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Hidden (YA Fantasy/Romance)


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#1 mylaurel

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 06:16 PM

A new Draft was posted below - #17

I'm just starting to query, so I would really appreciate some other eyes looking at this. Thanks for any suggestions!



Dear Agent,

(I would add a personalized intro/greeting depending on the agent)

Evie worked with her father as a mask maker on the island nation of Venetia, where masks are worn everyday as a sign of both rank and identity, and brands are used to mark criminals. At least, she did until the Chameleon, a bandit who steals masks and the identities of their owners, destroyed everything and brands her with his own criminal mark.

Evie is forced into hiding as a servant in the royal palace where she bides her time until she can find both a new identity and a way to exact revenge. However, the kitchen mistress seems to delight in making Evie’s life difficult, and the independent girl struggles to curb her naturally fiery personality in order to remain undetected by the Chameleon. Not to mention her mysterious and handsome friend Aiden, who proves to be as much trouble as help with secrets of his own.

Hidden is a a 60,000 word YA Fantasy/Romance, stand-alone novel, but I would like to make it the first of a trilogy. Readers of fairy tale re-tellings such as Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix or Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George should enjoy this novel, as it spins the tale of Cinderella in a new and exciting way.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

#2 Late Bloomer

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 06:31 PM

I'm just starting to query, so I would really appreciate some other eyes looking at this. Thanks for any suggestions!



Dear Agent,

(I would add a personalized intro/greeting depending on the agent)

(This sounds more like a first paragraph of the synopsis with the hook totally missing). Evie worked with her father as a mask maker on the island nation of Venetia, where masks are worn everyday as a sign of both rank and identity, and brands are used to mark criminals. At least, she did until the Chameleon, a bandit who steals masks and the identities of their owners, destroyed everything and brands her with his own criminal mark.

Evie is forced into hiding as a servant in the royal palace where she bides her time until she can find both a new identity and a way to exact revenge. However, the kitchen mistress seems to delight in making Evie’s life difficult, and the independent girl struggles to curb her naturally fiery personality in order to remain undetected by the Chameleon. Not to mention her mysterious and handsome friend Aiden, who proves to be as much trouble as help with secrets of his own.

Hidden is a a 60,000 word YA Fantasy/Romance and is available for review. , stand-alone novel, but I would like to make it the first of a trilogy. Readers of fairy tale re-tellings such as Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix or Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George should enjoy this novel, as it spins the tale of Cinderella in a new and exciting way. (I would take all of this and work it in the beginning).

Thank you for your time and consideration.



Great start!

#3 the transylvanian

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 08:08 PM

Hi mylaurel! I agree with Late Bloomer, you have a good start but I would advice to elaborate some more, disclose more details and spice up a hook. Once you have a pool to choose from, upon advise from others I am certain you will end up with a great query. It is quite a lovely story.

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#4 JohnS

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 05:43 AM

Evie worked with her father as a mask maker on the island nation of Venetia, where masks are worn everyday as a sign of both rank and identity...

Sounds like a great story! I liked your query but felt it needed a bit more substance to pull me in. I found myself wondering, for example, why the Chameleon picked on Evie & how that conflict is worked into the story (you hint at something with "remain undetected...")and about Evie's "revenge" and how that is worked. I also wonder where the "Romance" is that you've categorized this story under. I guess it is the "handsome friend Aiden" but you don't go anywhere beyond this mention.

#5 Cat Woods

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 07:39 AM

Nice start and great premise. I'm intrigued and would flip to the front pages to see what's going on. However, I had already decided to read your entire query. An agent/editor will read only as far as they remmain intrigued.

Pop in a good hook right up front. Show us a taste of the story in the voice of your novel in the first sentence or two. If you can do that, as well as tighten and tweak the minisynopsis you'll be well on your way to a great query.

My one question was that since the Chameleon had branded her as a criminal, wouldn't she be easy to find? Is she hiding under a diffent mask? Can't people just pop their masks off and on?

I love the idea behind this and can't wait to see where you take it!

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#6 PlumPudding

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 01:33 PM

Hey there!

I think starting off a query with backstory is generally not a good idea. The first lines of your query has to snag that agent into the immediate plot, not what happened before the plot. The mask idea is absolutely fantastic--maybe you could start off the query with Chameleon branding Evie with the criminal mask? It explains a little bit about the masks but with more immediacy. And unless the fact that Evie worked with her father to create masks is absolutely vital to understanding the plot, I'm not sure you need it in the query.

And further in the query, I think you introduce too many characters at once. It's a little dizzying. And you don't want to tell the whole story in the query, just the beginning where the plot takes off.

Anyways, you have a good start and the story seems to be something I'd definitely, DEFINITELY read. :) I wish you all the best!!

#7 mylaurel

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 04:59 AM

Thanks for the advice, I'll post a revision with your ideas in mind.

#8 Joel Q

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 02:29 PM

Evie worked with her father as a mask maker on the island nation of Venetia, where masks are worn everyday as a sign of both rank and identity, and brands are used to mark criminals.(That phrase seems tossed in there just for info, but it doesn't flow with the rest of the sentence. At least, she did (that doesn't work for me because there is so much info between that phrase and "Evie worked..." until the Chameleon, a bandit who steals masks and the identities of their owners, destroyed everything (meaning what?, the nation, the masks???) and brands her with his own criminal mark.

Evie is forced(by who?) into hiding as a servant in the royal palace where she bides her time until she can find both a new identity and a way to exact revenge. However, the kitchen mistress seems to delight in making Evie’s life difficult, and the independent girl struggles to curb her naturally fiery personality in order to remain undetected by the Chameleon (why, is the Chameleon in the palace?). Not to mention (poor phrasing. )her mysterious and handsome friend Aiden, who proves to be as much trouble as help with secrets of his own.(sentence structure doesn't work well.

Hidden is a a 60,000 word YA Fantasy/Romance, (what's fantasy about this story?) stand-alone novel, but I would like to make it the first of a trilogy. Readers of fairy tale re-tellings such as Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix or Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George should enjoy this novel, as it spins the tale of Cinderella in a new and exciting way.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Need extra help, check out my editing services on my blog.

#9 bkeats

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 10:01 AM

You've got some great suggestions already, laurel, so I'll hold off on a line-by-line until your next revision. I will say that it sounds like a great story (like the mask concept!).


Happy Writing :smile:

#10 mylaurel

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 08:51 PM

Here's the second try. The first one did get me a request for chapters (which I'm still waiting on), so I didn't want to change too much.


Dear Agent,

Evie is a mask maker on the island nation of Venetia, where masks are worn everyday as a sign of both rank and identity, and going barefaced is scandalous, or the mark of the desolate or foreign. When a bandit called the Chameleon attacks, he not only steals her mask, destroys her home, and kills her father, but also brands her with his own criminal mark that would incriminate her for his wrong-doings.

Rejected by those she thought she could trust, Evie is forced into hiding as a servant in the royal palace where she bides her time until she can find both a new identity and a way to exact revenge. However, the independent girl struggles to curb her naturally fiery personality in order to remain undetected. Time after time, she finds herself with extra chores, unable to search for the Chameleon. Meanwhile, her mysterious and handsome friend Aiden proves to be as much trouble as help with secrets of his own.

Hidden is a 60,000 word YA Fantasy/Romance and a complete manuscript is available upon request. Readers of fairy tale re-tellings such as Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix or Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George should enjoy this novel, as it takes a new spin on the classic tale of Cinderella.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

#11 Moonshade

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 09:31 PM

Dear Agent,

Evie is a mask maker on the island nation of Venetia, where masks are worn everyday as a sign of both rank and identity, and going barefaced is scandalous, or the mark of the desolate or foreign. When a bandit called the Chameleon attacks, he not only steals her mask, destroys her home, and kills her father, but also brands her with his own criminal mark that would incriminate her for his wrong-doings. Interesting.

Rejected by those she thought she could trust, Evie is forced into hiding as a servant in the royal palace where she bides her time until she can find both a new identity and a way to exact revenge. However, the independent girl struggles to curb her naturally fiery personality in order to remain undetected. Here I'd suggest giving some examples of what she does. Time after time, she finds herself with extra chores, unable to search for the Chameleon. Meanwhile, her mysterious and handsome friend Aiden proves to be as much trouble as help with secrets of his own. This sentence is clunky. It sounds like the help has secrets, not Aiden himself.

Hidden is a 60,000 word YA Fantasy/Romance and a complete manuscript is available upon request. Readers of fairy tale re-tellings such as Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix or Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George should enjoy this novel, as it takes a new spin on the classic tale of Cinderella.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

The story reminds me so much of the tale of the Donkey Skin, as well as The Moon Moth, by Jack Vance. Which is awesome, because it's a remarkable story.

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#12 mylaurel

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 01:31 AM

The story reminds me so much of the tale of the Donkey Skin, as well as The Moon Moth, by Jack Vance. Which is awesome, because it's a remarkable story.


I haven't heard of either of those, but I'll have to look them up. Thanks for the advice :)

#13 Stefanzo

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 04:44 AM

Sounds like a cool book!

Yeah, I think you really need to start with a hook that's the crux of the novel, then in the second para start the settings etc.
Something like:
"When the Chameleon destroys Evie's home and kills her father, he not only steals her identity, but also brands her with his own criminal mark that would incriminate her for his wrong-doings."

"the independent girl struggles to curb her naturally fiery personality in order to remain undetected" could be shown not told. Show us an example of this happening rather than telling it.

"mysterious and handsome" sounds a bit cliche.

put the title, HIDDEN in caps, not itelex. (only found that out myself yesterday!) (Apparantly the characters names are in caps in the synopsis(only). Anyone know if its just the first time the character's name turns up in the synopsis, or all of them?)

#14 bkeats

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 10:24 AM

Off of Version 2. I've incorporated some of Stefanzo's top-notch ideas.

Dear Agent,

Evie is a mask maker on the island nation of Venetia, where masks are worn everyday as a sign of both rank and identity. Going barefaced is scandalous, or the mark of the desolate or foreign-born. (Breaking up an over-long sentence) When a bandit called the Chameleon attacks, he not only steals her Evie's mask, destroys her home, and kills her father, but also brands her with his own criminal mark that would incriminates her for his wrong-doings. (Hmm. Interesting, but I'm a little vague how this actually works. Is this a mark on Evie's face now? Does the Chameolon himself wear a mask?)

Rejected by those she thought she could trust, Evie is forced into hiding as a servant in the royal palace where she bides her time until she can find both a new identity and a way to exact revenge. However, The independent girl Evie struggles to curb her naturally fiery personality in order to remain undetected. Time after time, she finds herself saddled with extra chores, unable to search for the Chameleon. Meanwhile, her mysterious and handsome friend Aiden proves to be as much trouble as help, with carrying troublesome secrets of his own.

HIDDEN is a 60,000 word YA Fantasy/Romance and a complete manuscript is available upon request. Readers of fairy tale re-tellings such as Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix or Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George should enjoy this novel, as it takes a new spin on the classic tale of Cinderella. (I'd let an agent decide that)

Thank you for your time and consideration.



#15 AMK

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 03:37 PM

Here's the second try. The first one did get me a request for chapters (which I'm still waiting on), so I didn't want to change too much.


Dear Agent,

Evie is a mask maker on the island nation of Venetia, where masks are worn everyday as a sign of both rank and identity, and going barefaced is scandalous. The mark of the desolate or foreign. When a bandit called the Chameleon attacks, he not only steals her mask, destroys her home, and kills her father, but also brands her with his own criminal mark that would incriminate her for his wrong-doings. (Great premise.)
Rejected by those she thought she could trusted, Evie is forced into hiding as a servant in the royal palace where she bides her time until she can find both a new identity and a way to exact revenge. However, the independent girl struggles to curb her naturally fiery personality in order to remain undetected. Time after time, she finds herself with extra chores, unable to search for the Chameleon. Meanwhile, her mysterious and handsome friend Aiden proves to be as much trouble as help with secrets of his own.

Hidden is a 60,000 word YA Fantasy/Romance and a complete manuscript is available upon request. Readers of fairy tale re-tellings such as Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix or Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George should enjoy this novel, as it takes a new spin on the classic tale of Cinderella.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


I love fairy tale retellings. I just finished MERMAID by Carolyn Turgeon. This is all clear and sounds good to me. I feel like maybe there is a final hook missing. I could be wrong. I'm new to this. Congrats on the chapter request. Best of luck.

#16 mylaurel

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 06:43 PM

Some great suggestions, thanks!

#17 mylaurel

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 08:19 PM

Next try. I mostly just re-organized with a few minor rewrites. :)




Dear Agent,

When a bandit called the Chameleon attacks, he not only steals Evie’s mask, destroys her home, and kills her father, but also brands her face with his own criminal mark that would incriminate her for his wrong-doings should it be discovered.

Evie was a mask maker on the island nation of Venetia, where masks are worn everyday as a sign of both rank and identity. Going barefaced is scandalous, or the mark of the desolate or foreign-born.

After the Chameleon’s attack, Evie goes into hiding as a servant in the royal palace where she bides her time until she can find both a new identity and a way to exact revenge. The independent girl struggles to curb her fiery personality in order to remain undetected. Speaking above her station, attracting more attention than a serving girl should, and arguing with unfair orders, she constantly finds herself saddled with extra chores, unable to search for the Chameleon. Meanwhile, her charming friend Aiden proves to be as much trouble as help, carrying secrets of his own.

HIDDEN is a 60,000 word YA Fantasy, and a complete manuscript is available upon request. Readers of fairy tale re-tellings such as Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix or Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George should enjoy this novel, as it takes a new spin on the classic tale of Cinderella.




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