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"BEHIND THE GHOST METROPOLIS", YA Contemporary. Will critique back.

Fiction Young Adult

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#1 AsperBlurry

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Posted 30 April 2018 - 08:48 AM

The latest version of my query is always here.

 

Thank you for all your help so far! I will critique back, just reply with the link :)

 

 

NEW VERSION:

 

Dear Name of the agent
 
When fifteen-year-old Punk is raped by her so-called friend, guilt brings her to the edge of suicide.
 
At first, Punk tries to convince herself that she wanted to sleep with him. But the realization of what really happened breaks her. Ashamed, she’s sure no one would believe her. Seeing him at school, sneering with satisfaction, pushes her into a haze of alcohol and drugs. 
 
Hope appears when she meets an older boy, Nihil. Beneath his rebellious appearance, there are kindness and desperate attempts to save her. Although scared of intimacy, Punk finds herself in a world of romance, filled with joy, tears, and betrayal. And her struggles to let him in. 
 
But even Nihil’s love can’t quiet the self-destructive voices whispering in Punk’s head. It’s only when she wakes up in a pool of her own vomit after drinking too much, she realizes she has a choice. 
 
Dying slowly, surrounded by other addicts, is easier. Waking up every day and fighting depression is much harder. 
 
 
BEHIND THE GHOST METROPOLIS is a 65,000-word YA contemporary fiction. It’s a standalone novel with a series potential called “On the Road to…?” and it will appeal to fans of Ellen Hopkins and “Girl in pieces” by Kathleen Glasgow.
 
My short stories, poems, and literary translations have been published in several Polish literary magazines.
Following your submission guidelines, I have pasted the first (number of pages) of my book 
 
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Sincerely,

 

 

 

 

 

 

When fifteen-year-old Punk is raped by her so-called friend, guilt brings her to the edge of suicide.
 
At first, Punk tries to convince herself that she wanted to sleep with him. But the realization of what really happened breaks her. Ashamed, she’s sure no one would believe her. Seeing him at school, sneering with satisfaction, pushes her into a haze of alcohol and drugs. 
 
Hope appears when she meets an older boy, Nihil. Beneath his rebellious appearance, there are kindness and desperate attempts to save her. Although scared of intimacy, Punk finds herself inside a world of romance. Filled with joy, tears, and betrayal. And his broken heart. 
 
But even Nihil’s love can’t quiet the self-destructive voices whispering in Punk’s head. It’s only when she overdoses, waking up in a pool of her own vomit, she realizes she has two choices. 
 
Dying slowly, surrounded by other addicts, is easier. Waking up every day and fighting depression is much harder. 

 

 

 

 


Edited by AsperBlurry, 04 June 2018 - 02:48 AM.


#2 Tanja

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Posted 30 April 2018 - 09:58 AM

HI and welcome to AQC

Every first query is hard. Be patient with yourself. There is heaps to learn but your were brave enough to share your work. I'll see if I can help a little to get you on the right track.

 

 

 

 

Hi guys,

 

I've read a lot of successful queries and your great feedback on this forum. And I think I'm ready to show you what I came up with after doing my research and rewriting my query a few times. Here it is: 

 

* * * * *

 

Dear Name of the agent
 
"BEHIND THE GHOST METROPOLIS" is a 62,576-always round up to the next 1000 or down. in your case. 63,000 word word YA Contemporary novel novel isn't a genre. which explores struggles with depression, abuse and feeling misunderstood among the teenagers. Focusing on inner conflicts and the search for the meaning of life comma it will appeal to Ellen Hopkins and “Girl, Interrupted” fans. Generally this would go to the bottom of the query. However, I have seen queries that were successful with this structure.
 
When Punk is raped by her classmate who she thought was a sweet boy comma she hides inside her ghost metropolis following the path of self-destruction. 
 
The dark secrets of her childhood hunt her down as well leaving her lonely and buried in despair. Even though there are people who try to help her comma Punk is convinced that she's unworthy of love so she pushes them away. Her road to redemption is long and bumpy, filled with pain, but also hope and courage. The roller coaster of drinking and taking drugs will lead Punk to the ultimate decision. Is her life worth living? Avoid questions in a query. It's a red flag. Yes, there are some queries that were successful using questions, but that's just a small number.  Is she strong enough to find her way out of depression/ Is she strong enough to survive? And certainly not two in a row.
 
"BEHIND THE GHOST METROPOLIS" is loosely based on my teenage years. Even though a lot of the events depicted is fictional the feelings of hopelessness and self-hatred are real, and some of the descriptions come from my diary when I was 15.  
I’ve already created Punk’s character in my first, self-published novel, “Train to the Edge of the Moon”. However, since I believe that Punk has the potential for many more stories I’ve decided to write "BEHIND THE GHOST METROPOLIS" which I’m planning to be the first one in the series called “On the Road to…?” “Train to the Edge of the Moon” would be the third part. (I'm not sure if this paragraph is needed at this point?) As a basic rule. When you're self published, and unless you've sold at least 20,000 books, some agents even want to see 50,000 books, you don't mention any of this. Plus, you want to sell this book and not the others.
 
I’m a writer and a poet, my short stories, poems and literary translations have been published in literary magazines such as “Wyspa” (Island”), Zupełnie inny świat (Completely different world) and Kozirynek. 
Following your submission guidelines, I have attached the first (number of pages) of my book as a Word document.
 
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Sincerely,
Asper Blurry

 

 

You got a god start there. Now what you need to do is flesh it all out. Show us your story. Try not to base it on questions. The one part that makes your query a little more tricky is because it's a mix between fiction and biography. At least that's how I understand your comments. I think one of the main things you need to decide is, are  you promoting Punk's story or your story? Every author is using some experience from their lives in their books. Feelings or emotions. Or frustrations. Or wishes and dreams. That's why we write. Most people at least. You  had a good start for the query until the questions came along. Go deeper into the story from there. How she fights her inner demons. How she succeeds. What's in the way for her to succeed.

 

Good luck. Don't give up.


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#3 spineofiron

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Posted 30 April 2018 - 10:04 AM

Dear Name of the agent

 

 

BEHIND THE GHOST METROPOLIS (I removed the quotation marks around your title -- you don't need them) is a 63,000-word YA contemporary novel which explores struggles with depression, abuse and feeling misunderstood among the teenagers. which will appeal to fans of Ellen Hopkins and Susanna Kaysen's GIRL, INTERRUPTED. (Girl Interrupted is a pretty old title to be using as a comp -- typically you want books published within the last year or two.)

 

(Also, I'd put all this at the end of your query letter. Lead with the hook. The advice on this is pretty split, and I've seen successful queries which led with this paragraph, but Janet Reid/Query Shark does recommend putting it at the end, so that's what I do.) 

 

When Punk is raped by a classmate she'd once considered a sweet boy, she hides inside her ghost metropolis (what does this mean?) following the path of self-destruction. (This isn't a bad start to a hook, but I'm confused by the concept of a "ghost metropolis," and the wording about her path of self-destruction is a little wonky. Is she self-destructing following the rape?)

 

The dark secrets of her childhood hunt her down as well, leaving her lonely and buried in despair. (If they're relevant to the plot, you'll want to say what her childhood secrets are. If they aren't, scratch this.) Even though there are people who try to help her, Punk is convinced that she's unworthy of love, so she pushes them away. Her road to redemption is long and bumpy, filled with pain, but also hope and courage. The roller coaster of drinking and taking drugs will lead Punk to the ultimate decision. Is her life worth living? Is she strong enough to find her way out of depression/ Is she strong enough to survive? Rhetorical questions in queries are a BIG no-no. Avoid them like the plague. You have three in a row here, so definitely eliminate all of them.

 

BEHIND THE GHOST METROPOLIS is loosely based on my teenage years. Even though a lot of the events depicted is fictional the feelings of hopelessness and self-hatred are real, and some of the descriptions come from my diary when I was 15. 

 

I’ve already created Punk’s character in my first, self-published novel, “Train to the Edge of the Moon”. However, since I believe that Punk has the potential for many more stories I’ve decided to write "BEHIND THE GHOST METROPOLIS" which I’m planning to be the first one in the series called “On the Road to…?” “Train to the Edge of the Moon” would be the third part. (I'm not sure if this paragraph is needed at this point?) (You don't need any of this.)

 

My short stories, poems and literary translations have been published in literary magazines such as “Wyspa” (Island), Zupełnie inny świat (Completely different world) and Kozirynek.

 

Following your submission guidelines, I have pasted the first (number of pages) below. More than likely, you're going to be pasting your pages below the letter in the body of the e-mail itself. Don't attach anything unless specifically directed to, or this could end up in automatic rejections.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

Asper Blurry

 

Sorry for all the scary red!

 

I highly recommend reading through the Query Shark archives and taking a look at examples of successful queries. I'm not getting a huge sense of what's at stake for your MC after the inciting incident. What is the plot? What is the conflict? What stands in Punk's way of a normal life, and how is she planning to tackle that? What outside forces are pushing against her?


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#4 RosieSkye

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Posted 30 April 2018 - 07:05 PM

 

Hi guys,

 

I've read a lot of successful queries and your great feedback on this forum. And I think I'm ready to show you what I came up with after doing my research and rewriting my query a few times. Here it is: 

 

* * * * *

 

Dear Name of the agent
 
"BEHIND THE GHOST METROPOLIS" (no quotes) is a 62,576 63,000-word YA Contemporary novel which explores struggles with depression, abuse and feeling misunderstood among the teenagers. Focusing on inner conflicts and the search for the meaning of life it will appeal to Ellen Hopkins and “Girl, Interrupted” fans.  Girl, Interrupted is a pretty old book. I'd find some more current comp titles. And move all this to the bottom.
 
When Punk is raped by her classmate who she thought was a sweet boy she hides inside her ghost metropolis following the path of self-destruction. (What's a ghost metropolis?)
 
The dark secrets of her childhood hunt her down as well leaving her lonely and buried in despair. (Why? What happened in her childhood?) Even though there are people who try to help her Punk is convinced that she's unworthy of love so she pushes them away. Her road to redemption is long and bumpy, filled with pain, but also hope and courage. (This is all telling rather than showing. Who tries to help her? Flesh out her road to redemption.) The roller coaster of drinking and taking drugs will lead Punk to the ultimate decision. Is her life worth living? Is she strong enough to find her way out of depression/ Is she strong enough to survive? (Don't ask questions in a query.)
 
"BEHIND THE GHOST METROPOLIS" is loosely based on my teenage years. Even though a lot of the events depicted is fictional the feelings of hopelessness and self-hatred are real, and some of the descriptions come from my diary when I was 15.  (This is good for the Author's Note at the of the book, but unnecessary in a query.)
I’ve already created Punk’s character in my first, self-published novel, “Train to the Edge of the Moon”. However, since I believe that Punk has the potential for many more stories I’ve decided to write "BEHIND THE GHOST METROPOLIS" which I’m planning to be the first one in the series called “On the Road to…?” “Train to the Edge of the Moon” would be the third part. (I'm not sure if this paragraph is needed at this point?)
 
I’m a writer and a poet, mMy short stories, poems and literary translations have been published in literary magazines such as “Wyspa” (Island”), Zupełnie inny świat (Completely different world) and Kozirynek. 
 
Following your submission guidelines, I have attached the first (number of pages) of my book as a Word document.
 
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Sincerely,
Asper Blurry

 

 

 

Hope this helps!



#5 AsperBlurry

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Posted 01 May 2018 - 03:12 AM

Wow, thank you all so much for your feedback! It's very helpful, and I already have some ideas how to improve my query thanks to your advice :)  I will rewrite it and post it here asap. 



#6 AsperBlurry

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 08:07 AM

I have posted the second revision of my query. Thank you :)



#7 Heliagrey

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 08:40 AM

Note: I don't make comments on queries I don't think have merit on their own- way too much editing. :) So although there will be a fair # of comments here, it's all to help you steer the good things you have in the right direction, and some of it is just discussion, not direct edits. There's promise here!! Keep going- for a second draft, this is absolutely not a bad starting point.

 

Ok, so I've read all your comments and a lot of posts on Query Shark and here's the second version of my query:

 

#2nd REVISION:

 

 
Dear Name of the agent
 
When Punk is raped by a sweet boy (this is hard to swallow. If he's a rapist, he's not sweet, and either she considers him sweet, or you should just leave it out and let it sit that "Punk is raped by a friend") she'd once considered a friend she falls deeper into depression (was she already depressed? Can you find a way to allude to this without saying she's out and out depressed- like, is there an action she does? struggling to find her way out of despair and loneliness. (here, too- first, struggling isn't grammatically correct with the sentence, but I'd just say something she actually does that shows that she's fighting her way out of despair and loneliness. Show, don't tell- what action does she do? Is she drinking heavily? Is she going on some adventure? What's her action? What are her stakes- what will happen if she doesn't do it?)
 
She feels like she’s branded for life by her abusive father and cold, distant mother who failed to protect her from him. (I'm not sure you need this. I'd rather see the action/plot here. Or maybe be succinct and tie this information somewhere else.)
 
Punk’s best friend, Em, and teacher, Mrs. Bee try to help her, but she pushes them away convinced that she’s unworthy of their kindness. After meeting her junkie brother, Dragon and an older boy, Nihil who both accept her rebellious nature, Punk slowly opens up to them and starts fighting with her demons.(There are a lot of character names here. This is good for a synopsis, but for a query letter, you need to pick two, maybe three tops. The switch that came for me is when I realized the query isn't a full summary of the book- it's just the main conflict, what's at stake if the protagonist doesn't succeed, and, oh yeah, who is the protagonist? You'll have time in the summary. Also, how is she fighting her demons? Again, is this a positive thing- or is she robbing banks? ;) 
 
But it turns out that it’s not enough to stop the roller coaster of self-destruction. She eventually gets expelled from school, and her inner voice, You worthless piece of shit pushes her to the ultimate decision to die by living on the edge. Buried in alcohol and drugs. (Aha, here we go! This should be earlier. :)
 
Punk is losing hope, and the ray of light getting through her darkness is nothing but a distant wish. (Pretty, but not really a place for it in the query. This feels generic, and so does the subsequent sentence- I KNOW the ending is wicked tough on these things, but you need to raise the stakes at the end and then describe your protagonist's final choice.)
What she doesn’t know is that there’s still a chance for her to be saved. The road to redemption is long and painful. But it isn’t over yet. 
 
 
BEHIND THE GHOST METROPOLIS is a 63,000-word YA contemporary novel which will appeal to fans of Ellen Hopkins and “Girl in Pieces” by Kathleen Glasgow.
 
My short stories, poems, and literary translations have been published in literary magazines such as “Wyspa” (Island), “Zupełnie inny świat” (Completely different world) and Kozirynek. (If these are magazine names, I'd put 'including' instead of 'such as'.)
 
Following your submission guidelines, I have pasted the first (number of pages) of my book 
 
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Sincerely,
Asper Blurry

 

:) Happy editing! 

 



#8 cmmg

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 09:03 AM

 

Ok, so I've read all your comments and a lot of posts on Query Shark and here's the second version of my query:

 

#2nd REVISION:

 

 
Dear Name of the agent
 
When Punk is raped by a sweet boy she'd once considered a friend she falls deeper into depression struggling to find her way out of despair and loneliness. (This is a lot to take at once for me)
 
She feels like she’s branded for life by her abusive father and cold, distant mother who failed to protect her from him.  (This seems unrelated to what JUST happened)
 
Punk’s best friend, Em, and teacher, Mrs. Bee try to help her, but she pushes them away convinced that she’s unworthy of their kindness (Help her with what? I feel like you're being vague here). After meeting her junkie brother, Dragon and an older boy, Nihil who both accept her rebellious nature, Punk slowly opens up to them and starts fighting with her demons.
 
But it turns out that it’s not enough to stop the roller coaster of self-destruction (Okay, so lots of things are happening, but you're just telling people about them, I'm not getting a narrative threat). She eventually gets expelled from school, and her inner voice, You worthless piece of shit pushes her to the ultimate decision to die by living on the edge. Buried in alcohol and drugs. (But why? What did she do? How is this related to meeting her brother)
 
Punk is losing hope, and the ray of light getting through her darkness is nothing but a distant wish. 
What she doesn’t know is that there’s still a chance for her to be saved. The road to redemption is long and painful. But it isn’t over yet.  (I feel like I'm not sure if she's trying to be saved)
 
 
BEHIND THE GHOST METROPOLIS is a 63,000-word YA contemporary novel which will appeal to fans of Ellen Hopkins and “Girl in pieces” by Kathleen Glasgow.
 
My short stories, poems, and literary translations have been published in literary magazines such as “Wyspa” (Island), “Zupełnie inny świat” (Completely different world) and Kozirynek. 
 
Following your submission guidelines, I have pasted the first (number of pages) of my book 
 
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Sincerely,
Asper Blurry

 

 

 

 

I think the issue here is that there's not a strong directive or narrative thread of cause and effect. It seems like you're just describing the things that happen: a lot of bad things happen, one good thing happens, but then more bad things.

 

You start with the rape, but the rest of the query isn't about her dealing with that at all. She doesn't deal with her father's abuse either! In fact, it's not clear any actions she takes or any AGENCY she really has.

 

What does the character want? I don't actually know.

What are the stakes if she fails? I don't actually know.

What is the obstacle stopping her from getting what she wants? I don't know! Random bad luck?

 

I think a re-framing would help here. For instance, when Punk is rapes she WANTS a) to get over her trauma b) just to be validated c) not let it interfere with her school career. But her abusive parents (OBSTACLE) make that impossible when a) their abuse triggers more trauma b) they tell her it's her own fault c) the physical violence makes it difficult to go to school. I mean there can be other obstacles. It could also be Her friends try to help but (OBSTACLE) a) Punk feels she can't open up/trust after what happened b) they inadvertently blame her c) their pushiness makes it hard for her to forget and focus on school. Things get COMPLICATED when she meets her brother who start to accept her

 

The key is here is that whether the friends or the parents, it's related to, developed from some central motivation of Punks. And right not you're just listing stuff.

 

the actions in the query need to be linked. If a surprise bad event happens, you can list that, but you have to list what the surprise is, and not EVERY plot point can be a surprise, otherwise, that's not very good writing. Cause and Effect.


_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

synopsis


#9 AsperBlurry

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 12:46 PM

Thank you so much, Heliagrey! I knew that writing a query is difficult, but I never suspected it could be that hard. I saw on this forum that some people make multiple revisions and it scares me a bit. 

Note: I don't make comments on queries I don't think have merit on their own- way too much editing. :) So although there will be a fair # of comments here, it's all to help you steer the good things you have in the right direction, and some of it is just discussion, not direct edits. There's promise here!! Keep going- for a second draft, this is absolutely not a bad starting point.

 

Thank you, cmmg for your feedback! You pointed out a lot of things which I wasn't aware of. But I think you're right. There's no cause and effect in my query. I've just rewritten it trying to tell the reader what and why it happens.

I think the issue here is that there's not a strong directive or narrative thread of cause and effect. It seems like you're just describing the things that happen: a lot of bad things happen, one good thing happens, but then more bad things.

 

You start with the rape, but the rest of the query isn't about her dealing with that at all. She doesn't deal with her father's abuse either! In fact, it's not clear any actions she takes or any AGENCY she really has.

 

What does the character want? I don't actually know.

What are the stakes if she fails? I don't actually know.

What is the obstacle stopping her from getting what she wants? I don't know! Random bad luck?

 

I think a re-framing would help here. For instance, when Punk is rapes she WANTS a) to get over her trauma b) just to be validated c) not let it interfere with her school career. But her abusive parents (OBSTACLE) make that impossible when a) their abuse triggers more trauma b) they tell her it's her own fault c) the physical violence makes it difficult to go to school. I mean there can be other obstacles. It could also be Her friends try to help but (OBSTACLE) a) Punk feels she can't open up/trust after what happened b) they inadvertently blame her c) their pushiness makes it hard for her to forget and focus on school. Things get COMPLICATED when she meets her brother who start to accept her

 

The key is here is that whether the friends or the parents, it's related to, developed from some central motivation of Punks. And right not you're just listing stuff.

 

the actions in the query need to be linked. If a surprise bad event happens, you can list that, but you have to list what the surprise is, and not EVERY plot point can be a surprise, otherwise, that's not very good writing. Cause and Effect.



#10 RosieSkye

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Posted 04 May 2018 - 10:26 AM

 

Thank you for all your comments, you've been extremely helpful! Here's the third version of my query:

 

 

#3rd REVISION

 

When Punk is raped by a classmate, she feels like it's was her own fault and deals with it by hiding behind the in a haze of alcohol and drugs. Unaware of the traumatic experience, her friend and teacher try to help her, but Punk pushes them away. She thinks The abuse she endures at the hands of her parents makes her believe she’s unworthy of their kindness because of her abusive father’s and cold mother’s influence. 
 
After meeting her junkie brother, Dragon (for the first time?) and an older boy, Nihil who both accept her rebellious nature, Punk starts trusting them and slowly opens her heart (cliche) to them. She tries to find her way out of depression and fight with her demons by improving her grades and quitting on her stimulants. 
 
She tries to ignore her inner voice, You worthless piece of shit. But it turns out that it's ultimately stronger than her survival instinct, (comma) and it pushes her to the ultimate decision - to end her life. 
 
Punk can’t stop the roller coaster (cliche) of self-destruction and eventually, she gets expelled from school, and runs from home. When she makes the final move (Attempting suicide? You gloss over this as though it's nothing) and wakes up in a hospital, (comma) she realizes that there’s still a chance for her to be saved. 
 
The road to redemption is long and painful. But she is brave and strong enough to face it. (You need to end on a cliffhanger and stakes, something along the lines of, "If Punk can't get her life together, she might succeed in her next suicide attempt.")   
 

 

 

 

I'm sure you have a powerful story here, but unfortunately your query just reads as a meandering, laundry list of plot points with no real story arc.  For example, you say Punk makes the ultimate decision to end her life, but then you revert to her getting expelled and running away from home.  It feels like once you announce her decision to kill herself, the query should move straight into her attempt and the fallout from it.  And try to work some more voice into this, to help it stand out from the hundreds of other queries agents will be looking at.

 

Hope this helps!



#11 AsperBlurry

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Posted 06 May 2018 - 09:23 AM

Yes, Rosie, you're right, thank you! That's exactly what I've been thinking. It lacks voice and soul. I don't know why because the story is emotional and Punk's character is loosely based on me. So the query should also be powerful and provoke emotions. And it makes me angry that I just can't get into it, and I feel like the whole book sucks :/ I don't know, maybe I should take a few days off from writing a query? Or do you have other suggestions? Reading similar queries is very helpful too. 

I'm sure you have a powerful story here, but unfortunately your query just reads as a meandering, laundry list of plot points with no real story arc.  For example, you say Punk makes the ultimate decision to end her life, but then you revert to her getting expelled and running away from home.  It feels like once you announce her decision to kill herself, the query should move straight into her attempt and the fallout from it.  And try to work some more voice into this, to help it stand out from the hundreds of other queries agents will be looking at.

 

Hope this helps!



#12 IndusiumGriseum

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Posted 06 May 2018 - 03:26 PM

 

I've been struggling to make my query powerful (the way the story about Punk is), I feel like something is still missing. Also, I think like I should end with a cliffhanger because the suicide attempt happens by the end of the book. And I would spoil everything. 

 

Also, I'm no query expert, but I'd be more than happy to provide feedback on your query/pitch :) I'm new here so I'm pretty slow on reading and commenting, but I'll do my best. 

 

Anyway, here's the latest version. I think I need a break from it to gain a new perspective, though. 

 

 

4RTH REVISION

 

When Punk is raped by a classmate, she feels like it's her own fault and deals with it by hiding in a haze of alcohol and drugs, causing troubles at school. (You're adding a LOT of details here. Here's a suggestion that might help: See if the paragraph packs a bigger punch if you mention that she was raped at the end of it.) Unaware of the traumatic experience, her friend and teacher try to help her, but Punk pushes them away. The abuse she endures at the hands of her parents (This is an important detail and shouldn't be just casually mentioned) makes her believe she’s unworthy of kindness.
 
The ray of hope sneaks into her tormented soul (Cliche) after meeting an older boy, Nihil, and discovering that she has a brother. (I'm confused, is Nihil her brother?) They both accept her rebellious nature and Punk slowly opens up and starts trusting them. She tries to find her way out of depression and fight her demons by quitting her stimulants and improving her grades.
 
But her inner voice, ‘You worthless piece of shit’, is stronger than her survival instinct, and it pushes her to the ultimate decision - to end her life. (Definitely make this more ambiguous. This suggests that she has ended her life and the ending is ruined.)

 

 

This seems like a great story! Why is the query so short? You have opportunities to expand on things in Punk's world like her parent's abuse, who raped her, who her brother is, etc. I would add more details to this to flesh out Punk a little more. Good luck with everything!


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#13 AsperBlurry

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 02:40 PM

This seems like a great story! Why is the query so short? You have opportunities to expand on things in Punk's world like her parent's abuse, who raped her, who her brother is, etc. I would add more details to this to flesh out Punk a little more. Good luck with everything!

 

Thank you, Indusium for saying that :) I've changed the ending of my query so that the reader has to read to find out if she kills herself or chooses a different way. 



#14 AsperBlurry

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 08:40 AM

The new version of my query is available in the first post. I'll critique back, just reply with the link :)



#15 yawriter

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 10:19 AM

I always put the latest version of my query here, in my first post.

 

Thank you for all your help so far! I will critique back, just reply with the link :)

 

 

LATEST REVISION #5

 

15 years of suffering caused by her parents’ abuse have eventually taken Punk’s strength away, leaving her alone and buried in despair. (For a hook, in my opinion it's a bit long...perhaps try something like 15 years of parent abuse has taken Punk's strength away, leaving her buried in despair alone)...So when Punk is raped by a classmate, she falls deeper into depression she hides in a haze of alcohol and drugs. (again just for word count sake) hiding in a haze of alcohol and drugs. She can’t pretend anymore that she’s the same good, well-behaved student and starts causing troubles at school as well. Unaware of the traumatic experience, her friend and teacher try to help her, but Punk pushes them away. Being branded by hatred and bullying at home she believes she’s unworthy of kindness. 

 

The ray of hope sneaks into her life after meeting an older boy, Nihil, and discovering that she has a junkie brother, Dragon. This confused me... who has a junkie brother?... you said Nihil is a boy and then in the next sentence he's a girl? or did you mean HE has a junkie brother? They both accept her rebellious nature and Punk slowly opens up and starts trusting them. She tries to find her way out of depression and fight her demons by quitting the stimulants and improving her grades. This is a story I'd read, just because I'm a hopeless romantic, but the query is lacking a punch....she's depressed in the first paragraph...she's depressed in the second paragraph...she meets someone depressed...where are the stakes? I think it needs to be like P1: Here is something bad... P2: not only that, but this gets worse...and right now it hasn't' gotten worse...it's just stating the same thing... Idk if that makes sense. 

 

But Punk’s inner voice, ‘You worthless piece of shit’, is stronger than her survival instinct. The dark secret from her past she’s been trying to forget haunts her down, and she realizes that she has two choices. End her life or ask for help and follow the long road to redemption OR stop the roller coaster of self-destruction.  This last paragraph...it's super common and I predicted she has suicidal thoughts... I'm sure your story is MUCH more exciting. I think you can ramp up the drama :) I hope this helps! Happy to look at it again. 



#16 Heliagrey

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 10:42 AM

I always put the latest version of my query here, in my first post.

 

Thank you for all your help so far! I will critique back, just reply with the link :)

 

 

LATEST REVISION #5

 

15 years of suffering caused by her parents’ abuse have eventually taken Punk’s strength away, leaving her alone and buried in despair. Since this is a hook, my brain went immediately to "LITERALLY buried? o_O" I also think you can be a little more snappy with the hook- I mean, she has this great name- I'd say use it. Did her parents give her the name? Did she give it to herself? You could juxtapose the toughness of her name with how weak she feels- "Her name was Punk, and she was powerless", etc. So when Punk is raped by a classmate, she falls deeper into depression hiding in a haze of alcohol and drugs. She can’t pretend anymore that she’s the same good, well-behaved student and starts causing troubles at school as well. Unaware of the traumatic experience, her friend and teacher try to help her, but Punk pushes them away. Being branded by hatred and bullying at home she believes she’s unworthy of kindness. (Summarize all of this- broad strokes, after being raped by a classmate, she fuels her depression with alcohol and drugs. Her good student facade falls away, and becomes her name (hokey, but along those lines). Doesn't need the last sentence I don't say. 

 

The ray of hope sneaks into her life after meeting an older boy, Nihil, and discovering that she has a junkie brother, Dragon. (Her and her previously-unknown brother's names are so far the coolest parts of this- I want to know more about that. I'd really say capitalize on it.) They both accept her rebellious nature and Punk slowly opens up and starts trusting them. She tries to find her way out of depression and fight her demons by quitting the stimulants and improving her grades.

 

But Punk’s inner voice, ‘You worthless piece of shit’, is stronger than her survival instinct. The dark secret from her past she’s been trying to forget haunts her down, and she realizes that she has two choices. End her life or ask for help and follow the long road to redemption OR stop the roller coaster of self-destruction.  (This last sentence is the hardest part of a query, isn't it, next to the hook? I'd say this one doesn't quite work- because I'm thinking your main character isn't really going to kill herself, so it doesn't feel like a real choice I need to read the book to find out. Also, you put three choices here after saying there were two: 1. Suicide 2. Ask for help 3. Stop self-destruction (how is that different from 2?

Thanks for all your feedback on my query- all this back and forth editing, it feels like we're battle buddies. ;) Not sure I'll be doing PITMAD- it's been torture to be as brief as a query letter needs to be... I think if I shortened it to tweet-sized there'd be tweet-sized chunks of my brains all over, post-explosion! But good luck to you!  



#17 AsperBlurry

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Posted 17 May 2018 - 12:40 PM

Thank you, yawriter for your feedback! I'll try to ramp up the drama. Punk's suicidal thoughts aren't the secret, it's the story about overcoming depression at young age :)

 

 

The ray of hope sneaks into her life after meeting an older boy, Nihil, and discovering that she has a junkie brother, Dragon. This confused me... who has a junkie brother?... you said Nihil is a boy and then in the next sentence he's a girl? or did you mean HE has a junkie brother? They both accept her rebellious nature and Punk slowly opens up and starts trusting them. She tries to find her way out of depression and fight her demons by quitting the stimulants and improving her grades. This is a story I'd read, just because I'm a hopeless romantic, but the query is lacking a punch....she's depressed in the first paragraph...she's depressed in the second paragraph...she meets someone depressed...where are the stakes? I think it needs to be like P1: Here is something bad... P2: not only that, but this gets worse...and right now it hasn't' gotten worse...it's just stating the same thing... Idk if that makes sense. 

 

I'm not sure I understand what you mean. Yes, she is depressed in p1, she tries to get better in p2, but it's not that simple in p3 :) 

 

But Punk’s inner voice, ‘You worthless piece of shit’, is stronger than her survival instinct. The dark secret from her past she’s been trying to forget haunts her down, and she realizes that she has two choices. End her life or ask for help and follow the long road to redemption OR stop the roller coaster of self-destruction.  This last paragraph...it's super common and I predicted she has suicidal thoughts... I'm sure your story is MUCH more exciting. I think you can ramp up the drama :) I hope this helps! Happy to look at it again. 

 

 

 

 

Thank you, Heliagrey for your feedback! Could you please tell me why you don't think that Punk will kill herself? I thought that the last sentence is ambiguous? 

Haha, yes it's crazy to write a query and even worse to sum your book in a tweet :D 

Thanks for all your feedback on my query- all this back and forth editing, it feels like we're battle buddies. ;) Not sure I'll be doing PITMAD- it's been torture to be as brief as a query letter needs to be... I think if I shortened it to tweet-sized there'd be tweet-sized chunks of my brains all over, post-explosion! But good luck to you!  



#18 Preston Copeland.Biz

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Posted 17 May 2018 - 01:27 PM

I always put the latest version of my query here, in my first post.

 

Thank you for all your help so far! I will critique back, just reply with the link :)

 

 

LATEST REVISION #5

 

​hello there,

 

​Use an active sentence here - 15 years of suffering caused by her parents’ abuse have eventually taken ​(I might change her name. Punk is not really a name and it sounds like your trying to hard to make a statement with that name)Punk’s strength away, leaving her alone and buried in despair. So when Punk is raped by a classmate, she falls deeper into depression hiding in a haze of alcohol and drugs. She can’t pretend anymore that she’s the same good, well-behaved student and starts causing troubles at school as well. Unaware of the traumatic experience, her friend and teacher try to help her ​(if they're unaware, then how do they know to help?), but Punk pushes them away. Being branded by hatred and bullying at home she believes she’s unworthy of kindness. 

 

The ray of hope sneaks into her life after meeting an older boy, Nihil, and discovering that she has a junkie brother, Dragon. They both accept her rebellious nature and Punk slowly opens up and starts trusting them. She tries to find her way out of depression and fight her demons by quitting the stimulants and improving her grades. ​What is the plot? What does she hope to accomplish?

 

But Punk’s inner voice, ‘You worthless piece of shit’, is stronger than her survival instinct. The dark secret from her past she’s been trying to forget haunts her down, and she realizes that she has two choices. End her life or ask for help and follow the long road to redemption OR stop the roller coaster of self-destruction. 

 

​The good thing is, I understand Punk. But it seems like a very, very dark story, and in the darkness you still need a little light. I would mention the light of the story, too. Does she find love? Does she overcome her struggle? Whoelse may lose if she self-destructs?

 

​I think you've got the crux of the query down! I just had a few issues.

 

​Please reciprocate at - http://agentquerycon...-eden/?p=356809

 

​Great Job!

 


Preston Copeland

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Email: pcopeland2345@gmail.com


#19 AsperBlurry

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Posted 17 May 2018 - 01:32 PM

Thank you, Preston for your feedback! I've actually just posted the latest version of my query. I'll take a look at yours tomorrow :)

And Punk is a name, I usually give my characters different names. 

 

 

I always put the latest version of my query here, in my first post.

 

Thank you for all your help so far! I will critique back, just reply with the link :)

 

 

LATEST REVISION #5

 

​hello there,

 

​Use an active sentence here - 15 years of suffering caused by her parents’ abuse have eventually taken ​(I might change her name. Punk is not really a name and it sounds like your trying to hard to make a statement with that name)Punk’s strength away, leaving her alone and buried in despair. So when Punk is raped by a classmate, she falls deeper into depression hiding in a haze of alcohol and drugs. She can’t pretend anymore that she’s the same good, well-behaved student and starts causing troubles at school as well. Unaware of the traumatic experience, her friend and teacher try to help her ​(if they're unaware, then how do they know to help?), but Punk pushes them away. Being branded by hatred and bullying at home she believes she’s unworthy of kindness. 

 

The ray of hope sneaks into her life after meeting an older boy, Nihil, and discovering that she has a junkie brother, Dragon. They both accept her rebellious nature and Punk slowly opens up and starts trusting them. She tries to find her way out of depression and fight her demons by quitting the stimulants and improving her grades. ​What is the plot? What does she hope to accomplish?

 

But Punk’s inner voice, ‘You worthless piece of shit’, is stronger than her survival instinct. The dark secret from her past she’s been trying to forget haunts her down, and she realizes that she has two choices. End her life or ask for help and follow the long road to redemption OR stop the roller coaster of self-destruction. 

 

​The good thing is, I understand Punk. But it seems like a very, very dark story, and in the darkness you still need a little light. I would mention the light of the story, too. Does she find love? Does she overcome her struggle? Whoelse may lose if she self-destructs?

 

​I think you've got the crux of the query down! I just had a few issues.

 

​Please reciprocate at - http://agentquerycon...-eden/?p=356809

 

​Great Job!

 

 



#20 W.P.

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Posted 18 May 2018 - 02:34 AM

LATEST REVISION #6

 

A horrific incident with her classmate brings 15-year-old Punk closer to the edge.((this is a bit too vague to work as a hook. A horrific incident regarding? what edge? snapping or death?)) She can’t pretend anymore that she’s the same good, well-behaved student ((too wordy. something as simple as "Once a good student, now she's skipping classes, drinking and taking drugs" will suffice.)) and starts causing troubles at school by drinking and taking drugs. Unaware of the traumatic experience, her friend and teacher try to help her, but Punk pushes them away. Being branded by her parents’ abuse ((too wordy. Just "Abused by her parents, she's ...." will do. The shorter the better. has more of a punch.)) she's convinced she’s unworthy of kindness.

 

When Punk meets an older boy Nihil and discovers that she has a junkie brother Dragon she slowly opens up to them ((both these meetings should be different sentences. Gets a bit confusing and you're taking away the "impact" of each of them by shoving them in the same sentence)). They both accept her rebellious nature ((if she used to be a good student and only started acting out after the "horrific incident" then is it really her nature or a "phase"?) which makes her believe that there’s still hope for her. Punk tries to find her way out of depression and fight her demons by quitting the stimulants and improving her grades.((I'm confused. So they "accept" her acting out and that's why she decides to change? change the thing they accept? Maybe you could just say that they show her support, and she feel like there's hope for her. I think that'd cause less confusion?))

 

But Punk’s inner voice, ‘You worthless piece of shit,’ and the dark secret from her past haunt her down and she realizes that she has two choices. Ask for help or escape her problems once for all  ((I know what you mean but it's not written in a way that has the most impact.)). 

 

 

I like your query and it was engaging from beginning to end. But I think the writing needs to be tightened up, and some things made clearer. But the most important thing is clarifying the "horrific incident". You don't need to tell us what happened ((it's a mystery, so why reveal it)) but we need a hint. Because right now we got nothing, meaning we can't care. We don't know what it is and so when you mention it, it doesn't have any impact on the reader. It doesn't make me go "ooooh I want to read it" it makes me go "no idea what you're talking about."  Just a hint will do. one word, one adjective, or even just where it happened. whatever makes that incident sound super interesting.

 

Anyway, I hope this helps. :)

 

The link to my query:  http://agentquerycon...ren-ya-fantasy/







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