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The Island (YA Sci-Fi) UPDATE ON POST #67 WIll CRIT BACK

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#21 Oldborne

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 01:19 AM

Version 2.0 April 16, 2018

 

Dear Agent,

 

Rachel Ives is condemned to an island of horrors, aching to escape to the Nation, a place of freedom that she's only heard whispers about. I don't think the Nation should be mentioned in this paragraph. Make it all about the island. Why exactly is it horrific?

This Paragraph should then be about the Nation and how Rachel wants to get to it. 
The Supremes have made that impossible, giving the citizens two options: Hunger, cruel laws, ritualistic sacrifices, hard labor, whippings, sickness, and constant paranoia under the guise of unity and prosperity—or to be taken by the watchmen that police the town, an even worse fate. This doesn't really read like two choices. The first 'choice' is just a list of bad things and the second is vague to the point that it doesn't really mean anything to the uninformed reader. I'd do away with this 'choices' portion altogether and find another way to express the tyranny of the Supremes.     

To her horror horror is used already, her sister who she vowed to protect is taken, her own mother betrays her, and her best friend, the person she trusted most in the world, is sent to help the very government that aims to destroy her and everyone she loves. 

After a young man arrives to her workhouse claiming he knows her deceased father, she soon discovers that they are both a part of a much larger plan this implies that she didn't know she was part of any sort of plan. How could she not know? Unless the 'they' refers to her deceased father? to destroy what they believe is the most important asset to the Supremes—a machine that wipes away memories and controls the mind.

But Rachel soon 'X soon X' is fine if used sparingly. You used it in the paragraph above so I'd recommend rewording this comes to realize that this is only the tip of the iceberg: even with the machine destroyed, they aren’t safe. A little vague.

Hoping to find a way to escape This isn't new, she's been hoping to escape since the start of the query. Maybe now she's determined?, she embarks on a dangerous mission to save not only her sister, but thousands of innocent people marked for a fate worse than death vague, what fate?. With the odds against her, more citizens being taken by the day, a dangerous lockdown, and even harsher punishments, Rachel must navigate the chaos to find the one loophole vague that can save her people, but only if she will be able to find it in time… There's a little too much happening in the stakes. If you simplify and remove vagueness they'll appear a lot more threatening.  

THE ISLAND is a Young Adult Dystopian Novel complete at 96,000 words.  

 

I breezed over the first draft of this and you're certainly moving in the right direction but things are still a bit muddled and bogged down. You've got a bunch of vague sentences going on that you'll want to clarify but I can see a cool story in this. I'm sure you'll manage to sculpt this query into something great.

Best of luck. 


All feedback appreciated: http://agentquerycon...ust-sf-mystery/

 


#22 Bkrasnik

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Posted 21 April 2018 - 02:37 PM

Version 3.0 April 21

Hi everyone, thank you for the feedback thus far! I tried to address as many of the issues as possible. Hopefully, this is a step in the right direction. Once again, I appreciate any critique and will return the favor! 

 

Condemned to an island surrounded by electric poles, the citizens of the Western Division live in dilapidated huts with nothing to eat but buckets of margarine and cold pea soup. Enduring back breaking labor, strict laws, and public whippings, Rachel wants nothing more than to escape and protect her emotionally fragile sister. But the Supremes offer only two options: Silent obedience to the cruel way of life—or to be dragged off by the town watchmen, an even worse fate.

To her horror, her sister is taken and her best friend is sent to help the very Government that aims to destroy them.  

A strange incident finally gives Rachel hope: a young man named Keith, unlisted in the government records, arrives at her workhouse claiming to know her deceased father. She soon discovers he is part of a much larger plan to destroy the Supremes’ greatest asset: an impenetrable machine that strips away not only memories, but everything that makes someone human.

With time running out, nightmares of losing her sister forever, the unwitting betrayal of her best friend, and trying to save everyone from a terrible fate, she risks trusting Keith, following him on a dangerous mission to destroy the machine…only to find out there is a deeper evil in the generator that powers the island. As they piece together the last of the puzzle, they realize that an ultimate escape will kill the entire civilization on the island. But there is a glitch in the system, and if they are able to find it in time it will be the only thing that can save them.

THE ISLAND is a Young Adult Science Fiction Novel complete at 96,000 words.  (Based on the query, do you feel that this book would fit in the Science Fiction genre?)


Have a moment to offer up some very much appreciated feedback? :)

My Young Adult Dystopian Query: http://agentquerycon...ate-on-post-15/


#23 Dasein

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Posted 21 April 2018 - 02:42 PM

Hi everyone, thank you for the feedback thus far! I tried to address as many of the issues as possible. Hopefully, this is a step in the right direction. Once again, I appreciate any critique and will return the favor!

Condemned to an island [/size]surrounded by electric poles, the citizens of the Western Division live in dilapidated huts with nothing to eat but buckets of margarine and cold pea soup. Enduring back breaking labor, strict laws, and public whippings, [/size]Rachel wants nothing more than to escape and protect her emotionally fragile sister. But the Supremes [/size]offer only two options: Silent obedience to the cruel way of life—or to be dragged off by the town watchmen, an even worse fate.[/size]
To her horror, her sister is taken and her best friend is sent to help the very Government that aims to destroy them. [/size]
A strange incident finally gives Rachel hope: a young man named Keith, unlisted in the government records, arrives at her workhouse claiming to know her deceased father. She soon discovers he is part of a much larger plan to destroy the Supremes’ greatest asset: an impenetrable machine that strips away not only memories, but everything that makes someone human. [/size]
With time running out, nightmares of losing her sister forever, the unwitting betrayal of her best friend, and trying to save everyone from a terrible fate, she risks trusting Keith, following him on a dangerous mission to destroy the machine…only to find out there is a deeper evil in the generator that powers the island. As they piece together the last of the puzzle, they realize that an ultimate escape will kill the entire civilization on the island. But there is a glitch in the system, and if they are able to find it in time it will be the only thing that can save them.[/size]
THE ISLAND is a Young Adult Science Fiction Novel complete at 96,000 words. (Based on the query, do you feel that this book would fit in the Science Fiction genre?) [/size]


"surrounded by electric poles" I think you mean surrounded by an electric fence.

"with nothing to eat but buckets of margarine and cold pea soup." Take out the margarine part. It sounds too weird, and takes attention off what you want to say.

Also, can you use another name than the Supremes? In the US this means 2 things: an all girl pop group and the justices on the Supreme Court. Readers will be distracted by this too.

My query is under Spirits of Another Sort.

#24 BetsyEm

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Posted 21 April 2018 - 02:47 PM

Version 2.0 April 16, 2018

 

Dear Agent,

 

Rachel Ives how old is she? is condemned to an island of horrors, aching to escape to the Nation, a place of freedom that she only heard whispers about.

The Supremes have made that impossible, giving the citizens two options: Hunger, cruel laws, ritualistic sacrifices, hard labor, whippings, sickness, and constant paranoia under the guise of unity and prosperity—or to be taken by the watchmen that police the town, an even worse fate.  

To her horror, her sister who she vowed to protect is taken, her own mother betrays her, we hear about her mom here and then never again. Is she important? and her best friend, the person she trusted most in the world, is sent to help the very government that aims to destroy her and everyone she loves. How does her best friend affect Rachel's goals? Does she have to fight against her in the final action scenes? 

After a young man arrives to her workhouse claiming he knows her deceased father, knows, like present-tense? Is he alive? Thought-to-be-deceased? Either the tense should be changed, or we should find out it's possible he's still alive she soon discovers that they are both a part of a much larger plan to destroy what they believe is the most important asset to the Supremes—a machine that wipes away memories and controls the mind.

But Rachel soon comes to realize that this is only the tip of the iceberg: even with the machine destroyed, they aren’t safe.

Hoping to find a way to escape, she embarks on a dangerous mission to save not only her sister, but thousands of innocent people marked for a fate worse than death. With the odds against her, more citizens being taken by the day, a dangerous lockdown, and even harsher punishments, something specific here would be nice Rachel must navigate the chaos to find the one loophole that can save her people, but only if she will be able to find it in time… I wouldn't end with an elipsis here. Does she know that she's after a loophole? Is she after defeating the Supremes, or is she looking to escape like you mentino in your first paragraph?

THE ISLAND is a Young Adult Dystopian Novel complete at 96,000 words.  

 

Great strides from the first version! 

 

I think you have some pretty high stakes, which is great! Clarifying what's on the line will help make this stronger. 

 

I'm also wondering about your young man. What's his name? Since Rachel is your only named character you can totally afford to call him out. What role does he play in helping Rachel solve this thing? 

 

This story sounds really tense and fast-paced! Good luck! 


Currently working on my query for The Great and Terrible Carter Dynasty


#25 Bkrasnik

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Posted 22 April 2018 - 02:33 AM

Bump


Have a moment to offer up some very much appreciated feedback? :)

My Young Adult Dystopian Query: http://agentquerycon...ate-on-post-15/


#26 ShatteredSmooth

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Posted 22 April 2018 - 12:33 PM

 

Version 3.0 April 21

Hi everyone, thank you for the feedback thus far! I tried to address as many of the issues as possible. Hopefully, this is a step in the right direction. Once again, I appreciate any critique and will return the favor! 

 

Condemned to an island surrounded by electric poles, the citizens of the Western Division live in dilapidated huts with nothing to eat but buckets of margarine and cold pea soup. Enduring back breaking labor, strict laws, and public whippings, Rachel wants nothing more than to escape and protect her emotionally fragile sister. But the Supremes offer only two options: Silent obedience to the cruel way of life—or to be dragged off by the town watchmen, an even worse fate.

The first paragraph definitely hooks me, but I don't like waiting until the second clause of the second sentence to know who the character is. I'm also wondering what makes being dragged off worse. where are they being dragged off to? I may find out later. These are my initial thoughts on para 1

To her horror, her sister is taken and her best friend is sent to help the very Government that aims to destroy them.  Now I definitely want to know more about what being taken means. Also, I got the impression the government was oppressive in para 1, but not that it set out to destroy anyone. 

A strange incident just get to the incident finally gives Rachel hope: a young man named Keith, unlisted in the government records, arrives at her workhouse claiming to know her deceased father. She soon discovers he is part of a much larger plan to destroy the Supremes’ greatest asset: an impenetrable machine that strips away not only memories, but everything that makes someone human. Did she know about this machine before? Is this what happens to the people who get dragged off?

With time running out, nightmares of losing her sister forever, the unwitting betrayal of her best friend, and trying to save everyone from a terrible fate, she risks trusting Keith, following him on a dangerous mission to destroy the machine…only to find out there is a deeper evil in the generator that powers the island. As they piece together the last of the puzzle, they realize that an ultimate escape will kill the entire civilization on the island. But there is a glitch in the system, and if they are able to find it in time it will be the only thing that can save them. I got a little lost in this paragraph. 

THE ISLAND is a Young Adult Science Fiction Novel complete at 96,000 words.  (Based on the query, do you feel that this book would fit in the Science Fiction genre?)

Science fiction -- yes. Dystopian? Definitely

 

I haven't read the previous versions. With this one, the begining would be ok with a few adjustments, but I got lost near near the end. 



#27 BrookeJS

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Posted 22 April 2018 - 02:45 PM

 

Version 3.0 April 21

Hi everyone, thank you for the feedback thus far! I tried to address as many of the issues as possible. Hopefully, this is a step in the right direction. Once again, I appreciate any critique and will return the favor! 

 

Condemned to an island surrounded by electric poles, the citizens of the Western Division live in dilapidated huts with nothing to eat but buckets of margarine and cold pea soup ​This is disgusting and I love it lol. Although I'd just say butter not margarine. Enduring back breaking labor, strict laws, and public whippings, Rachel wants nothing more than to escape and protect her emotionally fragile sister ​I like this, super sweet and shows Rachel has compassion but she's also strong. But the Supremes ​(This may just be me but I laughed when I read this because I thought of Diana Ross, lol, sorry) offer only two options: Silent obedience to the cruel way of life—or to be dragged off by the town watchmen, an even worse fate. ​So, I wonder if this last sentence should go at the end of your query? Or perhaps reword it? "Silent obedience is the cruel way of life, if one doesn't comply they will be dragged away by the town watchmen, and once you are no one ever comes back" (I think that something around that vein might build more suspense when we learn in the next paragraph her sister is taken.

To her horror, her sister is taken and her best friend is sent to help the very Government that aims to destroy them.  ​I do like this, but if no one knows what happens when someone is taken by the watchmen (I'm assuming) then how does she know her best friend is helping the government? Maybe say he aligns himself with them? Betrayal is always fun and powerful stakes.

A strange incident finally gives Rachel hope: a young man named Keith, unlisted in the government records, arrives at her workhouse claiming to know her deceased father ​I'd mention her father sooner. It's not that it doesn't work but it does seem a little out of the blue. She soon discovers he is part of a much larger plan to destroy the Supremes’ greatest asset: an impenetrable machine that strips away not only memories, but everything that makes someone human.

With time running out, nightmares of losing her sister forever, the unwitting betrayal of her best friend, and trying to save everyone from a terrible fate, she risks trusting Keith, following him on a dangerous mission to destroy the machine…​No ellipses, period or comma. only to find out there is a deeper evil ​(I'm assuming there is no magic in this world as it's sci-fi, so I'm assuming people and machines are involved so this reference to evil is a little confusing)in the generator that powers the island ​Really long sentence. Consider revising or breaking up into a few shorter sentences, the nightmare parts of her sister doesn't feel important to this last paragraph. As they piece together the last of the puzzle, they realize that an ultimate escape will kill the entire civilization on the island ​I'm a little confused by this. But there is a glitch in the system, and if they are able to find it in time it will be the only thing that can save them. ​I like this.

THE ISLAND is a Young Adult Science Fiction Novel complete at 96,000 words.  (Based on the query, do you feel that this book would fit in the Science Fiction genre?) ​Yes, it reminds me of the movie by the same name with Scarlet Johannsson and Ewan McGregor. 

 

Returning the favor (I don't believe I've previously commented on this.) I probably should have used purple because that seems like a lot of red but I'm mostly asking questions. I like this, I think it's improved a lot from your earlier versions. I think with a few small tweaks you're gonna be there. I especially like the beginning because it really grabs my attention. If you can keep that same drama from start to finish then you're query is going to be badass as it is I feel it starts to taper off a little toward the end. Your book sounds like it has a lot of racing against the clock. If you can I'd incorporate that feeling into the query. Good work! I'd totally read this =)


If you have time I would love feedback on my query: http://agentquerycon...-back/?p=356112

If you could spare a moment I would really appreciate critiques on my synopsis: http://agentquerycon...ntasy/?p=355669

 


#28 cmmg

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Posted 22 April 2018 - 05:35 PM

 

Version 3.0 April 21

Hi everyone, thank you for the feedback thus far! I tried to address as many of the issues as possible. Hopefully, this is a step in the right direction. Once again, I appreciate any critique and will return the favor! 

 

Condemned to an island surrounded by electric poles(fences?), the citizens of the Western Division live in dilapidated huts with nothing to eat but buckets of margarine and cold pea soup. (I think you need to cut down some of the world building to make this more engaging, the labour and whippings are more conflict than eating meager meals) Enduring back breaking labor, strict laws, and public whippings, Rachel wants nothing more than to escape and protect her emotionally fragile sister. But the Supremes offer only two options: Silent obedience to the cruel way of life—or to be dragged off by the town watchmen, an even worse fate.

To her horror, her sister is taken and her best friend is sent to help the very Government that aims to destroy them.  

A strange incident finally gives Rachel hope: a young man named Keith, unlisted in the government records, arrives at her workhouse claiming to know her deceased father. She soon discovers (I know there should be a joining word but "discovers" sounds a little passive) he is part of a much larger plan to destroy the Supremes’ greatest asset: an impenetrable machine that strips away not only memories, but everything that makes someone human. (I like the ideas presented here, but this could be said a little snappier.)

With time running out, nightmares of losing her sister forever, the unwitting betrayal of her best friend, and trying to save everyone from a terrible fate (You're trying to get a lot in here. I know it all seems important, but rhythmically stick with 3 things, you could combine losing her sister and saving everyone into one clause ala "with time running out, the unwitting betrayl of her best friend and trying to save everyone, her sister especially, from a terrible fate" or something), she risks trusting Keith, following him on a dangerous mission to destroy the machine…only to find out But ("...only to find out" reads a little melodramatic) there is a deeper evil in the generator that powers the island. As they piece together the last of the puzzle, they realize that an ultimate escape will kill the entire civilization on the island. But there is a glitch in the system, and if they are able to find it in time it will be the only thing that can save them.

THE ISLAND is a Young Adult Science Fiction Novel complete at 96,000 words.  (Based on the query, do you feel that this book would fit in the Science Fiction genre?)

 

 

I think you can say Sci-Fi yeah. It's sort of dystopian, but depending on what the machine is, and that it can steal memories, I'd say you can say Sci-Fi. If you wanted to be vague you could say speculative fiction.

I think overall, you're trying to do a lot of things in some areas where you need to pare down. The hook could be punchier if it was simplified. The last paragraph of the query with the summation of her issues could also be a bit more focused.


_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

synopsis


#29 galian84

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Posted 22 April 2018 - 08:04 PM

 

Condemned to an island surrounded by electric poles (fences? Poles don't sound very threatening...can't the citizens just go between the poles and escape?), the citizens of the Western Division live in dilapidated huts with nothing to eat but buckets of margarine and cold pea soup (how comes this is all they have to eat? Is the island short on food supply?). Enduring back breaking labor, strict laws, and public whippings, (Since this is YA, mention her age) Rachel wants nothing more than to escape and protect her emotionally fragile sister (understandable). But the Supremes (I keep visualizing the Motown band here...I'd maybe consider changing the name or just calling them 'the leaders' for the sake of the query) offer only two options: Silent obedience to the cruel way of life—or to be dragged off by the town watchmen, an even worse fate (why? What will happen to them? Will they be killed? Tortured? Exiled? Etc).

To her horror, her sister is taken (by who? The Supremes? The watchmen? Random thugs?) and her best friend is sent to help the very Government (don't think this needs to be capitalized. Also, the government = The Supremes?) that aims to destroy them (I thought the government was okay with the citizens as long as they follow their rules. Now they want to destroy them?).  

A strange incident finally gives Rachel hope: a (Capitalize) young man named Keith, unlisted in the government records, arrives at her workhouse claiming to know her deceased father. (Consider splitting into two sentences: A Young man named Keith. Unlisted in the government records, he arrives...etc etc. Something like that) She soon discovers (how does she discover this?) he is part of a much larger plan to destroy the Supremes’ greatest asset: an impenetrable machine that strips away not only memories, but everything that makes someone human. (interesting!)

With time running out, nightmares of losing her sister forever, the unwitting betrayal of her best friend (I thought her best friend was sent away to help the government? Or did he/she volunteer?), and trying to save everyone from a terrible fate, she risks trusting Keith, following him on a dangerous mission to destroy the machine…only to find out there is a deeper evil (Interesting, but vague. Can you briefly tell us what this deeper evil is and why it's so bad?) in the generator that powers the island. As they piece together the last of the puzzle, they realize that an ultimate escape (from the island?) will kill the entire civilization on the island (huh? How?). But there is a glitch in the system, and if they are able to find it in time it will be the only thing that can save them. (I'm sorry, but you've lost me with these last two sentences. What is this puzzle they're trying to solve? What's the glitch and how will it save them?)

THE ISLAND is a Young Adult Science Fiction Novel complete at 96,000 words.  (Based on the query, do you feel that this book would fit in the Science Fiction genre?) I'm not too familiar with the sci-fi genre, so I can't give you a clear answer to this...hopefully others can.

 

Disclaimer: I didn't thoroughly read through the other crits, so apologies if I repeated anything someone else mentioned. Tired eyes from staring at my own query letter all day long, and all. This is definitely better than your first draft, but still vague in parts. You're getting there, though, and believe me, I know how many revisions it can take to get a query just right. I understood what was going on in the first few paragraphs, but I got confused in the last two. 

 

Keep plugging away. Good luck!



#30 TeaTime

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Posted 23 April 2018 - 08:15 PM

 

Version 3.0 April 21

Condemned to an island surrounded by electric poles (Like tesla coils?), the citizens of the Western Division live in dilapidated huts with nothing to eat but buckets of margarine and cold pea soup (While these details are vivid, I'd maybe cut or pare them down to keep things moving). Enduring back breaking labor, strict laws, and public whippings, Rachel wants nothing more than to escape and protect her emotionally fragile sister. But the Supremes offer only two options: Silent obedience to the cruel way of life—or to be dragged off by the town watchmen, an even worse fate. (Do the citizens know what happens to the dragged off people, or is it a mystery?)

 

To her horror, her sister is taken (By the watchmen?) and her best friend is sent to help the very Government that aims to destroy them.

 

A strange incident finally gives Rachel hope: a young man named Keith, unlisted in the government records, arrives at her workhouse claiming to know her deceased father (Past tense). She soon discovers he is part of a much larger plan to destroy the Supremes’ greatest asset: an impenetrable (Impenetrable as in invulnerable? That wouldn't make sense because it would be pointless to try to destroy it then) machine that strips away not only memories, but everything that makes someone human.

 

 

With time running out, nightmares of losing her sister forever, the unwitting betrayal of her best friend, and trying to save everyone from a terrible fate, she risks trusting Keith, following him on a dangerous mission to destroy the machine… (Ellipsis feel melodramtic.) only to find out there is a deeper evil in the generator that powers the island. As they piece together the last of the puzzle, they realize that an ultimate escape will kill the entire civilization on the island. But there is a glitch in the system, and if they are able to find it in time it will be the only thing that can save them. (The plot in this paragraph feels like it's twisted back on itself one too many times.)

 

THE ISLAND is a Young Adult Science Fiction Novel complete at 96,000 words.  (Based on the query, do you feel that this book would fit in the Science Fiction genre?) (I'd say Science Fiction is fitting.)

 

This version is better, & it will be even better after some trimming of some unnecessary phrases & a little more clarification here and there. Keep going, this query is coming along  :smile: 


Feel Free to Check Out My Current Query Letter Here, Thank You


#31 ADFinley

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Posted 28 April 2018 - 01:16 PM

 

Version 3.0 April 21

Hi everyone, thank you for the feedback thus far! I tried to address as many of the issues as possible. Hopefully, this is a step in the right direction. Once again, I appreciate any critique and will return the favor! 

 

Condemned to an island surrounded by electric poles, The citizens of The Western Division live in dilapidated huts with nothing to eat but buckets of margarine and cold pea soup. endure back-breaking labor, strict laws, and public whippings. Rachel wants nothing more than to escape and protect her emotionally fragile sister, but the Supremes offer only two options: Silent obedience to the cruel way of life—or to be dragged off by the town watchmen, an even worse fate. (I think this is a succinct intro to the ordinary world. The poles/electrical fence feel like an unecessary detail.)

To her horror, her sister is taken [by the town watchmen?] and her best friend is sent [maybe: volunteers? Otherwise it feels like the govt forced him and there is less drama.] to help the very Government that aims to destroy[maybe: incarcerate? They don't appear to be under threat/destroyed] them.  (This feels like the core of the story and I'm assuming the story ends when Rachel gets her sister back, making this your inciting incident.)

A strange incident finally gives Rachel hope: [When] a young man named Keith arrives, unlisted in the government records, arrives at her workhouse claiming to know her deceased father. she soon discovers he is part of a much larger plan to destroy the Supremes’ greatest asset: an impenetrable machine that strips away not only memories but everything that makes someone human. (this paragraph feels like a different story/conflict. Is there a way to tie it back to the sister? Is Keith helping Rachel rescue her sister? If not, it might be a good idea to remove the sister conflict. If so, you should state how Keith's adventure will help Rachel get what she wants: her sister.)

With time running out, nightmares of losing her sister forever, the unwitting betrayal of her best friend, and trying to save everyone from a terrible fate, she risks trusting Keith, following him on a dangerous mission to destroy the machine (personally, it sounds like a lot of stuff happened to Rachel's family but this story is really about her adventure with Keith. It might be a good idea to fade the sister to the background because the conflicts sound muddy.)…only to find out there is a deeper evil in the generator that powers the island. As they piece together the last of the puzzle, they realize that an ultimate escape will kill the entire civilization on the island. But there is a glitch in the system, and if they are able to find it in time it will be the only thing that can save them. (This line feels like it gives away too much of the story.)

THE ISLAND is a Young Adult Science Fiction Novel complete at 96,000 words.  (Based on the query, do you feel that this book would fit in the Science Fiction genre?) Yes, totally.

 

 

 

Hope it's helpful.

 

I like to use Jane Reid's tips:

 

Who is the main character? (Rachel)

What does she want? (Her sister? To destroy the generator? It's unclear.)
What's keeping her from getting it? (Dystopian government. I'd also recommend adding another conflict on a personal level. It sounds like she has trust issues with Keith. I'd recommend amping that up.)
What will she have to sacrifice/how will she have to change to get what she wants? (This is her internal conflict in the story and it's not clear what it is. How is she different from the beginning of the story to the end of the story?)



#32 LynnS

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Posted 28 April 2018 - 06:41 PM

 

Version 3.0 April 21

Hi everyone, thank you for the feedback thus far! I tried to address as many of the issues as possible. Hopefully, this is a step in the right direction. Once again, I appreciate any critique and will return the favor! 

 

Condemned to an island surrounded by electric poles, the citizens of the Western Division live in dilapidated huts with nothing to eat but buckets of margarine and cold pea soup. <<I have a dry sense of humor and I found myself chuckling at this. Was that your intention?  Consider placing the sentence I crossed out right here and delete the first part of the following sentence. Enduring back breaking labor, strict laws, and public whippings, Rachel wants nothing more than to escape and protect her emotionally fragile sister. But the Supremes offer only two options: Silent obedience to the cruel way of life—or to be dragged off by the town watchmen, an even worse fate.

To her horror, her Rachel's sister is taken and her best friend is sent to help the very Government that aims to destroy them, but a strange incidence gives her hope.  

A strange incident finally gives Rachel hope:  Combine with prior paragraph >> a young man named Keith, unlisted in the government records, arrives at her workhouse claiming to know her deceased father. She soon discovers he is part of a much larger plan to destroy the Supremes’ greatest asset: an impenetrable machine that strips away not only memories, but everything that makes someone human.

With time running out, nightmares of losing her sister forever, the unwitting betrayal of her best friend, and trying to save everyone from a terrible fate, she risks trusting Keith, following him on a dangerous mission to destroy the machine…only to find out there is a deeper evil in the generator that powers the island. As they piece together the last of the puzzle, they realize that an ultimate escape will kill the entire civilization on the island. But there is a glitch in the system, and if they are able to find it in time it will be the only thing that can save them. I think these last two sentences could be condensed and re-written to flow smoother.

THE ISLAND is a Young Adult Science Fiction Novel complete at 96,000 words.  (Based on the query, do you feel that this book would fit in the Science Fiction genre?) Yes, I think so. It could also be considered dystopian.

You've done a nice job of summarizing the plot and this is a book I would definitely read. My overall suggestion is to tighten up the writing, perhaps splitting some of the longer sentences into shorter ones. This is my first query critique. I hope it's helpful. Please let me know if you have questions.



#33 Bkrasnik

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Posted 29 April 2018 - 12:18 AM

April 29, 2018

Hi everyone, this is my most recent draft!

Quite a few of you mentioned that I should change electric poles to an electric fence, but this is not the word that represents what I mean. These electric poles are more like capacitors with invisible tesla coils located in the ocean surrounding the island. I don't know how to say this without being too wordy, but if anyone has suggestions, please let me know! 

 

Condemned to an island surrounded by electric poles, the citizens of the Western Division live in dilapidated huts with nothing to eat but cold pea soup. Enduring back breaking labor, harsh laws, and public whippings, Rachel Ives wants nothing more than to escape and protect her emotionally fragile sister. But the Originators offer only two options: Silent obedience to the cruel way of life—or to be dragged off by the town watchmen and never return.

To her horror, her sister is taken by the watchmen and in an unprecedented move, her best friend Zander is among the few chosen by the Originators to help further their oppressive regime.

A strange incident finally gives Rachel hope: a young man named Keith, unlisted in the government records, arrives at her workhouse claiming that her deceased father is very much alive and that he uncovered a secret governmental machine that strips away not only memories, but everything that makes someone human.

With time running out, hoping to find her father, and trying to save her sister and everyone else from a terrible fate, she risks trusting Keith, following him on a dangerous mission to destroy the machine. Except, there is a deeper evil in the generator that powers the island, where any means of escape floods the island killing the entire civilization. But there is a glitch in the system, and if they are able to find it in time it will be the only thing that can save them. (Am I giving away too much in the end? Should I tie it up earlier?)

THE ISLAND is a Young Adult Science Fiction Novel complete at 96,000 words.


Have a moment to offer up some very much appreciated feedback? :)

My Young Adult Dystopian Query: http://agentquerycon...ate-on-post-15/


#34 BrookeJS

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Posted 29 April 2018 - 12:26 AM

 

April 29, 2018

Hi everyone, this is my most recent draft!

Quite a few of you mentioned that I should change electric poles to an electric fence, but this is not the word that represents what I mean. These electric poles are more like capacitors with invisible tesla coils located in the ocean surrounding the island. I don't know how to say this without being too wordy, but if anyone has suggestions, please let me know! 

 

Condemned to an island surrounded by electric poles, the citizens of the Western Division live in dilapidated huts with nothing to eat but cold pea soup. Enduring back breaking labor, harsh laws, and public whippings, Rachel Ives wants nothing more than to escape and protect her emotionally fragile sister. But the Originators offer only two options: Silent obedience to the cruel way of life—or to be dragged off by the town watchmen and never return.

To her horror, her sister is taken by the watchmen and in an unprecedented move, her best friend Zander is among the few chosen by the Originators to help further their oppressive regime.

A strange incident finally gives Rachel hope: ​(Maybe say "Hope finds Rachel in the form of a young man named Keith, unlisted in the government records, arrives at her workhouse claiming that her deceased father is very much alive and that he uncovered a secret governmental machine that strips away not only memories, but everything that makes someone human.

With time running out, hoping to find her father, and trying to save her sister and everyone else from a terrible fate, she risks trusting Keith, following him on a dangerous mission to destroy the machine. Except, there is a deeper evil in the generator that powers the island, where any means of escape floods the island killing the entire civilization. But there is a glitch in the system, and if they are able to find it in time it will be the only thing that can save them. (Am I giving away too much in the end? Should I tie it up earlier?)

THE ISLAND is a Young Adult Science Fiction Novel complete at 96,000 words.

 

 

Hey there! I like this a lot! I really think you've come a long way. I don't have much to critique because I think you do a good job of laying out what's happening. As far as giving too much away I don't think so. I've read recent articles by agents and authors that agents want a little bit of a spoiler. Some twist or tidbit that leaves them wanting more. I found a helpful format to be: hook, inciting incident, mission/motivation, "the new guy" (supporting character would be Keith), world building, raise stakes, the final choice. ​So far I think you've mostly go those covered!


If you have time I would love feedback on my query: http://agentquerycon...-back/?p=356112

If you could spare a moment I would really appreciate critiques on my synopsis: http://agentquerycon...ntasy/?p=355669

 


#35 Tanja

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Posted 30 April 2018 - 06:22 AM

Thank you so much for your feedback on my query. It was very helpful. Going to try and help you as much as I can.

 

April 29, 2018

Hi everyone, this is my most recent draft!

Quite a few of you mentioned that I should change electric poles to an electric fence, but this is not the word that represents what I mean. These electric poles are more like capacitors with invisible tesla coils located in the ocean surrounding the island. I don't know how to say this without being too wordy, but if anyone has suggestions, please let me know! 

 

Condemned to an island surrounded by electric poles going by your explanation above about the poles, I'd say it's the wrong word. I was thinking of pillars but that's wrong too. The only thing I can think of is invisible capacitors or, I know you won't like it but invisible electric fence does make the most sense., the citizens of the Western Division live in dilapidated huts with nothing to eat but cold pea soup. Enduring back breaking labor, harsh laws, and public whippings, Rachel Ives wants nothing more than to escape and protect her emotionally fragile sister. But the Originators offer only two options: Silent obedience to the cruel way of life—or to be dragged off by the town watchmen and never return. Overall I'm missing the urge. I don't like using the question WHY when I critique a query, however, in your case I'd like to know why they were condemned to an island. I personally agree with LynnS and would say, start with The citizens of the Western... then feed in the fence. It's also a little long for a hook. Consider creating one short hook and then go into the details.

To her horror, her sister is taken by the watchmen and in an unprecedented move, her best friend Zander since you don't mention him again later in the query, it's not important to mention his name. Just stick to the fact that the watchmen took her sister is among the few chosen by the Originators to help further their oppressive regime.

A strange incident too vague finally  this word isn't needed because you haven't stated what she's done to help her sister gives Rachel hope: a young man named Keith, unlisted in the government records, arrives at her workhouse claiming that her deceased father is very much alive hmm this made me wonder a little because as far as I understood the plot so far she escaped the island but you never mentioned that her family is dead. So this is coming as a bit of a surprise and that he uncovered a secret governmental machine that strips away not only memories, but everything that makes someone human. :cool: Sorry but I really had to chuckle here. In a very very distant way, our stories are somehow alike.

With time running out, hoping to find her father, and trying to save her sister and everyone else to connect more with Rachel, add who those people are. I know it sounds sooo pedantic but I know a little detail like friends and family can go a long way instead of just everyone else.   from a terrible fate, she risks trusting Keith, following him on a dangerous mission to destroy the machine. Except, there is a deeper evil in the generator that powers the island, where any means of escape floods the island killing the entire civilization. not sure if you really need this. I think this is where you're going too deep, but the glitch you mention now is a good ending for the query But there is a glitch in the system, and if they are able to find it in time it will be the only thing that can save them. (Am I giving away too much in the end? Should I tie it up earlier?)

THE ISLAND is a Young Adult Science Fiction Novel complete at 96,000 words.

 

 

overall pretty good. I got a little lost with the amount of characters. Zander was mentioned but never returned in the query. The father turns up too late in the query. I think he should find a place at the beginning because he seems important to Rachel. A bit of fine tuning and you'll be fine.

 

Good luck


Query:  10 DAY BETRAYAL

             10 DAY CONSPIRACY

             RABBIT 76 (NEW PROJECT)

 

Twitter: @tccorrey


#36 Bkrasnik

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Posted 01 May 2018 - 11:46 AM

bump


Have a moment to offer up some very much appreciated feedback? :)

My Young Adult Dystopian Query: http://agentquerycon...ate-on-post-15/


#37 Bkrasnik

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Posted 01 May 2018 - 11:50 AM

Thank you so much for your feedback on my query. It was very helpful. Going to try and help you as much as I can.

 

overall pretty good. I got a little lost with the amount of characters. Zander was mentioned but never returned in the query. The father turns up too late in the query. I think he should find a place at the beginning because he seems important to Rachel. A bit of fine tuning and you'll be fine.

 

Good luck

 

Hi Tanja, 

 

Thank you for your feedback. I just have one question--from your understanding Rachel escapes the island, but where did you get this implication from? I only stated she wanted to escape, not that she already did. I just want to make sure that I am not giving off that message in some way, because this would be inaccurate. Thanks for your help! 


Have a moment to offer up some very much appreciated feedback? :)

My Young Adult Dystopian Query: http://agentquerycon...ate-on-post-15/


#38 DinaK

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Posted 01 May 2018 - 02:28 PM

Perhaps a deadly electric grid or network could be ambiguous enough for the query letter. Besides you are only trying to convey a concept. Don’t get too hung up on the technical accuracies. Besides, the agent won't remember if it was polls, coils, grid, or network by the time she reads the book.



#39 Heliagrey

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Posted 01 May 2018 - 06:52 PM

 

 

Condemned to an island surrounded by electric poles, the citizens of the Western Division live in dilapidated huts with nothing to eat but cold pea soup. (I understand that electric poles is closest to your meaning- but I agree that to a reader, it sounds odd. I'd suggest coming up with a term or calling it an electric grid for clarity. I'm also not sure the detail of cold pea soup is important. I do kind of wish I knew why they were condemned to the island. I know it's hard to fit a lot of background information, and that a book has so many more working parts than the query- but I think you might have room for it with some curtailing of other details.) Enduring back breaking labor, harsh laws, and public whippings, Rachel Ives wants nothing more than to escape and protect her emotionally fragile sister. But the Originators offer only two options: silent obedience to the cruel way of life—or to be dragged off (I'm struggling with 'to be dragged off"- it makes perfect sense, but I wish there was a way to say it without the "to be"  because I think it interrupts the flow.) by the town watchmen and never return.

To her horror, her sister is taken by the watchmen and in an unprecedented move, her best friend Zander is among the few chosen by the Originators to help further their oppressive regime. (How?/Why?)

A strange incident finally gives Rachel hope: a young man named Keith, unlisted in the government records, arrives at her workhouse claiming that her deceased father is very much alive and that he uncovered a secret governmental machine that strips away not only memories, but everything that makes someone human. (Cool.)

With time running out, hoping to find her father, and trying to save her sister and everyone else from a terrible fate, (kind of chunky sentence in the beginning) she risks trusting Keith, following him on a dangerous mission to destroy the machine. Except, there is a deeper evil in the generator that powers the island, where any means of escape floods the island killing the entire civilization. But there is a glitch in the system, and if they are able to find it in time it will be the only thing that can save them. (Am I giving away too much in the end? Should I tie it up earlier?)  (I don't see how you could tie it up earlier. I think it's fine here, although the flow is markedly different than the rest of the piece.)

THE ISLAND is a Young Adult Science Fiction Novel complete at 96,000 words.

It's intriguing! I want to read more, and I am curious what the purpose of the island is. I understand the stakes, and I like the escape flood aspect... you know, maybe you're right that the flood component needs to be earlier. Anyway, I think the biggest thing here is sentence flow- you shift structure a few times internally. I know that's easy to do when you're making so many revisions, so maybe in the end, read it aloud to yourself and see how it works together. :)



#40 punitrastogi

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 02:31 AM

Hi,

 

Thanks for helping out on my query.

 

Here are my two cents:

 

April 29, 2018

Hi everyone, this is my most recent draft!

Quite a few of you mentioned that I should change electric poles to an electric fence, but this is not the word that represents what I mean. These electric poles are more like capacitors with invisible tesla coils located in the ocean surrounding the island. I don't know how to say this without being too wordy, but if anyone has suggestions, please let me know! 

 

Condemned (by who? If the Originators, it would be a good time to mention them) to an island surrounded by electric poles, the citizens of the Western Division live in dilapidated huts with nothing to eat but cold pea soup. Enduring back breaking labor, harsh laws, and public whippings, Rachel Ives wants nothing more than to escape and protect her emotionally fragile (is this critical?) sister. But the Originators offer only two options: Silent obedience to the cruel way of life—or to be dragged off by the town watchmen and never return.

To her horror, her sister is taken by the watchmen and in an unprecedented move, her best friend Zander (I agree with a comment above that since he is not mentioned again, maybe drop this part) is among the few chosen by the Originators to help further their oppressive regime.

A strange incident finally gives Rachel hope (This would be a good time to mention that "Rachel now has only one goal in mind - the freedom of her sister, but is failing miserably until..."): a young man named Keith, unlisted in the government records, arrives at her workhouse claiming that her deceased father is very much alive and that he uncovered a secret governmental machine that strips away not only memories, but everything that makes someone human. (How does this machine relate to her sister's abduction or the misery of the citizens?)

With time running out, hoping to find her father, and trying to save her sister and everyone else from a terrible fate, she risks trusting Keith, following him on a dangerous mission to destroy the machine (If i had an answer to the last question, i would not have been confused here). Except, there is a deeper evil in the generator that powers the island, where any means of escape floods the island killing the entire civilization. (This sentence looks clumsy. Is the evil an entity or a booby-trap? Who's escape will cause the flooding? Anyone's? Isn't that a poorly made design, cause someone or the other will try to escape every now and then?)  But there is a glitch in the system, and if they are able to find it in time it will be the only thing that can save them. (Am I giving away too much in the end? Should I tie it up earlier?) (Not a spoiler. But if you cover the previous points, this would either be clear for the reader or for you.)

THE ISLAND is a Young Adult Science Fiction Novel complete at 96,000 words.

 

Hope it helps. :)







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