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The Island (YA Sci-Fi) UPDATE ON POST #75 WIll CRIT BACK

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#61 sarahja

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Posted 17 June 2018 - 03:36 PM

June 16 

 

Hi All, 

Here is my newest revision. I have been playing around with various names for the leaders of the island, and the one I like most at this point is the Elite's. Thoughts? 

Rachel Ives is condemned to an island surrounded by an electric grid where back-breaking labor, harsh laws, and public whippings are the way of life. Maybe mention the watchmen here...like those who resist are taken by the watchmen, never to return. She wants nothing more than to escape and protect her emotionally fragile sister, but the Elite’s only offer two options: silent obedience or be taken by watchmen to never return.

When a young maybe another adjective that hints at his personalityman named Keith, unlisted in the government records, arrives at Rachel’s workhouse, she learns he is here to destroy a secret governmental machine that neurologically strips the citizens of their humanity, turning them into humanoids. A machine used on the citizens taken by watchmen. Show her horror, and show the wanting to escape/protecting emotionally fragile sister Marybeth. Does she find out info and keep it secret to protect him/the chance of his succeeding? Something like that will give us more a hint at her personality.

To her horror, Rachel’s sister, Marybeth, is taken by the watchmen. I think this line could have a bigger impact either on its own or at the end of paragraph. Also, if it were punchier. Like...Then Marybeth is taken by the watchmen.

Blinded by the desire to save her before it’s too lateYou can make this stronger. Blinded by desire/before it's too late are quite common phrases, so they don't hit us as hard as they should, she joins Keith on a dangerous mission to destroy We know this is Keith's mission, so I think you can lose it/add another detail like their destination or what they have to do, like breaking in to somewhere or overcoming someone. the machine. But Rachel soon learns that the machine is the one thing keeping the citizens alive—without it, they are useless to the Elite’s who rule the island.  Rachel and Keith must choose between risking thousands of lives by destroying the machine and risking thousands of lives for a chance of freedom and escape, or surrendering and becomingbeing mindless slaves to the governmental machine forever.

 

THE ISLAND is a Young Adult Science Fiction Novel complete at 96,000 words. My fiction writing advice articles have been published in EveryWritersResource.com & Black Fox Literary Magazine and my short stories have been published in The Zodiac Review & UIC Red Shoes Review Literary Magazine.

I like this! I think it's really clear and the plot is laid out well. But I do think that adding a few more details could make it stand out more, if that makes sense? I think a bit more flavour would make you NEED to read this. What makes it stand out from other dystopian YA novels? Details really make something like this sing and you don't need to add more lines, necessarily, just swap what you already have for more specific wording/situations. If that makes sense. Like do they break in somewhere? Are they risking lives of people around them? Stuff like that could function as scenes from a trailor, nearly. Stuff the agent'll look forward to reading, stuff that makes them want to request.

 

What makes Rachel stand out as a character? You can maybe show her motivation/desperation even more clearly if you maybe put the escape/protect her sister after keith is introduced, as if she would be tempted to help him except she has to protect sister, then you hit us with her sister being taken. I don't know, just a suggestion.

 

I also think that the conflict between freedom/possible death and captivity/safety, and the conflict between saving her sister/risking many are two things you should really bring out. Read that last pargagraph aloud and make it as clear/fat-free as possible.

 

I hope this helps! Really, this query is so streamlined and simple, congrats.


If you have the time, please take a look at my query: http://agentquerycon...can-ya-fantasy/


#62 yawriter

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Posted 17 June 2018 - 03:37 PM

June 16 

 

Hi All, 

Here is my newest revision. I have been playing around with various names for the leaders of the island, and the one I like most at this point is the Elite's. Thoughts? 

Rachel Ives is condemned to an island surrounded by an electric grid where back-breaking labor, harsh laws, and public whippings are the way of life. She wants nothing more than to escape and protect her emotionally fragile sister This makes me think she's fairly young as a sister. I'd like to know what ages these girls are....who is older?, but the Elite’s only offer two options: silent obedience or be taken by watchmen to never return.

 

 

When a young man named Keith--unlisted in the government records-- (I feel like this is a focal point and with the dashes, it makes it more impactful than commas..but it's your choice) arrives at Rachel’s workhouse, she learns he is here to destroy a secret governmental machine that neurologically strips the citizens of their humanity, turning them into humanoids. This was a super long sentence. Can you break it up some how? A machine used on the citizens taken by watchmen.

 

To her horror, Rachel’s sister, Marybeth, is taken by the watchmen. ​what is the cause and effect here? They just took her?  No reason? Or because Rachel was talking to Keith they took her? Seems out of place after that last paragraph. Blinded by the desire to save her before it’s too late, she joins Keith on a dangerous mission to destroy the machine. But the machine is the one thing keeping the citizens alive—without it, they are useless to the Elite’s. too many spaces here Rachel must choose between risking thousands of lives by destroying the machine for a chance of freedom and escape, or being mindless slaves to the governmental machine forever.

 

THE ISLAND is a Young Adult Science Fiction Novel complete at 96,000 words. My fiction writing advice articles have been published in EveryWritersResource.com & Black Fox Literary Magazine and my short stories have been published in The Zodiac Review & UIC Red Shoes Review Literary Magazine.



#63 smoskale

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 09:07 AM

Condemned to an island surrounded by an electric grid, the citizens of the Western Division live in dilapidated huts and endure back-breaking labor, harsh laws, and public whippings under the eyes of the Colonials. This first sentence is too long, and too impersonal, to hook us. I would start with Rachel, then expand the view to her people. Actually, I would drop the first sentence, and weave the political detail throughout the query. Rachel Ives wants nothing more than to escape and protect her emotionally fragile sister, this is good, shows us she is a good person, makes us care. but the Colonials offer only two options: Silent obedience to the cruel way of life or be taken by watchmen never to return passive voice here is not good. Try for a strong verb. or the watchman will disappear you, or the watchmen drag you away never to return, or something.

 

When ​Keith, a young man named Keith, unlisted in the records this is the first time we hear about records, and we know nothing about their significance. If they are important, you need to explain. But maybe just drop the reference and say something like a young man nobody has heard about, arrives at Rachel’s workhouse, she and her best friend disobey curfew to investigate the reason for his arrival. They uncover a dead body, with misleading this is odd word choice: if the evidence links to Keith, then it's not misleading; perhaps drop the word, or say something like confusing evidence seemingly... evidence linking Keith to the murder.

 

Rachel soon learns that Keith has a connection to her dead father that he claims is alive and the real reason for his arrival—to destroy a secret governmental machine that strips away not only memories, but everything that makes someone human—a machine used on the citizens taken by watchmen. Oy vey, this is a long, long sentence with way too much information. I would break it down into several. 

Keith tells Rachel that the father she has thought dead is actually alive. What's more, Keith reveals to her his mission–– to destroy a secret government machine that wipes away memories and the very humanity of citizens the watchmen detain. 

 

Meanwhile, Rachel’s sister, Marybeth, goes looking for her and is taken by watchmen.active voice: Meanwhile, the watchmen catch Marybeth looking for Rachel, and take her in (or something) Crippled by the news, Rachel vows to do everything in her power to save her.

 

Blinded by the fear of losing Marybeth and the sentence above does this job already, this clause is unnecessary finding her father, why is she blinded by the fear of losing her father? Do you mean she's driven by hope of finding her father and by the fear of losing her sister?  she risks trusting throws her trust into Keith, and followings him on a dangerous mission to destroy the machine in hopes of freedom and escape. you already told us his mission, no need to repeat But she realizes too late that the machine was the one thing keeping them alive—without it they are useless to the Colonials. Aside from phrasing, this needs serious elaboration. What do you mean, without it they are useless? Would Colonials slaughter them? Would they become mindless vegetables if the machine destroyed? This is your stakes, it's important to make us understand the magnitude of danger Rachel, and her people, are facing. Specifically. Racing against the clock, they must find the loophole word choice. A loophole is often used metaphorically, as in a loophole in the law, to say there's a way to get around it. Metaphorically, I'm not sure how to understand a loophole in the blueprints. Or do you mean it literally: there's a loophole on the map that leads out of the islands? Perhaps it's a simple word choice: they must find a secret passage out of the island.   in the islands' blueprint that will be their only chance to save their civilization.  

 

THE ISLAND is a Young Adult Science Fiction Novel Don't say Fiction Novel, it's a huge pet peeve for agents. YA Science Fiction is enough complete at 96,000 words. My work has been published in EveryWritersResource.com, Black Fox Literary Magazine, The Zodiac Review, and UIC Red Shoes Review Literary Magazine.Cool!

I thought of Hunger Games when I read the query, so that may be a comp for you. Also, it sounds a little like a dystopian. Maybe it's both dystopian SF. 

 

Hit me back pls!

Thanks!



#64 DisgruntledWriter

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Posted 20 June 2018 - 12:27 PM

Returning the favour :)

June 16 

 

Hi All, 

Here is my newest revision. I have been playing around with various names for the leaders of the island, and the one I like most at this point is the Elite's. Thoughts? 

 

Rachel Ives is condemned to an island surrounded by an electric grid where back-breaking labor, harsh laws, and public whippings are the way of life. I would maybe break these sentences into two to make them punchier for the beginning of a query. She wants nothing more than to escape and protect her emotionally fragile sister, but the Elite’s "Elite's" with an apostrophe throws me, like there should be another word following it. Maybe just call them "the Elite" or "the Elites"? Although I don't know your story, maybe there's a reason for the apostrophe only offer two options: silent obedience or be taken by watchmen to never return. I'd like to know the age of the sister. I'm guessing she's younger? Also, I believe that you're supposed to put the age of your MC in the query if it's YA.

 

When a young man named Keith, unlisted in the government records, arrives at Rachel’s workhouse, she learns he is here to destroy a secret governmental machine that neurologically strips the citizens of their humanity, turning them into humanoids. Loooooong sentence with lots of into crammed in, break it up so it's easier for us to digest. A machine used on the citizens taken by watchmen. Is this a sentence fragment? I'm not sure. But it feels awkward after the long sentence. If you broke up and streamlined the long sentence, this next sentence would probably work the way you're intending it to.

 

To her horror, Rachel’s sister, Marybeth, is taken by the watchmen. Why? Because Rachel was talking to Keith? I'm also not sure if it's necessary to name the sister at all, since we've already got a lot of other names here, and she's never named again Blinded by the desire to save her before it’s too late, she joins Keith on a dangerous mission to destroy the machine. But the machine is the one thing keeping the citizens alive—without it, they are useless to the Elite’s.  Rachel must choose between risking thousands of lives by destroying the machine for a chance of freedom and escape ​you never explicitly said that Keith wants to destroy the machine so everyone could be free/take down the Elite's. I mean, it's a logical jump for us to make, but I feel like there's a missing link here, or being mindless slaves to the governmental machine forever.

 

THE ISLAND is a Young Adult Science Fiction Novel complete at 96,000 words. My fiction writing advice articles have been published in EveryWritersResource.com & Black Fox Literary Magazine and my short stories have been published in The Zodiac Review & UIC Red Shoes Review Literary Magazine.

 

I think you need to specifally say something about the Elite's ruling or controlling the Island, because the oppressive tone they should convey wasn't quite popping enough for me. Also, you introduce them as Elite's, but then you talk about the watchmen (which I'm assuming are working for them) for most of the query, then switch back to Elite's at the end. I wonder if you could get away with calling them the same name throughout to really get across how menacing they are. Bouncing back and forth between the names had me thinking more about trying to keep everything straight as opposed to thinking how terrifying this organization must be.

 

I agree with the stuff sarahja said, so I'm not going to ramble on and just repeat all that again. I think you have the bones laid out here, but it needs some more meat to it to make it really stand out :)



#65 smoskale

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Posted 20 June 2018 - 12:58 PM

Rachel Ives is condemned to an island surrounded by an electric grid where back-breaking labor, harsh laws, and public whippings are the way of life. this is great improvement! She wants nothing more than to escape and protect her emotionally fragile sister, bBut the Elites only offer two options: silent obedience or be taken by watchmen to never return. This phrase is passive. Also, it is not parallel to the other option. If you want to leave it as is, make the choices parallel: obey, or be taken by the...

When a young man named Keith, unlisted in the government records, arrives at Rachel’s workhouse, she learns he is here to find a strong verb here: we wants, he plans, he plots to destroy a secret governmental machine that neurologicallyI would move this to the end of the sentence and expand on it a bit--see example strips the citizens of their humanity, turning them into humanoids.by erasing parts of their brains. A machine used on the citizens taken by watchmen.This sentence has two passive voice verbs. Consider: The watchmen use this machine on those they drag off into the night OR That's what the watchmen do to those they draw off.

To her horror, Rachel’s sister, Marybeth, is taken by the watchmen. Suggest using active voice here too: Rachel is horrified to learn that the watchmen took her sister Marybeth. Blinded by the desire to save her before it’s too late, she joins Keith on a dangerous mission to destroy the machine. But the She doesn't realize that the machine is the one thing keeping the citizens alive—without it, they are useless to the Elite’s. She wants to save her sister, but destroying the machine would kill thousands. (here it would be good to add a complication, but I don't know your book... Something like, But if she doesn't destroy the machine, she will become its victim herself Rachel must choose between risking thousands of lives by destroying the machine for a chance of freedom and escape, or being mindless slaves to the governmental machine forever.

 

THE ISLAND is a Young Adult Science Fiction Novel complete at 96,000 words. My fiction writing advice articles have been published in EveryWritersResource.com & Black Fox Literary Magazine and my short stories have been published in The Zodiac Review & UIC Red Shoes Review Literary Magazine.

 

 



#66 sri.1209

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Posted 29 June 2018 - 03:46 PM

Rachel Ives is condemned to an island surrounded by an electric grid where back-breaking labor, harsh laws, and public whippings are the way of life. She wants nothing more than to escape from the island and protect her emotionally fragile sister, but the Elite’s only offer two options: silent obedience or be taken by the Watchmen to never return (Really strong first paragraph with amazing hook!)

When a young man named Keith, unlisted in the government records, arrives at Rachel’s workhouse, she learns he is here to destroy of the existence of a secret governmental machine that neurologically strips the island citizens of their humanity, turning them into humanoids. A machine used on the disobedient citizens taken by the Watchmen.

To her horror, Rachel’s sister, Marybeth, is taken by the watchmen (Why is Marybeth taken--I think you would need to clarify here). Blinded by the desire to save her before it’s too late, she Rachel joins Keith on a dangerous mission to destroy the machine (Is there a name for this machine, or something else to describe it, except 'the machine'). But the machine is the one thing keeping the citizens alive—without it, they are useless to the Elite’s.  Rachel must choose between risking thousands of lives by destroying the machine for a chance of freedom and escape, or being mindless slaves to the governmental machine forever. (I think you can end on a strong note here. Are there any more risks or challenges Rachel must face to destroy the weapon? What is her relationship with Keith like?)

 

THE ISLAND is a Young Adult Science Fiction Novel complete at 96,000 words. My fiction writing advice articles have been published in EveryWritersResource.com & Black Fox Literary Magazine and my short stories have been published in The Zodiac Review & UIC Red Shoes Review Literary Magazine.

--------------------------------------------

I really like your premise and the way you set up your characters. I wish you the best in your querying journey!

Please help with my query letter: http://agentquerycon...ood-ya-fantasy/



#67 Bkrasnik

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Posted 29 June 2018 - 06:23 PM

June 29

 

Rachel Ives is condemned to an island surrounded by an electric grid where back-breaking labor, harsh laws, and public whippings are the way of life.

She wants nothing more than to escape and protect her younger emotionally fragile sister, Marybeth, from the island life and her mentally-ill mother, but the Elite only offer two options: silent obedience or be dragged off by the town watchmen to never return.

When a mysterious young man named Keith, unlisted in the Government records, arrives at Rachel’s workhouse, she learns he plans to destroy a secret Governmental machine that neurologically strips the citizens of their humanity—a machine used on the citizens taken by watchmen.

When Rachel arrives home one evening, she finds that Marybeth had been taken by watchmen, only to discover later her mother was behind it.

Blinded by the desire to save Marybeth before it’s too late, she joins Keith on a dangerous mission to break into a heavily guarded sanitarium to destroy the machine. But the machine is the one thing keeping the citizens alive—without it, they are useless to the Elite.

Rachel must choose between risking thousands of lives by attempting to destroy the machine for a chance of freedom and escape, or surrendering and becoming mindless slaves to the Governmental machine forever.

THE ISLAND is Young Adult Science Fiction complete at 96,000 words. My fiction writing advice articles have been published in EveryWritersResource.com & Black Fox Literary Magazine and my short stories have been published in The Zodiac Review & UIC Red Shoes Review Literary Magazine.


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

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


#68 AstrMikeDexter

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Posted 30 June 2018 - 03:50 PM

June 29

 

Rachel Ives is condemned to an island surrounded by an electric grid where back-breaking labor, harsh laws, and public whippings are the way of life. Good!

She wants nothing more than to escape and protect her younger emotionally fragile sister (Does she want to escape with her sister or only protect her sister?), Marybeth, from the island life and her mentally-ill mother, but the Elite only offer two options: silent obedience or be dragged off by the town watchmen to never return.

When a mysterious young man named Keith, unlisted in the Government records, arrives at Rachel’s workhouse, she learns he plans to destroy a secret Governmental (I'm not sure this is the best descriptor for the machine) machine that neurologically strips the citizens of their humanity (What does it mean to be stripped of their humanity?)—a machine used on the citizens taken by watchmen.

When Rachel arrives home one evening, she finds that Marybeth had been taken by watchmen, only to discover later her mother was behind it. (Up top you mentioned the mother is mentally ill. It might be a good idea to mention what the mental illness is in order to give a little more context to her actions here.)

Blinded by the desire to save Marybeth before it’s too late, she joins Keith on a dangerous mission to break into a heavily guarded sanitarium to destroy the machine. But the machine is the one thing keeping the citizens alive—without it, they are useless to the Elite.

Rachel must choose between risking thousands of lives by attempting to destroy the machine for a chance of freedom and escape, or surrendering and becoming mindless slaves to the governmental machine forever.

THE ISLAND is Young Adult Science Fiction complete at 96,000 words. My fiction writing advice articles have been published in EveryWritersResource.com & Black Fox Literary Magazine and my short stories have been published in The Zodiac Review & UIC Red Shoes Review Literary Magazine.

I'd read this! Sounds like a great story.


Any help with my query would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


#69 TeaTime

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Posted 01 July 2018 - 01:23 PM

June 29

 

Rachel Ives is condemned (So she didn't start here?) to an island surrounded by an electric grid where back-breaking labor, harsh laws, and public whippings are the way of life. (Good details in this intro line.)

She wants nothing more than to escape and protect her younger emotionally fragile sister, Marybeth, from the island life and her mentally-ill mother (The mother adds a little bit of extra flavor, but I would cut her as she's not really necessary to the query & brings the cast total up to 4 when 3 would be better), but the Elite only offer two options: silent obedience or be dragged off by the town watchmen to never return.

When a mysterious young man named Keith, unlisted in the Government records (Interesting char intro), arrives at Rachel’s workhouse, she learns he plans to destroy a secret Governmental machine that neurologically strips the citizens of their humanity—a machine used on the citizens taken by watchmen.

When Rachel arrives home one evening, she finds that Marybeth had been taken by watchmen, only to discover later her mother was behind it. (You could cut this down just to say that Marybeth has been taken by the watchmen)

Blinded by the desire to save Marybeth before it’s too late (probably unnecessary, she joins Keith on a dangerous mission to break into a heavily guarded sanitarium to destroy the machine. But the machine is the one thing keeping the citizens alive (This is a little confusing. Is it making the island habitable? How is it keeping the citizens alive?)—without it, they are useless to the Elite. (How so?)

Rachel must choose between risking thousands of lives by attempting to destroy the machine for a chance of freedom and escape, or surrendering and becoming mindless slaves ("a mindless slave," should be singular since the context is talking about Rachel) to the Governmental machine forever.

THE ISLAND is Young Adult Science Fiction complete at 96,000 words. My fiction writing advice articles have been published in EveryWritersResource.com & Black Fox Literary Magazine, (comma) and my short stories have been published in The Zodiac Review & UIC Red Shoes Review Literary Magazine. (Good job having some writing credits)

 

This query is in pretty good shape, maybe just a couple trimmings of extra details as mentioned above. It might be good to add a little bit about how she feels about Keith & this dangerous mission--how much does she trust him?

 

Keep up the good work  :smile: 


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


#70 Caligulas

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Posted 02 July 2018 - 05:32 PM

Rachel Ives is condemned to an island surrounded by an electric grid where back-breaking labor, harsh laws, and public whippings are the way of life. (I don't think this is a bad start, but it doesn't evoke a lot of emotion. I need to 1) care personally about the character so her situation reaches me or 2) be given a situation that is relatable emotionally so the character doesn't necessarily matter I don't know the character or 3) be given something tantalizing. Now I don't know this character and I've never been in this situation so I'm removed from it. If she, in example, was sent here for a murder she was framed for...that's more interesting and layered)

She wants nothing more than to escape and protect her younger emotionally fragile sister, Marybeth, from the island life and her mentally-ill mother, but the Elite only offer two options: silent obedience or be dragged off by the town watchmen to never return. (First half of this sentence is way too long. 30 words, you want 25 max. I think this falls flat emotionally still. Protect them from what? What's the added danger she's not facing that makes her capable of protecting? Emotionally fragile and mentally-ill how? She has this consequences for not following the rules or whatever, but then what's the consequence for NOT protecting the family? It's low stakes right now. I understand wanting to be there for family but unless there's a huge reason to intervene this isn't saying much. My mother is mentally ill, schizophrenic. I could see wanting to protect her in this situation from getting herself in trouble during a spell. I would feel obliged to do that because she protected me all my life. You need to be more specific about what's at risk on both sides and what needs to be done)

When a mysterious young man named Keith, unlisted in the Government records, arrives at Rachel’s workhouse, she learns he plans to destroy a secret Governmental machine that neurologically strips the citizens of their humanity—a machine used on the citizens taken by watchmen. (34 words now. I don't know what this means. Strip their humanity HOW? This is very vague)

When Rachel arrives home one evening, she finds that Marybeth had  has (Watch your tenses) been taken by watchmen, only to discover later her mother was behind it. (This is jumpy and again very vague)

Blinded (How?) by the desire to save Marybeth before it’s too late, she joins Keith on a dangerous mission to break into a heavily guarded sanitarium to destroy the machine. But the machine is the one thing keeping the citizens alive—without it, they are useless to the Elite. (Jumpy. How does she end up joining Keith?)

Rachel must choose between risking thousands of lives by attempting to destroy the machine for a chance of freedom and escape, or surrendering and becoming mindless slaves to the Governmental machine forever. (This is pretty flat and I don't get the choices. It's really a false choice or not a choice at all? If the machine keeps them alive then there's no "risk" she'll be killing them by turning it off, which also would mean the sister too, no? And if the machine only affects the people taken by watchmen, why does she even need to turn it off? It's not like it's keeping HER there. Idk, this is really confusing. I haven't read any other parts)

THE ISLAND is Young Adult Science Fiction complete at 96,000 words. My fiction writing advice articles have been published in EveryWritersResource.com & Black Fox Literary Magazine and my short stories have been published in The Zodiac Review & UIC Red Shoes Review Literary Magazine.



#71 kat8

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 02:46 PM

June 29

 

Rachel Ives is condemned to an island surrounded by an electric grid (there is a 98% chance that this is just me, but I don't know what an electric grid is or what it means for your story) where back-breaking labor, harsh laws, and public whippings are the way of life.

She wants nothing more than to escape and protect her younger emotionally fragile sister, Marybeth, from the island life and her mentally-ill mother, but the Elite only offer two options: silent obedience or be dragged off by the town watchmen to never return (I don't think this line is bad, but I think there is away to reword it so that it is shorter and punchier).

When a mysterious young man named Keith, unlisted in the Government records, arrives at Rachel’s workhouse, she learns he plans to destroy a secret Governmental machine that neurologically strips the citizens of their humanity (again, probably just me, but I'm not really sure what this means or is implying)—a machine used on the citizens taken by watchmen.

When Rachel arrives home one evening, she finds that Marybeth had been taken by watchmen, only to discover later her mother was behind it. (again, not bad, but a little clunky, and I think there's a way to shorten this and make it punchier)

Blinded by the desire to save Marybeth before it’s too late, she joins Keith on a dangerous mission to break into a heavily guarded sanitarium to destroy the machine. But the machine is the one thing keeping the citizens alive—without it, they are useless to the Elite.

Rachel must choose between risking thousands of lives by attempting to destroy the machine for a chance of freedom and escape, or surrendering and becoming mindless slaves to the Governmental machine forever.

THE ISLAND is Young Adult Science Fiction complete at 96,000 words. My fiction writing advice articles have been published in EveryWritersResource.com & Black Fox Literary Magazine and my short stories have been published in The Zodiac Review & UIC Red Shoes Review Literary Magazine.

 

 

I like your query! Other than a few small edits that might drive it forward a little more, I do think it's good, and even without those edits, I think you would have a good chance with this query :)

 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on mine, linked below in the signature :)


My query: 27 Club


#72 yawriter

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Posted 06 July 2018 - 02:40 PM

June 29

 

Rachel Ives is condemned to an island surrounded by an electric grid where back-breaking labor, harsh laws, and public whippings are the way of life.

She wants nothing more than to escape and protect her younger emotionally fragile sister, I don't necessarily think you need that much description for a query. Younger sister implies she needs protecting. Marybeth, from the island life we already know she's on an island and her mentally-ill mother, but the Elite only offer her two options: silent obedience or be dragged off by the town watchmen never to return. You can easily merge the first paragraph and the second.

When a mysterious young man named Keith, unlisted in the Government Does government need to be capitalized? records, arrives at Rachel’s workhouse, she learns he plans to destroy a secret Governmental machine that neurologically strips the citizens of their humanity—a machine used on the citizens taken by watchmen. keeping that sentence as last is much more impactful 

When Rachel arrives home one evening, she finds that Marybeth had been taken by watchmen, only to discover later her mother was behind it. dum dum dum! I think a stronger ending would be something like....she starts to suspect that her mother is behind it. BOOM. end of query, and a great twist. my opinion of course.

Blinded by the desire to save Marybeth before it’s too late, she joins Keith on a dangerous mission to break into a heavily guarded sanitarium to destroy the machine. But the machine is the one thing keeping the citizens alive—without it, they are useless to the Elite.

Rachel must choose between risking thousands of lives by attempting to destroy the machine for a chance of freedom and escape, or if you're planning on keeping this, you don't need a comma between escape and or.   surrendering and becoming mindless slaves to the Governmental machine forever.

THE ISLAND is Young Adult Science Fiction complete at 96,000 words. My fiction writing advice articles have been published in EveryWritersResource.com & Black Fox Literary Magazine and my short stories have been published in The Zodiac Review & UIC Red Shoes Review Literary Magazine.

 

​I'd love if you could return the favor and read either my query or my first 250 pages. Thank you!



#73 W.P.

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Posted 08 July 2018 - 06:09 AM

Rachel Ives is condemned to an island surrounded by an electric grid where back-breaking labor, harsh laws, and public whippings are the way of life. ((Why is she condemned there? I feel like if we knew it'd have more impact?)

She wants nothing more than to escape and protect her younger emotionally fragile sister, Marybeth, from the island life and her mentally-ill mother, but the Elite only offer two options: silent obedience or be dragged off by the town watchmen to never return. ((nice stakes! but I'm confused. when you say "her mentally-ill mother" it doesn't make me think she's dangerous, but rather someone who needs help herself. and sounds like Rachel is kinda evil. If you were to specify why their mother is dangerous or to be avoided, I think it'd be more powerful.))

When a mysterious young man named Keith, unlisted in the Government records, arrives at Rachel’s workhouse, she learns he plans to destroy a secret Governmental machine that neurologically strips the citizens of their humanity—a machine used on the citizens taken by watchmen.  ((I'm wondering why he comes to her))

When Rachel arrives home one evening, she finds that Marybeth had been ((was)) taken by watchmen, only to discover later her mother was behind it.

Blinded by the desire to save Marybeth before it’s too late, she joins Keith on a dangerous mission to break into a heavily guarded sanitarium to destroy the machine. ((I'm thinking "why rachel?" why not someone else? what does she have that gives her the unique ability to do this? she isn't the only one affected by the island and the watchmen)) But the machine is the one thing keeping the citizens alive—without it, they are useless to the Elite. ((still not sure why they were taken to the island. did I miss something?))

Rachel must choose between risking ((sacrificing? has more of a punch)) thousands of lives by attempting to destroy the machine for a chance of freedom and escape, or surrendering and becoming mindless slaves to the Governmental machine forever.  ((could be tightened up to make it a stronger ending))

THE ISLAND is Young Adult Science Fiction complete at 96,000 words. My fiction writing advice articles have been published in EveryWritersResource.com & Black Fox Literary Magazine and my short stories have been published in The Zodiac Review & UIC Red Shoes Review Literary Magazine.



#74 gigigriffis

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 09:34 AM

Rachel Ives is condemned to an island surrounded by an electric grid where back-breaking labor, harsh laws, and public whippings are the way of life. [Why?]

She wants nothing more than to escape and protect her younger emotionally fragile sister, Marybeth, from the island life and her mentally-ill mother from the island life, but the Elite only offer two options: silent obedience or be dragged off by the town watchmen to never return. [A couple things: 1) do we need to know her sister is fragile and her mom is mentally ill? Why is this important? How does it contribute to the plot? What does it mean for the story? 2) Before I care about this situation, I think I need to know why this family is confined to the island and why they aren't allowed off on pain of death?]

When a mysterious young man named Keith, unlisted in the Government records, [how does the MC know? Why does this matter? How is he unlisted and how does that help the plot?] arrives at Rachel’s workhouse, she learns he plans to destroy a secret governmental machine that neurologically strips the citizens of their humanity—a machine used on the citizens taken by watchmen. [Why? Why is this machine in existence and how does it impact Rachel?]

When Rachel arrives home one evening, she finds that Marybeth had been taken by watchmen, only to discover later her mother was behind it. [Why?]

Blinded by the desire to save Marybeth before it’s too late, she joins Keith on a dangerous mission to break into a heavily guarded sanitarium to destroy the machine. But the machine is the one thing keeping the citizens alive—without it, they are useless to the Elite. [This read really oddly to me - like the machine was literally keeping people alive, not that it was the only reason the government was keeping people alive. Again: why?]

Rachel must choose between risking thousands of lives by attempting to destroy the machine for a chance of freedom and escape, or surrendering and becoming mindless slaves to the Governmental machine forever.

THE ISLAND is Young Adult Science Fiction complete at 96,000 words. My fiction writing advice articles have been published in EveryWritersResource.com & Black Fox Literary Magazine and my short stories have been published in The Zodiac Review & UIC Red Shoes Review Literary Magazine.

A few thoughts:

1) It may be problematic to describe her mother as mentally ill and then only show her doing something despicable (without any explanation) in the query. I think we either need more info about why the mom would betray her child or what kind of person she is or perhaps leave that subplot out altogether. You already have the missing sister even without mom's role. 

2) Honestly, I'm a bit confused about the context of the story. Why is everyone trapped on an island? What kind of world is this set in? What event or motivation pushed the world to this situation?

3) The choice in the last sentence isn't strong enough for me. You've got her choosing between something noble (attempting to destroy the machine for freedom and escape!) vs. something nobody would choose (being a mindless slave). Which gives away the choice, really. I'd rather see two really difficult options she genuinely has to choose between or see a line like "to do x, she'll have to risk y." 

Good luck and hope it helps! 


Will you take a peek at my query?

 

Sincerely,

 

Gigi Griffis

Copywriter, Content Strategist, & Travel Guide Author

Blog  /  Website  /  Facebook  /  Twitter


#75 Bkrasnik

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Posted 25 July 2018 - 01:35 PM


 

PLEASE READ: Instead of line by line edits, I would like to ask for general comments on the query as a whole. What are your thoughts on my story? What am I doing well here, and what am I doing bad? Are there parts that feel unoriginal to you? Are there parts that feel unique? If so, which parts? Would you want to read the manuscript after this query, why/why not? Thanks in advance. I will be critiquing back as usual :) 

Rachel Ives is condemned to an island surrounded by an electric grid where back-breaking labor, harsh laws, and public whippings are the way of life.

She wants nothing more than to escape and protect her younger, and emotionally fragile sister, Marybeth, from the island life and from her disturbed mother, but the Elite only offer two options: silent obedience or be dragged off by the town watchmen to never return.

When a mysterious young man named Keith, unlisted in the government records, arrives at Rachel’s workhouse, she learns he plans to destroy a secret governmental machine that neurologically strips the citizens of their humanity—a machine used on the citizens taken by watchmen.

When Rachel arrives home one evening, she is faced with her worst fear: Marybeth has been taken by watchmen, and the woman who was behind it? Her own mother.

Blinded by the desire to save Marybeth before it’s too late, she joins Keith on a dangerous mission to break into a heavily guarded sanitarium to destroy the machine. But the machine is the one thing keeping the citizens alive—without it, they are useless to the Elite.

Rachel must choose between risking thousands of lives by attempting to destroy the machine for a chance of freedom and escape, or surrendering and becoming a mindless slave to the governmental machine forever.

THE DIVISION is a young adult science fiction novel complete at 95,000 words and is available upon request. My fiction writing advice articles have been published in EveryWritersResource.com & Black Fox Literary Magazine, and my short stories have been published in The Zodiac Review & UIC Red Shoes Review Literary Magazine.


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

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


#76 Bibliophyl

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Posted 25 July 2018 - 03:09 PM

Hi! A couple of points that occurred to me as I read:

 

  • Why are they being held on an island? Is it just the way things are? Are they the whole of society or is it just a few people that are condemned to the island? That bit of info would help flesh out the world better
  • I'm a little confused by the whole machine thing, and it seems like a focal point of your query since the story is focused on destroying it so I wonder if you can expand on that a bit. Why does the government want to strip people of their humanity? How is the machine keeping the citizens alive? 
  • I think you should give more attention to the fact that her mother gave her younger sister to the watchmen. That betrayal seems like the core conflict, like the end choice should be about getting revenge on her mother or figuring out why her mother did that. If you don't want to focus on that, i might cut the bit about her mother entirely. I think it's enough to say that her sister was taken by the watchmen and now she has to save her. 
  • I don't think the choice at the end is really a choice--it's more "She must risk thousands of lives to attempt to destroy the machine, and if she fails, she'll end up as a mindless slave forever..." I think it sounds stronger if you reframe it that way. 
  • You do a good job of concisely summarizing the plot and the stakes; I think you could use a little more fleshing out of certain aspects as I mentioned above. I'm just trying to point out spots where an agent reading might go "eh, I don't get it," and move on. 
  • I'm not a big reader in this genre so I can't comment too much on your question about what feels unoriginal vs. unique, but I think the trope of the big bad government trying to constantly watch and control their citizens is pretty common (but I guess that's a hallmark of dystopia anyways...). If you flesh out some of the details (why an island? why the machine?) it might add some color and uniqueness. 

 

Hope that is helpful! 



#77 Emily804

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Posted 30 July 2018 - 08:09 PM

 

PLEASE READ: Instead of line by line edits, I would like to ask for general comments on the query as a whole. What are your thoughts on my story? What am I doing well here, and what am I doing bad? Are there parts that feel unoriginal to you? Are there parts that feel unique? If so, which parts? Would you want to read the manuscript after this query, why/why not? Thanks in advance. I will be critiquing back as usual :) 

Rachel Ives is condemned to an island surrounded by an electric grid where back-breaking labor, harsh laws, and public whippings are the way of life.

She wants nothing more than to escape and protect her younger, and emotionally fragile sister, Marybeth, from the island life and from her disturbed mother, but the Elite only offer two options: silent obedience or be dragged off by the town watchmen to never return.

When a mysterious young man named Keith, unlisted in the government records, arrives at Rachel’s workhouse, she learns he plans to destroy a secret governmental machine that neurologically strips the citizens of their humanity—a machine used on the citizens taken by watchmen.

When Rachel arrives home one evening, she is faced with her worst fear: Marybeth has been taken by watchmen, and the woman who was behind it? Her own mother.

Blinded by the desire to save Marybeth before it’s too late, she joins Keith on a dangerous mission to break into a heavily guarded sanitarium to destroy the machine. But the machine is the one thing keeping the citizens alive—without it, they are useless to the Elite.

Rachel must choose between risking thousands of lives by attempting to destroy the machine for a chance of freedom and escape, or surrendering and becoming a mindless slave to the governmental machine forever.

THE DIVISION is a young adult science fiction novel complete at 95,000 words and is available upon request. My fiction writing advice articles have been published in EveryWritersResource.com & Black Fox Literary Magazine, and my short stories have been published in The Zodiac Review & UIC Red Shoes Review Literary Magazine.

 

I'm not used to not doing line edits but I will try. 

 

I think you should start the query with Keith's plans to destroy the secret governmental machine. The query gets more interesting after that part. The first part about her mother and her sister reminds me of the Hunger Games, but the secret machine and the storyline following Keith's arrival sounds more original. 

 

For the formatting I would suggest trying to make your plot summary into 2-3 paragraphs. 


Query Compatibility YA sci-fi: http://agentquerycon...lity-ya-sci-fi/






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