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CANDICE KANE: NORTH OF NOWHERE-- MG fantasy novel

Childrens Fantasy Middle Grade

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#1 kleblanc13

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 02:11 PM

Dear Agent X,
 
Twelve-year-old Candice Kane has her life planned out—get accepted to a prestigious speedskating conference, meet her idol, and eventually make it to the Olympics. Everything is right on track when she’s accepted into the skating conference—everything except that she’s begun dreaming of a monster with yellow eyes, and has just found out that her papa works for Santa Claus.
 
Now forced to uproot her entire life when her dads decide to move their family to the North Pole, Candice’s only companions become a boy who’s never had a human friend, and an elf who drinks way too much coffee. 
 
Determined not to miss her shot at skating glory, Candice has less than a month to plan her escape from the North Pole. She’s willing to do so at any cost, even if it means trusting a young man whose motives are unclear, but who holds the secret to breaking through Santa’s wards. But when the monster from her dreams attacks the North Pole, Candice will need to risk everything to save her new home and friends, even if it means abandoning her skating dreams once and for all. 
 
CANDICE KANE: NORTH OF NOWHERE is a middle grade fantasy novel complete at 70,000 words. I am writing to you because xxx.
 
Thank you for your time and consideration.
 
Sincerely,

 

x

 

Dear Agent X,

 

12-year-old Candice Kane has her life planned out--get accepted to the National Speedskating Conference, skate with Apolo Ohno, and make it to the Olympics. Everything is right on track when she is accepted into the skating conference. Well, everything that is except that she's begun dreaming of a monster with yellow eyes, may have just saved a boy from an oncoming car without laying a hand on him, and has just found out that her papa works for Santa Claus.

 

Now forced to uproot her entire life when her dads decide to move their family to the North Pole, Candice's only companions become a boy who's never had a human friend, and an elf who drinks way too much coffee.

 

Determined not to miss her shot at skating glory, Candice has less than a month to plan her escape from the North Pole. She's willing to pay any cost to do so, even if it means trusting a young man whose motives are unclear but who holds the secret to breaking through Santa's wards. But when her escape turns into a frantic fight to save the North Pole from the monster in her dreams, a monster with a serious grudge against Santa Claus, Candice must turn to her new friends to help save the day, or risk losing Christmas forever.

 

CANDICE KANE: NORTH OF NOWHERE is a middle-grade fantasy novel complete at 70,000 words. I am writing to you because xxx. 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

x

 

Dear Agent X,

 

12-year-old Candice Kane has her life planned out--get accepted to the National Youth Speedskating Conference, skate with Apolo Ohno, make it to the Olympics. Everything is right on track when she's accepted to the skating conference, everything that is except that she's begun dreaming of a monster with yellow eyes, may have just saved a boy from an oncoming car without laying a hand on him, and has just found out that her papa works for Santa Claus.

 

Now forced to uproot her entire life when her dads decide to move their family to the North Pole, Candice's only companions become a boy who's never had a human friend, and an elf who drinks way too much coffee.

 

Determined not to miss her shot at skating glory, Candice has less than a month to plan her escape from the North Pole, and is willing to do so at any cost, even if it means getting help from a mysterious figure whose motives are unclear and using newfound powers she can barely control or understand. But when her escape turns into a frantic fight to save the North Pole from the monster in her dreams, will Candice be successful, or will it be the end of Christmas as she knows it?

 

CANDICE KANE: NORTH OF NOWHERE is a middle grade fantasy novel complete at 70,000 words. I am writing to you because xxx...

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

x

 

 

I appreciate any comments / suggestions / critiques on my query and I will do my best to reciprocate for your query (so please let me know which is yours). 

 

I also have a question that I am looking for advice on. In 2016, I presented the first 20 pages of a former draft + a query to two agents at Muse and the Marketplace (Grubstreet's annual writing conference in Boston). I also got to meet with each agent for 20 minutes. One really liked my writing but wanted me to make my book MG (it used to be YA). She expressed great interest in reading the manuscript once I had made these edits and gave me her card as well as the card for someone who works for her (the card isn't with me at the moment so I can't remember their position). How might I go about reminding her that we met and that she wanted me to query her when I had revised the manuscript?

 

Thank you so much!



#2 TheBest

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 03:54 PM

Dear Agent X,

 

12-year-old Candice Kane has her life planned out--get accepted to the National Youth Speedskating Conference (I know this is a concrete detail, but it slows flow. Cut it down to just "Make the National Speed skating Con" or "Make Speedskating Nationals."), skate with Apolo Ohno, and make it to the Olympics (Something more intense maybe. "Take home gold?" JMO, you don't have to change it if this is core to the character. Bold works in MG). Everything is right on track when she's accepted into the skating conference, Well, everything that is except that she's begun dreaming of a monster with yellow eyes, may have just saved a boy from an oncoming car without laying a hand on him, and has just found out that her papa works for Santa Claus. (Great hook! Nice!)

 

Now forced to uproot her entire life when her dads decide to move their family to the North Pole (Ha!), Candice's only companions become a boy who's never had a human friend, and an elf who drinks way too much coffee. (Ha!)

 

(These are great details, but work them into the plot if you can.)

 

Determined not to miss her shot at skating glory (Great detail), Candice has less than a month to plan her escape from the North Pole (I'm completely hooked), and is She's willing to do so at pay any cost, even if it means getting help from a mysterious figure whose motives are unclear and using newfound powers she can barely control or understand. (Change this. "Mysterious" and "Vague" ar big, big no-nos. Give something ocnecrete about the figure, even if it's not much. Same for powers. Agents are surprisingly picky about this.) But when her escape turns into a frantic fight to save the North Pole from the monster in her dreams (Whoah. This is sudden. Connect it to the above), will Candice be successful, or will it be the end of Christmas as she knows it? (Change from question to statement. Like Candace must win the war, or the world loses Christmas forever.)

 

CANDICE KANE: NORTH OF NOWHERE is a middle grade fantasy novel complete at 70,000 words. I am writing to you because xxx...

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

x

 

Great query letter! I'm a total sucker for MG fantasy adventure. Especially in the North Pole! It's a really great concept. However, I think your query could use a little bit more connection, especially the monster bit. Explain how it relates to the rest of the plot. Also, the mysterious figure bit needs fleshing out too -- this is a quick fix, as you can just add a few quick details about him instead of "Mysterious" or "Vague." You characterize Candice well, and I always understand he motives -- Nice! I'd definitely want to read this. And hopefully buy it.

 

Good luck!

 

 

I'd love feedback on my query if you get a chance. Our protagonists and concepts share a lot of similarities. You can find my query here:

http://agentquerycon...-back/?p=355110



#3 kleblanc13

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 04:00 PM

Very helpful suggestions TheBest, thank you! Will check out yours now.



#4 Springfield

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 09:29 PM

Dear Agent X,

 

12-year-old If I were an agent, I'd reject for that . Candice Kane has her life planned out--get accepted to the National Speedskating Conference, That what? Is that a thing? skate with Apolo Ohno, When is this set? and make it to the Olympics. Everything is right on track when she is accepted into the skating conference. That makes the opening backstory. Well, everything that is except that she's begun dreaming of a monster with yellow eyes, may have just saved a boy from an oncoming car without laying a hand on him, and has just found out that her papa works for Santa Claus. What? 

 

Now forced to uproot her entire life when her dads decide to move their family to the North Pole, Candice's only companions become a boy who's never had a human friend, and an elf who drinks way too much coffee.This feels like the opening.

 

Determined not to miss her shot at skating glory, Candice has less than a month to plan her escape from the North Pole. She's willing to pay any cost to do so, even if it means trusting a young man whose motives are unclear but who holds the secret to breaking through Santa's wards. But when her escape turns into a frantic fight to save the North Pole from the monster in her dreams, huh? Why? a monster with a serious grudge against Santa Claus, Candice must turn to her new friends to help save the day, or risk losing Christmas forever. What? Where did that come from? 

 

CANDICE KANE: NORTH OF NOWHERE is a middle-grade fantasy novel complete at 70,000 words. That's very long. I am writing to you because xxx. 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

x

 

Dear Agent X,

 

12-year-old Candice Kane has her life planned out--get accepted to the National Youth Speedskating Conference, skate with Apolo Ohno, make it to the Olympics. Everything is right on track when she's accepted to the skating conference, everything that is except that she's begun dreaming of a monster with yellow eyes, may have just saved a boy from an oncoming car without laying a hand on him, and has just found out that her papa works for Santa Claus.

 

Now forced to uproot her entire life when her dads decide to move their family to the North Pole, Candice's only companions become a boy who's never had a human friend, and an elf who drinks way too much coffee.

 

Determined not to miss her shot at skating glory, Candice has less than a month to plan her escape from the North Pole, and is willing to do so at any cost, even if it means getting help from a mysterious figure whose motives are unclear and using newfound powers she can barely control or understand. But when her escape turns into a frantic fight to save the North Pole from the monster in her dreams, will Candice be successful, or will it be the end of Christmas as she knows it?

 

CANDICE KANE: NORTH OF NOWHERE is a middle grade fantasy novel complete at 70,000 words. I am writing to you because xxx...

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

x

 

 

I appreciate any comments / suggestions / critiques on my query and I will do my best to reciprocate for your query (so please let me know which is yours). 

 

I also have a question that I am looking for advice on. In 2016, I presented the first 20 pages of a former draft + a query to two agents at Muse and the Marketplace (Grubstreet's annual writing conference in Boston). I also got to meet with each agent for 20 minutes. One really liked my writing but wanted me to make my book MG (it used to be YA). She expressed great interest in reading the manuscript once I had made these edits and gave me her card as well as the card for someone who works for her (the card isn't with me at the moment so I can't remember their position). How might I go about reminding her that we met and that she wanted me to query her when I had revised the manuscript?

 

Thank you so much!

 

This query feels very scattered; I can vaguely see how some of the elements relate, but some don't seem to and the whole end stakes come out of noplace. I've no idea why she cares about any of that. 

 

As for the latter q. -- you put 'requested material' in the subject line and say something like ;we met at X conference in Y. I pitched you my book about Z, you suggested I do A, and kindly offered to review the ms once I'd made the revisions. I've since taken your advice, reworked the manuscript and am hoping you might still be interested in reading THIS THING, about THAT STUFF, which is now SET IN... 

 

Query here.



#5 SnowFox23

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 02:37 AM

12-year-old Candice Kane has her life planned out--get accepted to the National Speedskating Conference, skate with Apolo Ohno, and make it to the Olympics. Everything is right on track when she is accepted into the skating conference. Well, everything that is, except that she's begun dreaming of a monster with yellow eyes, may have just saved a boy from an oncoming car without laying a hand on him, and has just found out that her papa works for Santa Claus. That is actually a really cool opening paragraph.

 

Now forced to uproot her entire life when her dads decide to move their family to the North Pole, Candice's only companions become are a boy who's never had a human friend, and an elf who drinks way too much coffee. I really like this.

 

Determined not to miss her shot at skating glory, Candice has less than a month to plan her escape from the North Pole. very tight, very cool. She's willing to pay any cost to do so, even if it means trusting a young man whose motives are unclear but who holds the secret to breaking through Santa's wards. cool. But when her escape turns into a frantic fight to save the North Pole from the monster in her dreams, a monster with a serious grudge against Santa Claus, Candice must turn to her new friends to help save the day, or risk losing Christmas forever. okay, this part isn't so good. The stakes need tightening up. She has never mentioned caring about Christmas before, so it is not very impactful now. Make the stakes more about risking her skating dream, or something about skating anyway, since that is what Candice truly cares about.

 

CANDICE KANE: NORTH OF NOWHERE great title! is a middle-grade fantasy novel complete at 70,000 words. that is quite high for a MG even if it is Fantasy. I am writing to you because xxx. 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

x

 

This is all very cool. Just change the stakes because it was a little scattered at the end. Can you take a peek at my query if you get a chance? Cheers!



#6 A. Wass

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 08:33 AM

Thanks for taking the time to crit my query. Here's my thoughts on yours:

 

 

Dear Agent X,

 

12-year-old(I would change this to "Twelve-year-old") Candice Kane has her life planned out--get accepted to the National Speedskating Conference, skate with Apolo Ohno (I'm a little confused here. Does she want to skate with him because it's her idol? Or does a twelve year old really think they can compete with an Olympic speedskater?), and make it to the Olympics. Everything is right on track when she is accepted into the skating conference. Well, everything that is except that she's begun dreaming of a monster with yellow eyes, may have just saved a boy from an oncoming car without laying a hand on him, and has just found out that her papa works for Santa Claus. (Something about this last sentence seems kind of clunky and disjointed to me. Maybe break it up?)

 

Now forced to uproot her entire life when her dads decide to move their family to the North Pole, Candice's only companions become a boy who's never had a human friend, and an elf who drinks way too much coffee. (Ha! I love the coffee addict elf already.)

 

Determined not to miss her shot at skating glory, Candice has less than a month to plan her escape from the North Pole. She's willing to pay any cost to do so, even if it means trusting a young man whose motives are unclear (This is wordy. Consider revising.) but who holds the secret to breaking through Santa's wards. But when her escape turns into a frantic fight to save the North Pole from the monster in her dreams, a monster with a serious grudge against Santa Claus, Candice must turn to her new friends to help save the day, or risk losing Christmas forever.

 

CANDICE KANE: NORTH OF NOWHERE is a middle-grade fantasy novel complete at 70,000 words. I am writing to you because xxx. 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

x

 

I feel like this has a lot going on. So much so that I get a little lost. You can definitely have a successful query with this much going on, but it needs to be done just the right way. I think what's bugging me about the query is the yellow eyes monster. It feels thrown in at random sometimes. I would get back to the bare necessities of the query. She wants to be an Olympic speedskater, but her dad moves her to the north pole. Then she gets caught in the middle of a Santa/Monster grudge match.

 

You have the makings of a great story here, and I hope you all the best in your querying journey. 



#7 PureZhar3

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 08:53 AM

12-year-old Candice Kane has her life planned out--get accepted to the National Speedskating Conference, skate with Apolo Ohno, and make it to the Olympics. Everything is right on track when she is accepted into the skating conference. Well, everything that is except that she's begun dreaming of a monster with yellow eyes, may have just saved a boy from an oncoming car without laying a hand on him, and has just found out that her papa works for Santa Claus. ​Honestly, I would cut out all of these except the "found out her papa works for Santa Claus", I think. The others are interesting but distracting

 

Now forced to uproot her entire life when her dads decide to move their family to the North Pole, Candice's only companions become a boy who's never had a human friend, and an elf who drinks way too much coffee.  ​Somehow this sentence doesn't sit right with me. There's something about the phrasing of the second half that rubs me the wrong way, but I can't quite place what it is. 

 

Determined not to miss her shot at skating glory, Candice has less than a month to plan her escape from the North Pole. She's willing to pay any cost to do so, even if it means trusting a young man whose motives are unclear but who holds the secret to breaking through Santa's wards ​I think could be phrased stronger. But when her escape turns into a frantic fight to save the North Pole from the monster in her dreams, a monster with a serious grudge against Santa Claus, Candice must turn to her new friends to help save the day, or risk losing Christmas forever. ​Hmm so the monster does seem to be necessary, but it might be good if you fit him in somewhere besides the hook. 

 

CANDICE KANE: NORTH OF NOWHERE ​great title! is a middle-grade fantasy novel complete at 70,000 words. I am writing to you because xxx. 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

x

 

​This is good! It sounds very interesting. It would be great if the monster part was cut out (sorry) but I understand that's probably not possible. You'll need to meld it better into the rest of the query. 


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


#8 kleblanc13

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 02:22 PM

All very helpful suggestions--thank you to everyone who has commented. I'll mull them over and work on changes. I'll also try to return the favor for anyone else here with a query.



#9 kleblanc13

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Posted 07 May 2018 - 02:51 PM

New version in first post. Didn't make all the changes folks suggested (though I'm still considering a few of them) but any feedback on the new changes would be appreciated. Let me know if you have a query I can return the favor with!



#10 W.P.

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Posted 08 May 2018 - 08:37 AM

Twelve-year-old Candice Kane has her life planned out—get accepted to a prestigious speedskating conference, meet her idol, and eventually make it to the Olympics. Everything is right on track when she’s accepted into the skating conference—everything except that she’s begun dreaming of a monster with yellow eyes, and has just found out that her papa works for Santa Claus. ((I feel like we are getting too much information (regarding her plans for life) which makes the beginning less "punch" and more "synopsis-y". The only part that is actually relevant at this point is the speed skating conference. That way you could shorten it to half the length you have. Example (not the best I'm sorry): "When twelve-year-old Candice Kane finally gets accepted into a prestigious speedskating conference, accomplishing one of her greatest dreams, her life is right on track. Except, she's begun dreaming of a monster with yellow eyes and ...." Not the best example, but it's a way to show that it can be shortened.)))

Now forced to uproot her entire life when her dads decides to move their family to the North Pole, Candice’s only companions become a boy who’s never had a human friend, and an elf who drinks way too much coffee.


Determined not to miss her shot at skating glory, Candice has less than a month to plan her escape from the North Pole. She’s willing to do so at any cost, even if it means trusting a young man whose motives are unclear, but who holds the secret to breaking through Santa’s wards. But when the monster from her dreams attacks the North Pole, Candice will need to risk everything to save her new home and friends, even if it means abandoning her skating dreams once and for all. ((I'm not sure why, but this last sentence isn't doing it for me. the previous one intrigues me, but this one doesn't. You're telling me what her decision will be so there's nothing for me to wonder about. The best way to make us want to read more is make us ask questions. Like, "what will they do?")))



Your story sounds super fun! And you do a great job characterising your main character and letting us know what the stakes and her goal are. Some sentences aren't pulling their weight, but I pointed those out. I hope this can be of help. :)

If you have time, could you please take a look at my query as well?
http://agentquerycon...-fantasy/page-2


#11 morgan.spraker

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Posted 09 May 2018 - 06:30 PM

 

Dear Agent X,
 
Twelve-year-old Candice Kane has her life planned out—get accepted to a prestigious speedskating conference, meet her idol, and eventually make it to the Olympics. Everything is right on track when she’s accepted into the skating conference—everything except that she’s begun dreaming of a monster with yellow eyes, and has just found out that her papa works for Santa Claus. I love your hook!
 
Now forced to uproot her entire life when her dads decide to move their family to the North Pole, Candice’s only companions become a boy who’s never had a human friend, and an elf who drinks way too much coffee. Having just this single sentence as a paragraph feels a little choppy to me. I think adding a little more detail about how her life changes wouldn't hurt
 
Determined not to miss her shot at skating glory, Candice has less than a month to plan her escape from the North Pole. She’s willing to do so at any cost, even if it means trusting a young man who is the young man? Is it one of the characters mentioned above? whose motives are unclear, but who holds the secret to breaking through Santa’s wards. But when the monster from her dreams attacks the North Pole, Candice will need to risk everything to save her new home and friends, even if it means abandoning her skating dreams once and for all. 
 
CANDICE KANE: NORTH OF NOWHERE is a middle grade fantasy novel complete at 70,000 words. Do you have comps? I am writing to you because xxx.
 
Thank you for your time and consideration.
 
Sincerely,

 

x

 

Your story sounds like so much fun! Just those little things I mentioned, because I think you've nailed voice and everything else :) If you don't mind, would you take a look at my query?

http://agentquerycon...-of-alexandria/

 



#12 smithgirl

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Posted 11 May 2018 - 02:24 PM

Dear Agent X,

 
Twelve-year-old Candice Kane has her life planned out—get accepted to a prestigious speedskating conference, meet her idol, and eventually make it to the Olympics. Everything is right on track when she’s accepted into the skating conference—everything except that she’s begun dreaming of a monster with yellow eyes, and that her papa just got a job with Santa Clause, at the North Pole. and has just found out that her papa works for Santa Claus. Really another obstacle here is that she will have to move to the North Pole and miss her skating opportunity.
 
This is a fun intro. I would remove one of the em-dashes; two is a lot for one paragraph. Also, at this point, I'm not sure why it's important that her dad works for Santa Claus or that it's important that the monster found it. So add here that the family must relocate because of the Santa Claus job.
 
Now fForced to uproot her entire life when her two dads She has two dads? That's fine, but if so maybe make it clearer. decide to relocate for the new job now add something more relevant than the elf and boy.  move their family to the North Pole, So her father just started the job for Santa Clause? Candice’s only companions become a boy who’s never had a human friend, and an elf who drinks way too much coffee. This info about the boy and the elf seems irrelevant to the query as written.
 
Determined not to miss her shot at skating glory, Candice has less than a month to plan her escape from the North Pole. She’s willing to do so at any cost, even if it means trusting a young man whose motives are unclear, but who holds the secret to breaking through Santa’s wards. What? This is too vague. But when the monster from her dreams attacks the North Pole, Candice will need to risk everything to save her new home and friends, even if it means abandoning her skating dreams once and for all. How is Candice equipped to save her family from the monster? Is she the only one who can do that? 
 
CANDICE KANE: NORTH OF NOWHERE is a middle grade fantasy novel complete at 70,000 words. I am writing to you because xxx.
 
Your story sounds fun and your query is nice an short. I made some comments that I hope are helpful; some things that seemed unnecessary or unclear. Cut that part about the boy and elf and expand on the unclear part about the strange young man. Can you please look at my query when you can? Thanks! http://agentquerycon...uery-critiques/






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