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The Four Ivorocono Girls


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#1 janeald

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Posted 05 March 2018 - 06:37 PM

Hello,

I would appreciate any and all comments/critiques on draft one of this query. Also, if anyone has better comp titles, please let me know. Feel free to leave a link to your post in the comments and I'll provide critiques as well.

 

TRY NUMBER 2 IS POST #4

 

 

QUERY:
Theo Ivorocono is not too bothered with raising his four daughters. His only goal is finishing the world-changing experiment he started with his deceased wife. This task leaves little time for parenting.

His teenage daughters are left to raise themselves in Fritica, a country on the verge of a second civil war. When one sister gets the chance of a lifetime, her only choice is to go to the East, the enemy side. This proposal starts a chain of events which separates the sisters for the first time in their lives.

With one sister seduced to the East, another sister leaves to study at a monastery. The monastery houses a fortune teller with the secret to finishing Theo's experiment. Theo's oldest daughter joins the military to financially support the family; and his second oldest is left alone at home where she wreaks havoc with an underground gang of smugglers and thieves.

Theo sees opportunity in each of their situations. Even if they don't respect him, his daughters can help find the experiment's missing pieces -- the magic his wife sought. But when the war starts, Fritica's fate and the end of Theo's experiment aren't the only things endangered. The family separating at such a tumultuous time means the Ivoroconos may never reunite again.

THE FOUR IVOROCONO GIRLS is Low Fantasy YA complete at 97,000 words. Set in a futuristic Antarctica, the story unfolds through the eyes of each Ivorocono daughter. This story is like Louisa May Alcott's LITTLE WOMEN met Leigh Bardugo's SIX OF CROWS.

[Personal Bio]

Thank you for your time and consideration.



#2 RosieSkye

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Posted 05 March 2018 - 07:10 PM

Hello,

 

I would appreciate any and all comments/critiques on draft one of this query. Also, if anyone has better comp titles, please let me know. Feel free to leave a link to your post in the comments and I'll provide critiques as well.

 

 

QUERY:

Theo Ivorocono is not too bothered with raising his four daughters. His only goal is finishing the world-changing experiment he started with his deceased wife. This task leaves little time for parenting.

 

His teenage daughters are left to raise themselves in Fritica, a country on the verge of a second civil war. When one sister gets the chance of a lifetime, her only choice is to go to the East, the enemy side. This proposal starts a chain of events which separates the sisters for the first time in their lives.

 

With one sister seduced to the East, another sister leaves to study at a monastery. The monastery houses a fortune teller with the secret to finishing Theo's experiment. Theo's oldest daughter joins the military to financially support the family; and his second oldest is left alone at home where she wreaks havoc with an underground gang of smugglers and thieves.

 

Theo sees opportunity in each of their situations. Even if they don't respect him, his daughters can help find the experiment's missing pieces -- the magic his wife sought. But when the war starts, Fritica's fate and the end of Theo's experiment aren't the only things endangered. The family separating at such a tumultuous time means the Ivoroconos may never reunite again.

 

THE FOUR IVOROCONO GIRLS is Low Fantasy YA complete at 97,000 words. This story is like Louisa May Alcott's LITTLE WOMEN met Leigh Bardugo's SIX OF CROWS.

 

[Personal Bio]

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

This sounds interesting, but there are two things here that leave me scratching my head.  One, I don't have any idea where or when this story takes place.  You mention magic and fantasy at the very end, but before that I don't know if Fritica and the East are in some other realm, or are fictional places in the real world.  I'd state up front that this is fantasy, or be clearer about your setting.  

 

Two, if this is YA, your query needs focus on a character(s) in that age range.  The characters that are going to speak to a YA audience are the daughters, not the father.  You're using him as the anchor for your query, around which the four daughters revolve - but unfortunately that's not going to do much to sell a YA.  Right now the daughters are just nameless, faceless figures - "one sister," "oldest daughter," "second oldest," etc.  You need to bring them to life, and let the agent connect with the characters that your core audience is going to be most interested in.  I'd chose the most prominent of the girls and focus the query around her, and then work her sisters into the query that way.

 

Good luck! 



#3 janeald

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Posted 05 March 2018 - 07:22 PM

This sounds interesting, but there are two things here that leave me scratching my head.  One, I don't have any idea where or when this story takes place.  You mention magic and fantasy at the very end, but before that I don't know if Fritica and the East are in some other realm, or are fictional places in the real world.  I'd state up front that this is fantasy, or be clearer about your setting.  

 

Two, if this is YA, your query needs focus on a character(s) in that age range.  The characters that are going to speak to a YA audience are the daughters, not the father.  You're using him as the anchor for your query, around which the four daughters revolve - but unfortunately that's not going to do much to sell a YA.  Right now the daughters are just nameless, faceless figures - "one sister," "oldest daughter," "second oldest," etc.  You need to bring them to life, and let the agent connect with the characters that your core audience is going to be most interested in.  I'd chose the most prominent of the girls and focus the query around her, and then work her sisters into the query that way.

 

Good luck! 

 

@RosieSkye

 

Hello,

 

Thank you for your response! I agree with your first statement. I'll try to make that more clear in the next draft. It is set in a futuristic Antarctica so I'll add that in.

 

I also agree with your second comment. But, since each sister is given equal time throughout the story, it's hard for me to single one out. I'll have to think on how I can do that in an effective way.

 

Thank you again for taking the time to comment! If you have a post and want me to critique it let me know!



#4 janeald

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Posted 06 March 2018 - 05:19 PM

Try #2:

 

 

Thirteen-year-old Skye Ivorocono is always last. The last of four daughters and the last to know she's being sent away for the summer. Most importantly, the last hope for her parent's world-changing experiment. Skye learns she'll spend the summer studying at a monastery which houses a fortune teller with the answers they need. 
 
Not only is Skye leaving, but every sister will be separated for the first time in their lives -- just when Antarctica is threatened by a second civil war. Her fifthteen-year-old sister is given an opportunity of a lifetime, but only if she travels across the Wall to the East. The enemy side. Their oldest sister joins the military to financially support the family. And the second oldest is left home to wreak havoc with an underground gang of Western smugglers and thieves.
 
Skye's dad sees opportunity in each of their situations. Although he’s neglected them since their mother's death, he expects help finding the experiment's missing pieces -- the magic his wife sought. But when the war starts, Antarctica's fate and a failed experiment aren't the only things endangered. The family separates at a tumultuous time, and the Ivoroconos may never reunite again.
 
Set in a futuristic Antarctica, this story unfolds through the eyes of each Ivorocono daughter. A Low Fantasy YA complete at 97,000 words, THE FOUR IVOROCONO GIRLS is like Louisa May Alcott's LITTLE WOMEN met Leigh Bardugo's SIX OF CROWS. 
 
[Short Bio]
 
Thank you for your time and consideration.


#5 Raptor

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Posted 06 March 2018 - 10:19 PM

Thirteen-year-old Skye Ivorocono is always last. The last of four daughters,  and the last to know she's going away, being sent away for the summer, and the last hope for her parent's world-changing experiment. Skye learns she'll go to  spend the summer studying at a monastery where a  which houses a fortune teller seer holds the answers they (they who, her family?) need.  (Very good opening.  I collapsed it, believing this shorter, direct version grabs my attention.  I struck the words -- "for the summer," "world-changing," "which houses" -- that distracted me or raised questions as soon as I hit them.  You might consider another term for "fortune teller" (seer?) 

 
Not only is Skye leaving, but all four every sisters will be separated for the first time in their lives -- just when Antarctica faces is threatened by a second civil war. Her fifthteen-year-old sister is offered given a rare opportunity of a lifetime, but only if she travels across the Wall to the East. The enemy side. Their oldest sister joins the military (which military--enemy or friendly?) to financially support the family. And the second oldest is left home to wreak havoc with an underground gang of Western smugglers and thieves.
 
Skye's dad sees opportunity in each of their situations. Although he’s neglected them since their mother's death, he expects help finding the experiment's missing pieces -- the magic his wife sought. But when the war starts, Antarctica's fate and a failed experiment aren't the only things endangered. The family separates at a tumultuous time, and the Ivoroconos may never reunite again. (I like how this comes together.  My one question is about dad.  Is he good or bad, or is that the plot twist? You might signal that somehow by either saying the dad is evil or perhaps not. 
 
Set in a futuristic Antarctica, this story unfolds through the eyes of each Ivorocono daughter. A Low Fantasy YA complete at 97,000 words, THE FOUR IVOROCONO GIRLS is like Louisa May Alcott's LITTLE WOMEN met Leigh Bardugo's SIX OF CROWS. 
 
Jane - This a very good query.  I'm not a futuristic/sci-fi fan, but you grabbed my attention and held it.  Perhaps an agent who specializes in sci-fi would feel differently.  But you should take some comfort knowing that you had a "non-believer" hooked in your story.  Best of luck and hope you you land a deal.   --- Raptor.


#6 janeald

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 08:12 AM

Thank you so much!! I appreciate every comment/suggestion and will make those changes.

#7 AutumnL

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 08:55 AM

Thirteen-year-old Skye Ivorocono is always last. The last of four daughters and the last to know she's being sent away for the summer. Most importantly, the last hope for her parent's world-changing experiment. Skye learns she'll spend the summer studying at a monastery which houses a fortune teller with the answers they need. (I like the opening,   
 
Not only is Skye leaving, but every sister will be separated for the first time in their lives (Maybe change it to something along the lines of Skye's leaving also means it's the first time she will be separated from her (beloved, supportive,etc as in why does it matter to her that they are separated) sisters) -- just when Antarctica is threatened by a second civil war (do they live in Antartica?). Her fifthteen-year-old sister is given an opportunity of a lifetime, but only if she travels across the Wall to the East. The enemy side. Their oldest sister joins the military to financially support the family. And the second oldest is left home to wreak havoc with an underground gang of Western smugglers and thieves. (I don't think you need to include here which sister does what. You can just say, one sister is off to do this, the other is off to do that, etc. It cuts it down. I would also lead with the one that joins the military so it ties into your mention of there being a civil war in Antartica)
 
Skye's dad sees opportunity in each of their situations. Although he’s neglected them since their mother's death (when you said her parent's world-changing experiment, it made it seem like both parents were alive. this is a little confusing), he expects help finding the experiment's (what experiment?) missing pieces -- the magic his wife sought. But when the war starts, Antarctica's fate and a failed experiment aren't the only things endangered. The family separates at a tumultuous time, and the Ivoroconos may never reunite again.
 
Set in a futuristic Antarctica, this story unfolds through the eyes of each Ivorocono daughter. A Low Fantasy YA complete at 97,000 words, THE FOUR IVOROCONO GIRLS is like Louisa May Alcott's LITTLE WOMEN met Leigh Bardugo's SIX OF CROWS. 
 
I totally understand how you are trying to connect all these pieces, but it seems a bit jumbled. If the story is told through the perspective of all the daughters, I'm not sure opening your query focusing on one daughter is the best choice. Maybe start with setting up the super interesting setting, then go into what's at stake for the dad and the girls as a whole. You could even focus on the father more and not go into so much detail about what each girl is doing, say something like "Antartica's second civil war has caused the close-knit sisters to be apart for the first time in their lives, each setting off to contribute to the war effort in their own way" something like that. I also don't really understand what the dad is trying to do, what is the experiment? What does he hope to accomplish with it? Totally just suggestions. Your book sounds amazing by the way!


#8 janeald

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 12:52 PM

Thank you! And great points. I may end up going back to the query being from the dad's POV like I did in my first try...lots to think about. Thank you again!

#9 ryooan

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 05:11 PM

 

Try #2:

 

 

Thirteen-year-old Skye Ivorocono is always last. The last of four daughters and the last to know she's being sent away for the summer. Most importantly, the last hope for her parent's (maybe just father's if Skye's mother is dead?) world-changing experiment (the experiment is a little vague throughout. Can you be more specific about what the experiment is or why Skye's parents tried to do it?). Skye learns she'll spend the summer studying at a monastery which houses a fortune teller with the answers they need. (Can you be more specific about the answers? Why do they need a fortune teller for the experiment? What's preventing the experiment from being completed?)
 
Not only is Skye leaving, but every sister will be separated for the first time in their lives -- just when Antarctica is threatened by a second civil war. Her fifthteen-year-old sister is given an opportunity of a lifetime, but only if she travels across the Wall to the East. The enemy side. Their oldest sister joins the military to financially support the family. And the second oldest is left home to wreak havoc with an underground gang of Western smugglers and thieves. (I agree with the previous commenter that you should be more brief about the other sisters. I don't think you need to waste valuable query space on their ages or whether they're oldest, etc. Here's an attempt at rewriting this paragraph:
 
Not only will it be Skye's first time off on her own, but the first time the sisters have been apart -- just when Antarctica is threatened by a second civil war. One of her sister's must travel across the Wall to the East, into enemy territory. Another must join the military to financially support the family. And one runs off to join an underground gang of smugglers and thieves. (that's what I understood the second oldest to be doing, but maybe clarify it if that's not correct)).
 
Skye's dad sees opportunity in each of their situations. Although he’s neglected them since their mother's death, he expects help finding the experiment's missing pieces -- the magic his wife sought. But when the war starts, Antarctica's fate and a failed experiment aren't the only things endangered (at stake). The family separates at a tumultuous time, and the Ivoroconos may never reunite again.
 
Set in a futuristic Antarctica, this story unfolds through the eyes of each Ivorocono daughter. A Low Fantasy YA complete at 97,000 words, THE FOUR IVOROCONO GIRLS is like Louisa May Alcott's LITTLE WOMEN met Leigh Bardugo's SIX OF CROWS. 
 
[Short Bio]
 
Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

You might be better served not even mentioning the other sister's stories. They're interesting, but right now we just get a tiny taste of what each sister is doing. It might be more compelling to learn more about what struggles and challenges Skye will face with the fortune teller. I think it is better to focus on one of the POV sisters instead of the dad like you did in your first draft, so I definitely think this version is better. Focusing on one sister might be something to play with and to see if that produces more excitement. I'm not positive on that though, as the other sisters do sound like they will have interesting adventures.

 

One other thing, is the father the antagonist here? If he is, is it supposed to be a secret? If you stick closer to Skye's perspective in the query maybe the last paragraph could be more about her suspicion that her father doesn't care about them and is just using her and her sisters for whatever it is he wants to do? And it might be more emotional if your closing line is her worrying about ever seeing her family again. It would be more personal that way.

 

I do like what you have going on so far, the story does sound cool and enticing. I think you can really help it come across more clearly and more impact if you clarify a few things and perhaps narrow the focus a bit.

 

Just some thoughts to consider, hopefully they're helpful to you in some way!



#10 PureZhar3

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 05:42 PM

 

Try #2:

 

 

Thirteen-year-old Skye Ivorocono is always last. The last of four daughters and the last to know she's being sent away for the summer. Most importantly, the last hope for her parent's world-changing experiment. Skye learns she'll spend the summer studying at a monastery which houses a fortune teller with the answers they need. ​I really like the first half of this hook, but I think the last sentence detracts from it. Maybe make it the first sentence of the next paragraph.
 
Not only is Skye leaving, but every sister will be separated for the first time in their lives -- just when Antarctica is threatened by a second civil war ​not 100% sure how these two things are related. Her fifthteen​ fifteen?-year-old sister is given an opportunity of a lifetime, but only if she travels across the Wall to the East. The enemy side. ​you're losing me... Their oldest sister joins the military to financially support the family. And the second oldest is left home to wreak havoc with an underground gang of Western smugglers and thieves.​ You need to be clearer about what's going on. Maybe try organizing the paragraph something like this: Every summer, Skye's parents exploit their daughters to gain needed resources. The oldest sister joins the military to provide financial support. The second oldest will stay at home to infiltrate an underground gang of smugglers to build connections. The third sister will travel across the Wall into enemy territory to garner contacts. And Skye herself will spend the summer studying at a monastery, spying on a fortune teller to gain knowledge. 
 
Skye's dad sees opportunity in each of their situations. Although he’s neglected them since their mother's death, he expects help finding the experiment's missing pieces -- the magic his wife sought. ​again, could be cleaner. If you go with the previously suggested paragraph setting for the second paragraph, then this paragraph could be more about what the experiment is for. But when the war starts, Antarctica's fate and a failed experiment aren't the only things endangered. The family separates at a tumultuous time, and the Ivoroconos may never reunite again. ​Each of the sisters' summers will be used to help finish their father's experiment. He has been searching for a way to produce magic since his wife died, and if he succeeds, the war that is about to erupt between the two halves of Antarctica can be ended. Yet.. *ending stakes*/
Set in a futuristic Antarctica, this story unfolds through the eyes of each Ivorocono daughter. A Low Fantasy YA complete at 97,000 words, THE FOUR IVOROCONO GIRLS is like Louisa May Alcott's LITTLE WOMEN met Leigh Bardugo's SIX OF CROWS. 
 
[Short Bio]
 
Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Interesting! I think I understood the general gist of the query; however, the information is not presented in the cleanest order. I suggested a way of organizing information that I think could produce a very tight query, while still allowing you to focus on the family as a whole. Hope it helps!


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


#11 JDSmith

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Posted 08 March 2018 - 06:21 PM

 

Try #2:

 

 

Thirteen-year-old Skye Ivorocono is always last. The last of four daughters and the last to know she's being sent away for the summer. Most importantly, the last hope for her parent's world-changing experiment. Skye learns she'll spend the summer studying at a monastery which houses a fortune teller with the answers they need. (This sentence is confusing. I feel out of the loop.)
 
Not only is Skye leaving, but every sister will be separated for the first time in their lives -- just when Antarctica is threatened by a second civil war. Her fifthteen-year-old sister is given an opportunity of a lifetime, but only if she travels across the Wall to the East. The enemy side. Their oldest sister joins the military to financially support the family. And the second oldest is left home to wreak havoc with an underground gang of Western smugglers and thieves.
 
Skye's dad sees opportunity in each of their situations. Although he’s neglected them since their mother's death, he expects help finding the experiment's missing pieces -- the magic his wife sought. But when the war starts, Antarctica's fate and a failed experiment aren't the only things endangered. The family separates at a tumultuous time, and the Ivoroconos may never reunite again.
 
(I feel like this jumps around too much. I'm left very confused about what is going on. I understand that the unique part of the story is the four different points of view, but the querry needs to feel like we're talking about the absolute main character. Maybe arange it so all four are the main character if that's how the story is. "The four are ___" "The daughters __" and talk about their situation once sentence per daughter. If Skye is the main character center it around her. I'm also unsure about what the "failed experiment" is. It comes out of nowhere. I know you know what's going on, but keep in mind that the agent doesn't, so word it correctly.) 
 
Set in a futuristic Antarctica (Maybe hint at this earlier on?), this story unfolds through the eyes of each Ivorocono daughter. A Low Fantasy YA complete at 97,000 words, THE FOUR IVOROCONO GIRLS is like Louisa May Alcott's LITTLE WOMEN met Leigh Bardugo's SIX OF CROWS. 
 
[Short Bio]
 
Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

So yeah, I think you need to rework this a bit. Nothing you can't do :)


I'd really appreciate help with my query: Iris Mjolnir Spawn of War

 

First 250 words here: Woooo

 

Write on!


#12 janeald

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Posted 12 March 2018 - 08:53 AM

Thank you all for the help!! I'll keep all of this in mind for the next draft!




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