Jump to content

Disclaimer



Photo
- - - - -

GRIEVING GRANNIES (YA CONTEMPORARY)

Commercial Fiction Romance Young Adult Offbeat/Quirky Chick Lit Womens Fiction Family Saga

  • Please log in to reply
7 replies to this topic

#1 cipatrick

cipatrick

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 6 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationAfrica

Posted 10 April 2018 - 01:57 AM

Grieving Grannies is a 60,000 word YA Contemporary inspired by recent teen activism and the ‘March for our Lives' movement. Readers who enjoyed ‘Hope was Here' by Joan Bauer and ‘The Hate U Give’ by Angie Thomas should like this.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to you.”

It’s 2018 and that’s still America’s programmed response to its people, its kids being killed in mass shootings?

Not for this lot.

Destiny, a 16 y/o white social media guru moves to Waco, Texas to be closer to her terminally ill black mother in the Waco Correctional Facility. She gets a new apartment with a stranger, Viola who has serially failed the bar exams for the last forty years and now needs to pass it more than ever, her only grandson was killed in a private high school shooting in Dallas. She wants to hold someone culpable.

Viola meets Meryl in a Grief Anonymous meeting, another grandmother with no children or grandchildren, both lost to unnecessary gun violence. The grannies convince Destiny to join their cause against the NRA by exposing the local politicians in their pocket in exchange for Viola’s services at Destiny’s mother’s appeal hearing.

Destiny mounts a viral campaign aimed at costing Sen. Musgrave the election. But viral content snowballs to something much bigger, a wave of activism. And suddenly, Waco is divided across principles while she is caught unawares with feelings for two impossibly honest and genuine school mates willing to go all the way for the campaign and cause. One of them is the son of local hero Tanya Harding, who is Viola’s boss and choice to replace Musgrave while the other is son and heir to Waco Ammunitions – the local gun manufacturer and town’s biggest employer.

The NRA are more than willing to play dirty. They sabotage Meryl’s already strained marriage and then mount a smear campaign against Viola exposing her illicit past dealings. The plot derails Tanya's campaign and destroys relationships in the group.

Destiny must find a way to reconcile everyone, get Viola ready for the bar exams, save Tanya's campaign and make an impossible choice between two perfect gentlemen as the clock ticks on her mother’s health.

#2 jpfranco

jpfranco

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 63 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:None as of yet

Posted 12 April 2018 - 11:25 AM

My first query was shredded, and it's kind of the point here, so put on your thick skin.   :tongue: I'm trying to give you the most help I can, so don't take it personally. This is where we learn, and I hope my critique helps.

 

 

 

Grieving Grannies is a 60,000 word YA Contemporary inspired by recent teen activism and the ‘March for our Lives' movement. Readers who enjoyed ‘Hope was Here' by Joan Bauer and ‘The Hate U Give’ by Angie Thomas should like this. This goes at the end of the query. Make the comparison to your comp titles stronger "should like this" is not strong. 

“Our hearts and prayers go out to you.” It’s 2018 and that’s still America’s programmed response to its people, its kids being killed in mass shootingsI think this reads stronger without the qualifier. Not for this lot. 

Destiny, a 16 y/o white social media guru moves to Waco, Texas to be closer to her terminally ill black mother umm? is she adopted? raised by this woman? thinks of her as a mother? Is it totally necessary to have that in the query? There's no mention of race anywhere else. in the Waco Correctional Facility. She gets a new apartment with a stranger, Viola who has serially failed the bar exams for the last forty years forty years?! Holy moly and now needs to pass it more than ever, her only grandson was killed in a private high school shooting in Dallas. She wants to hold someone culpable. 

Viola meets Meryl in a Grief Anonymous meeting, another grandmother with no children or grandchildren, both lost to unnecessary gun violence. This needs to be reworded. At first I'm going, 'how can she be a grandmother if she's got no children?' The grannies convince Destiny to join their cause against the NRA by exposing the local politicians what's so special about Destiny that they want her to help? in their pocket in exchange for Viola’s services at Destiny’s mother’s can she be of any help if she hasn't passed the bar? appeal hearing. 

Destiny mounts a viral campaign aimed at costing Sen. Musgrave the election. Why? But viral content snowballs to something much bigger, a wave of activism. And suddenly, Waco is divided across principles what principles? while she is caught unawares with feelings for two impossibly honest and genuine school mates Is this a love triangle? willing to go all the way How? this could mean a lot of things for the campaign and cause. One of them is the son of local hero Tanya Harding, the skater? this may be just me, but I can never see her as a hero. If it's not the skater, I'd definitely change her name. If it is, you will most likely run into problems with that. who is Viola’s boss this throws me off as we don't know anything about Viola's job except that she has been trying to be a lawyer for 40 years. Which is kind of nuts. Why hasn't she given up yet? I think it would be better to leave it as him being a candidate for Senate and choice to replace Musgrave while the other is son and heir to Waco Ammunitions – the local gun manufacturer and town’s biggest employer. 

The NRA are more than willing to play dirty. They sabotage Meryl’s already strained marriage What? how? this seems far-fetched and then mount a smear campaign against Viola exposing her illicit past dealings. Too vague. The plot derails Tanya's campaign Tanya's campaign? I thought it was her son running for Senate and destroys relationships in the group. again, vague

Destiny must find a way to reconcile everyone, get Viola ready for the bar exams, save Tanya's campaign I'm gathering that Tanya's the one running, but the way you have it worded, it sounds like it's her son running. and make an impossible choice between two perfect gentlemen as the clock ticks on her mother’s health. Her mother's health is mentioned at the beginning and the end, but doesn't seem to play a part at all.  

 

This is much more synopsis than query. You've got stakes in here, but they are buried at the end, and they are too much for any 16-year-old, in my opinion. All that she's tasked with seems enough to overwhelm anyone. What does Tanya's campaign have to do with Destiny? Your hook is about school shootings, but the rest of the query has nothing to do with that, and is really all about the characters and what happens with them in their personal lives. I'm interested in your characters, but your hook makes me think it's more about the shootings, and that has no part in your stakes. I love the idea of a book about a bunch of tough old birds making a difference, but is that what this is really about? I can't tell. 

 

Keep hacking away at this, it takes awhile to get it right. Good luck! 



#3 RosieSkye

RosieSkye

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 724 posts
  • Literary Status:agented
  • LocationUS Southwest

Posted 12 April 2018 - 11:50 AM

If this is a YA story, your query should be solely from the POV of sixteen-year-old Destiny, and delve into the other characters and events only insomuch as they directly revolve around and affect her.  And I know titles are essentially placeholders at this stage, but I recommend changing yours to something that will resonate more with young readers (and agents representing books for young readers.)



#4 BadgerFox

BadgerFox

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 152 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUnited Kingdom

Posted 13 April 2018 - 10:12 AM

Grieving Grannies is a 60,000 word YA Contemporary inspired by recent teen activism and the ‘March for our Lives' movement. It will appeal to Rreaders who enjoyed ‘Hope was Here' by Joan Bauer and ‘The Hate U Give’ by Angie Thomas. should like this.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to you.”

It’s 2018 and that’s still America’s programmed response to its people, its kids being killed in mass shootings?

Not for this lot.

Destiny, a 16 y/o white social media guru moves to Waco, Texas to be closer to her terminally ill black mother in the Waco Correctional Facility. She gets a new apartment with a stranger, Viola who has serially failed the bar exams for the last forty years and now needs to pass it more than ever, her only grandson was killed in a private high school shooting in Dallas. She wants to hold someone culpable.

Viola meets Meryl in a Grief Anonymous meeting, another grandmother with no children or grandchildren, both lost to unnecessary gun violence. The grannies convince Destiny to join their cause against the NRA by exposing the local politicians in their pocket in exchange for Viola’s services at Destiny’s mother’s appeal hearing.

Destiny mounts a viral campaign aimed at costing Sen. Musgrave the election. But viral content snowballs to something much bigger, a wave of activism. And suddenly, Waco is divided across principles while she is caught unawares with feelings for two impossibly honest and genuine school mates willing to go all the way for the campaign and cause. One of them is the son of local hero Tanya Harding, who is Viola’s boss and choice to replace Musgrave while the other is son and heir to Waco Ammunitions – the local gun manufacturer and town’s biggest employer.

The NRA are more than willing to play dirty. They sabotage Meryl’s already strained marriage and then mount a smear campaign against Viola exposing her illicit past dealings. The plot derails Tanya's campaign and destroys relationships in the group.

Destiny must find a way to reconcile everyone, get Viola ready for the bar exams, save Tanya's campaign and make an impossible choice between two perfect gentlemen as the clock ticks on her mother’s health. [This ending line is quite good and draws together what seem to be disparate plot events. Consider building on this closing line in redrafts]

 

I agree with previous posters that this is more like a synopsis than query, which was a mistake I, too, made with the first draft of my query. I don't think it's fully necessary to give so much plot detail for a query, you just have to provide enough of the plot to be interesting and catchy, and without being actively misleading.

 

Another main issue here is that there at least 5 named characters, that I can see, which is too many for a short query. It's difficult to get all the names straight and remembered accurately throughout the query. About 3 - 4 max. characters would be better - often this is the protagonist, a sidekick or love interest, and the antagonist, though obviously it can vary depending on your genre. I think it would help to just focus on one character, even if the actual book is told from multiple viewpoints, and concentrate on the parts that concern that character most strongly. It looks from this like that character should be Destiny.

 

I do want to stress that there seem to be some really good ideas at heart, and the fact you've got so much plot to put in here probably speaks well of a complex story that does the issue justice. Please don't be discouraged by query critiques, the query is notoriously difficult for everyone. You've got a really good sense of theme and characterization and what's at stake here, it just needs clarifying. I too love the idea of campaigning senior citizens kicking the NRA's ass against the odds, and I think a lot of agents will like it too :)

 

Also agree that the title seems rather odd for the genre, and may not appeal to the readership. A different title might be more appealling.

 

Try redrafting, but this time focus it on Destiny's views, experiences and conflicts, and pare down the named characters to just 2-3 more besides Destiny.


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

My AU historical novel query: here. Thank you!


#5 cipatrick

cipatrick

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 6 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationAfrica

Posted 13 April 2018 - 06:25 PM

First of all, awesome input guys.

Now after a deep breath.

I hate queries! I can never get them right until I put them out to be critiqued. And you all pegged me right. I'd rather do synopsis lol. Thanks again for the input, it means a lot now I can write my query. I'd post it when I'm done, hopefully y'all can review again.

P.S @Jpfranco you're a total meanie, and I LOVE you for that. Not many people give hard hitting critiques these days, be it most people don't like to hurt new writers but I think you're perfect for new writers. Better hear it early and adjust cause you'd definitely never hear it from the hundreds of agents rejecting your work. Loved your critique on critique circle too.

Thanks again guys.

#6 cipatrick

cipatrick

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 6 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationAfrica

Posted 18 April 2018 - 05:20 AM

“Our hearts and prayers go out to you.”
It’s 2018 and that’s still America’s programmed response to mass shootings.

16 year old Destiny is all about Twitterverse, YouTube, her subscribers and Momma. After her redneck birth mom overdoses and dies, she moves to Waco, Texas. To be closer to Momma, the black woman that took her in all those years ago, who is now terminally ill and incarcerated in the Waco Correctional Facility.

Destiny meets Viola and Meryl in a Grief Anonymous meeting, two grandmothers that have lost loved ones from unnecessary gun violence. While sharing, Destiny alludes to the cause of their misfortunes – The NRA. By doing this, she inadvertently creates a vilified target for the grieving women. That kick starts a chain of events that changes her supposed bleak last days with Momma to a roller-coaster campaign to get local ‘voice of the voiceless’, Tanya Matthews elected as Senator.

Destiny has never thought of herself as an activist, she makes funny memes and creates viral videos. But partly to take her mind off Momma’s failing health and partly to please Viola and Meryl, she posts a video ridiculing Sen. Musgrave as the NRA’s puppet. She doesn’t expect much but it goes viral in days and snowballs to something much bigger that has caught national attention. A wave of activism against “NRA politicians” from her Waco High peers. Leading the activism is Davian, son of Tanya Matthews. She finds his brilliance and eloquence only second to Chad’s mystery and charm, who happens to be the son of the owner of Waco Ammunitions. The biggest employer in Waco.

The NRA are willing to do anything to avoid Waco being an example for the entire nation to follow. They launch a campaign against Viola revealing her illicit past dealings with the NRA. Tanya's campaign is derailed and the relationships between Destiny, Chad and Davian is severely tested. In this new life, Destiny cannot begin by failing in the first real cause she cares about and can’t afford to lose new friends as the threat of losing Momma grows bigger day by day.

Grieving Aloud is a 70,000 word YA Contemporary Drama inspired by racial divides, recent teen activism and the ‘March for our Lives' movement in America. It would appeal to readers who enjoyed ‘Hope was Here' by Joan Bauer and ‘The Hate U Give’ by Angie Thomas.

#7 rhwashere

rhwashere

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 223 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 18 April 2018 - 08:51 AM

A few thoughts:

1. Good call on changing the title. Honestly, it was the reason I’d been reluctant to click on this thread (if you want to change it, click edit, then use full editor). That said, I’m glad I did because you have a really good-sounding story here.

2. It’s still too long. Cut out some of the less important plots to focus on Destiny and her campaign against the NRA (which seems to be at the heart of the story). As I see it, you can stand to cut Momma and Tanya (not Harding, haha).

3. I really like that you have Destiny’s love interest be between the son of an anti-gun politician and that of an ammunition manufacturer who employs half the town. That shows that you will be tackling both sides of a complex issue. You can keep that in without having to address Tanya’s campaign.

Please feel free to critique my query: http://agentquerycon...51718/?p=356935


#8 RosieSkye

RosieSkye

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 724 posts
  • Literary Status:agented
  • LocationUS Southwest

Posted 18 April 2018 - 12:23 PM

“Our hearts and prayers go out to you.”
It’s 2018 and that’s still America’s programmed response to mass shootings.


16 Sixteen year old Destiny is all about Twitterverse, YouTube, her subscribers and Momma. After her redneck birth mom overdoses and dies, she moves to Waco, Texas. To be closer to Momma, the black woman that took her in all those years ago, who is now terminally ill and incarcerated in the Waco Correctional Facility.

When a friend falls terminally ill, sixteen-year-old Destiny begins attending Grief Anonymous meetings.  There, she meets Viola and Meryl in a Grief Anonymous meeting, two grandmothers that have lost loved ones from unnecessary to gun violence. While sharing, Destiny alludes to the cause of their misfortunes – The NRA. By doing this, she and inadvertently creates a vilified target for the grieving women. That kick starts a chain of events (this is telling rather than showing. What events take place?) that changes her supposed bleak last days with Momma her friend to a roller-coaster campaign to get local ‘voice of the voiceless’, Tanya Matthews elected as Senator.

Destiny has never thought of herself as an activist, she makes funny memes and creates viral videos. But partly to take her mind off Momma’s failing health and partly to please Viola and Meryl, she When Destiny posts a video ridiculing Sen. Musgrave (I assume he's the current senator?) as the NRA’s puppet. She doesn’t expect much but it goes viral, in days and snowballs to something much bigger that has caught national attention. A wave of activism begins against “NRA politicians” from her Waco High peers. and leading the activism is Davian, son of Tanya Matthews's son. She Destiny finds his brilliance and eloquence only second to Chad’s mystery and charm, who happens to be the son of the owner of Waco Ammunitions. (This sentence should be reworked.  "Davian's brilliance and eloquence are eclipsed only by the mystery and charm of Chad - whose father happens to own Waco Ammunitions.") The biggest employer in Waco.

The NRA are willing to do anything to avoid Waco being an example for the entire nation to follow. They When the NRA launch a campaign against Viola revealing her Viola's illicit past dealings with them, NRA. Tanya's campaign is derailed and the relationships between Destiny, Chad and Davian is are severely tested. In this new life, Destiny cannot begin by failing fail in the first real cause she cares about and can’t afford to lose new friends as the threat of losing Momma her oldest one grows bigger day by day.

Grieving Aloud (all caps) is a 70,000 word YA Contemporary Drama inspired by racial divides, recent teen activism and the ‘March for our Lives' movement in America. It would appeal to readers who enjoyed ‘Hope was Here' by Joan Bauer and ‘The Hate U Give’ by Angie Thomas.

 

 

This feels very synopsis-y, so I've tried to pare it down to the essentials.  Since Destiny's relationship with Momma is difficult to explain, I've just called her a friend and left it at that.  She's a background storyline, and not particularly relevant for querying purposes, other than setting up the fact that Destiny has a lot to lose personally.

 

Hope this helps!







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Commercial Fiction, Romance, Young Adult, Offbeat/Quirky, Chick Lit, Womens Fiction, Family Saga

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users