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Angel Of Death - YA Urban Fantasy

Fantasy Young Adult Fiction

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#1 IMB

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 09:09 AM

New Revision on post #4: http://agentquerycon...ntasy/?p=355443

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

Fifteen-year-old Maya Sanders is content with her life. After both her parents passed away when she was just a baby, she was raised by her aunt, in a warm and loving home. She spends her days looking after her sick little cousin, while managing the house chores and staying on top of her homeschooling curriculum. Her life is calm and stable; she doesn't mind her ordinary existance.
 
But it all changes when she encounters an intruder in her room. She is teleported away to the secret Headquarters of a supernatural organization of Grim Reapers, where they claim she must work for them. Her late mother created a debt she wasn't able to pay off, and it's up to Maya to settle the score.
 
But she is strongly against it. Working as a Reaper means taking people's Souls away, ending their lives; she can't live with herself if she accepts. Her refusal, however, will transfer the debt down to her next of kin, her little cousin, and she won't allow that. She must overcome her own turbulent feelings and do what has to be done, in order to keep her family safe from such a destiny.
 
Wrapped in the mystery of her mother's death, and how the woman came to be involved with that strange organization, Maya must find a ground to stand on in that supernatural world, while at the same time keeping it a secret from those in her - now not so ordinary - life.
 
ANGEL OF DEATH is a YA Urban Fantasy, a journey of growth and self-discovery, completed at 85,000 words.
 
This is the first book I attempt to publish, and I'm currently at work on another project.
 
Thank you for your time and consideration,
 
IMB
 
 
I have a quick question:
 
Should I add that it's a standalone in the query? I've seen people do it, but most seem to leave it out. I assumed an agent wouldn't think it's a series unless I mention it, so it seems redundant...

Current Query (YA Urban Fantasy): http://agentquerycon...-urban-fantasy/

Any feedback is appreciated :)


#2 lnloft

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 03:56 PM

 

Dear Agent,

 

Fifteen-year-old Maya Sanders is content with her life. After both her parents passed away when she was just a baby, she was raised by her aunt, in a warm and loving home. She spends her days looking after her sick little cousin, while managing the house chores and staying on top of her homeschooling curriculum. Her life is calm and stable; she doesn't mind her ordinary existaence. The problem with this as a hook is that there's nothing really hook-y about it. Maya is content with her life, so... where's the drama? We can guess that there's a "but" coming soon, but the agent might already tune out. So I'd cut all of this and start with the concept of the next paragraph for your hook.
 
But it all changes when she encounters an intruder in her room. She is teleported away I'm assuming that her teleportation has something to do with the intruder, but there's no real logical connection between the two. You want something more specific like, "When he grabs her, she is teleported away...", or whatever actually applies for you story. to the secret Headquarters of a supernatural organization of Grim Reapers Wouldn't an organization of Grim Reapers be by definition supernatural?, where they claim she must work for them. Her late mother created a debt she wasn't able to pay off, and it's up to Maya to settle the score.
 
But she is strongly against it. Working as a Reaper means taking people's Souls away, ending their lives; she can't live with herself if she accepts. Her refusal, however, will transfer the debt down to her next of kin, her little cousin, and she won't allow that. She must overcome her own turbulent feelings and do what has to be done, in order to keep her family safe from such a destiny.
 
Wrapped in the mystery of her mother's death I didn't realize there was any mystery surrounding her mother's death, and how the woman came to be involved with that strange organization, Maya must find a ground to stand on in that supernatural world, while at the same time keeping it a secret from those in her - now not so ordinary - life. These stakes could use some shoring up. What do you mean exactly by "a ground to stand on"? Why must she keep it a secret? What happens if she fails at either task?
 
ANGEL OF DEATH is a YA Urban Fantasy, a journey of growth and self-discovery, completed at 85,000 words.
 
This is the first book I attempt to publish, and I'm currently at work on another project.
 
Thank you for your time and consideration,
 
IMB
 
 
I have a quick question:
 
Should I add that it's a standalone in the query? I've seen people do it, but most seem to leave it out. I assumed an agent wouldn't think it's a series unless I mention it, so it seems redundant...

More often than not, if there's nothing noted it's implied that it's standalone. My book is standalone, although I have some ideas for sequels floating in my head, but I haven't mentioned any of that in my query. So you don't have to include it. The important thing is to not go around saying "This is the first part of a trilogy/series/etc."



#3 Nessa

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 07:16 PM

Dear Agent,

 

 

Fifteen-year-old Maya Sanders is content with her life. After both her parents passed away when she was just a baby, she was raised by her aunt, in a warm and loving home. She spends her days looking after her sick little cousin, while managing the house chores and staying on top of her homeschooling curriculum. Her life is calm and stable; she doesn't mind her ordinary existance.​[Lead with something that ​isn't ​fine. You need to focus on the plot, not the backstory.]
 
But it all changes when she encounters an intruder in her room. She is teleported away to the secret Headquarters of a supernatural organization of Grim Reapers, where they claim she must work for them.​[The transition into teleportation and grim reapers is too choppy. Open your query with the supernatural so that we're immediately settled in the genre.] Her late mother created a debt she wasn't able to pay off, and it's up to Maya to settle the score.​[Too vague. What's the debt? Why does Maya have to settle it?]
 
But she is strongly against it. Working as a Reaper means taking people's Souls away, ending their lives; she can't live with herself if she accepts​[You could trim this sentence down for word count. Get to the point quicker.]. Her refusal, however, will transfer the debt down to her next of kin, her little cousin, and she won't allow that. ​[Why? There's not enough information about how grim reapers and debt work for me to get sucked into the query.]She must overcome her own turbulent feelings and do what has to be done, in order to keep her family safe from such a destiny.​[Cut down the sentence length. You're using empty phrases, such as "do what has to be done" and "keep her family safe from such a destiny."]
 
Wrapped in the mystery of her mother's death, and how the woman came to be involved with that strange organization, Maya must find a ground to stand on in that supernatural world, while at the same time keeping it a secret from those in her - now not so ordinary - life.
​[Sentence is too long. There's also a bit too much going on for the plot. She has to solve the mystery of her mother's death, find out why her mother was involved with the organization, find a ground to stand on (I don't know what this means), and the supernatural world a secret. Stick to the main plot. The rest are subplots that will be explained in the synopsis.]
ANGEL OF DEATH is a YA Urban Fantasy, a journey of growth and self-discovery, completed at 85,000 words.​[You can delete "journey of growth and self-discovery" because it should be shown through your query.]
 
This is the first book I attempt to publish, and I'm currently at work on another project.​[Remove. Mentioning that this is the first book you're trying to publish doesn't really mean anything. Agents will assume you're working on another project.]
 
Thank you for your time and consideration,
 
IMB
 
 
I have a quick question:
 
Should I add that it's a standalone in the query? I've seen people do it, but most seem to leave it out. I assumed an agent wouldn't think it's a series unless I mention it, so it seems redundant...​[Nah, don't need to mention that. They assume it's standalone (and hope it is).]

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#4 IMB

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 05:34 AM

Thank you so much for the feedback guys! I did a couple of revisions on my own, taking your advice into consideration, and this is the end result:

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

Fifteen-year-old Maya Sanders is content with her life. Raised by her aunt in a loving home, she spends her days looking after her sick little cousin, while staying on top of her studies and the house chores. Her life is calm and stable; she feels perfectly ordinary.

 

But it all changes the day she finds a stranger in her bedroom. The intruder forcefully teleports her away to the Headquarters of the Grim Reapers’ organization, where they claim she must work for them. Her late mother created a debt she wasn’t able to pay off, and it’s up to Maya to settle the score.

 

But working as a Reaper means taking people’s Souls away, ending their lives; she can’t accept that. Her refusal, however, will transfer the debt down to her next of kin, her little cousin, and she won’t allow that either. Maya has to overcome her own turbulent feelings, and do what has to be done in order to keep her family safe from such a troubling fate, even if it means losing a bit of herself in the process.

 

Wrapped in the mystery of how her mother came to be involved with that strange organization, Maya must find a way to adapt to that supernatural world, balancing her duties as a Reaper, and the pain that it brings her, while at the same time keeping it all a secret, or risk being called insane by those she loves most.

 

ANGEL OF DEATH is a YA Urban Fantasy, a journey of growth and self-discovery, completed at 85,000 words.

 

((PERSONALIZATION))

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

IMB


Current Query (YA Urban Fantasy): http://agentquerycon...-urban-fantasy/

Any feedback is appreciated :)


#5 BadgerFox

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Posted 12 April 2018 - 09:58 AM

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

Fifteen-year-old Maya Sanders is content with her life. Raised by her aunt in a loving home, she spends her days looking after her sick little cousin, while staying on top of her studies and the house chores. Her life is calm and stable; she feels perfectly ordinary.

 

But it all changes the day she finds a stranger in her bedroom. [Possibly move this line to the first paragraph, as you want to try and hook an agent with some inciting event that breaks the status quo ASAP? The first two sentences or something like them are enough to get the general idea that Maya lives an ordinary life, and in fact I've seen people convey this in just half a sentence, which you could go for if you wanted to REALLY condense the query down to its bare essentials :) ]  The intruder forcefully forcibly teleports her away to the Headquarters of the Grim Reapers’ organization, where they claim she must work for them. Her late mother created a debt she wasn’t able to pay off, and it’s up to Maya to settle the score.[ok, this escalated quickly, but it's good, it makes sense and it's clear. Kind of reminds me of that 2000's tv series, Dead Like Me, which had a teenage girl obliged to act as a kind of grim reaper employee too http://www.imdb.com/...?ref_=tt_rec_tt ]

 

But working as a Reaper means taking people’s Souls [does 'Souls' need to be capitalized? It's kind of a judgement call whether they are or aren't in your story, but to most agents it doesn't need to be a proper noun because the word is already one that's widely understood and spoken of in our culture.] away, ending their lives; she can’t accept that. Her refusal, however, will transfer the debt down to her next of kin, her little cousin, and she won’t allow that either. Maya has to overcome her own turbulent feelings, and do what has to be done in order to keep her family safe from such a troubling fate, even if it means losing a bit of herself in the process. [the third clause of this sentence is a bit vague. Can you specify more which part of her own self-image or self-regard she would lose? Like, she would lose her respect for herself, or lose her integrity, or lose her personal self-image as a good and moral person?]

 

Wrapped in the mystery of how her mother came to be involved with that strange organization, Maya must find a way to adapt to that supernatural world, balancing her duties as a Reaper, and the pain that it brings her, while at the same time keeping it all a secret, or risk being called insane by those she loves most. [This sentence is much too long. Dividing it into several smaller ones might be best. Also not certain that you need to introduce the idea of insanity at the end there, as it doesn't entirely seem like a worst-case scenario. I mean, the people I love call me insane on an almost daily basis, and they're entirely accurate to do so, since that's the technical definition of the diagnosis, and we cope :D It's not all that horrifying, necessarily. Maybe explain it as the people she loves will start to distrust her or drift away from her, or otherwise think ill of her?]

 

ANGEL OF DEATH is a YA Urban Fantasy, a journey of growth and self-discovery, completed at 85,000 words. [This ending line is lovely, very tidy and with just an appropriate hint at the overarching themes.]

 

((PERSONALIZATION))

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

IMB

 

All in all this has a very good clarity to it, and it's well-explained. I'm not left in any doubt about basic structural issues like who the protagonist is or what her dilemma is, so that's positive :) I have small questions that might help you shape your next draft - why does Maya feel that her taking someone's soul is literally the same as if she caused the circumstances of their death? In some similar stories (Dead Like Me, for example, and with the character Death in the Terry Pratchett Discworld books), the reaper is just a technicality, and it's understood that they aren't the actual murderer or instigator of the fatal car accident, they just perform a technical fuction of snipping the soul's tether to the physical body. I see that they're still considered fairly sinister figures, of course, but could you explain just a few words more in the query why Maya's being made to take the blame for other people's deaths? As in, if a murderer set out to stab someone, and found a victim, and killed them with a knife...why should Maya, ethically speaking, be blamed for this? Surely we can all see that the murderer with the knife in their hand is the true killer? I'm not saying your book lacks a good explanation for this, I just think it would strengthen the query to put in a little bit more detail on it :)


Spare a little feedback, if you have a moment? :)

My AU historical novel query: here. Thank you!






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