Big no no. You cannot have dot dot dot and then a name. That's just lazy. And then describing him in brackets in a fragment? No, no, no. 

 

I'm confused about what's happened. Are we backtracking now? First her father was kidnapped, now she's fighting with him against who-knows-what, suddenly there is a guy too?

 

But falling in love with Henry brings the insoluble dilemma (dilemmas are usually insoluble or at least difficult to solve. Redundant) of what she will do with her life into sharp focus (Awkward phrasing).  Will she do what her father has done for centuries (still not sure exactly what he does) or blaze her own path? But before she can know if she even has a choice in her fate (she doesn't know that? Then why is she so preoccupied with it?), Noa must unwind centuries of corruption and lies and come face-to-face with an enemy she owes her life to. (huh??)

 

This Own Voices story features a biracial character in an interracial relationship and will appeal to fans of The All Souls Trilogy and the Beautiful Creatures novels.  It’s a Da Vinci Code meets Romeo and Juliet adventure featuring troubled families and twisted fates that takes the reader from the jungles of New Guinea to the catacombs of Paris. With its steamy passion, legendary curse, and a nerdy focus on history, The Hummingbird Project (92,000-word YA contemporary thriller), is just the type of genre-bending novel I think will have wide commercial appeal. 

 

Don't hype your own novel too much. Sounding a little cocky there. It's up to the agents to decide if it will have wide commercial appeal. I'm also not sure this is the right genre. It's definitely YA but contemporary thriller? Doesn't sound right.

 

I am a reluctant lawyer, currently working as a designer, who moonlights as a writer. I recently completed the “Your Novel Year” creative writing program at ASU and was fortunate to have Bill Konigsberg, Barry Lyga, and Martha Brockenbrough as my editors/mentors.

 

Well, there's a lot to do here. I'm very confused about what is happening and what Noa wants. I also don't get a sense of her voice AT ALL. That's something agents and publishers want to stand out. Keep revising and editing!

 

Good luck!

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

 

 

http://agentquerycon...cience-fiction/


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

 

 

http://agentquerycon...cience-fiction/





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