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ARE YOU THERE ZEUS? IT'S ME, MEDUSA (YA Urban Fantasy)

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#1 Tree

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 03:43 PM

Hi there!

 

I'm premature in posting this - still working on the novel. But I like doing query critiques as a way to practise tightening up my writing, and I've noticed that sometimes the query will reveal deeper problems with the novel. So what the hell. If anyone wants to critique what I've got, it'll hep me improve my writing and maybe help you with yours. Of course, I'm happy to return the favour.

 

A note about the title - it's my working title. I'll have something better when I'm ready to submit. Also the bio is a little more informal than I'll probably end up with. 

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Dear Awesome Agent:

 

Vee Armstrong was forced to suppress anger all her life—through meditation, distraction, and even pain. When she turns seventeen, she learns why.

 

She’s attacked while celebrating her birthday with her best friend, Pix. Despite all her tricks, Vee gets pissed. And her rage takes the form of a snake that can maim and kill at her command. 

 

Her father tells her she’s descended from Medusa. He'd kept that tidbit from her until he was sure she'd develop this power. Awesome. Vee got the belt when she got mad, just in case, but didn’t get to know why.

 

Her grandmother says if her snake escapes, the enforcer—aka the hottest boy in school—will lop off her head. Which explains why he’s been talking to Vee. He’s not flirting. He’s sussing her out. Vee bends to her grandmother's will and wears a hairshirt, the constant pain keeping her snake at bay.

 

But now Pix wants Vee to use her power on a serial abuser. And of course Vee wants to protect a vulnerable kid. She’s not a mons … well, okay, she is a monster. But a good one. One confident enough to defy her grandmother, outwit the enforcer, and find the line between protection and murder. Fingers crossed.

 

 ARE YOU THERE ZEUS, IT’S ME, MEDUSA is an urban fantasy YA novel complete at 82,000 words. I’m a lawyer and single mom to two teenage boys (send wine, and noseplugs). I sing in a punk rock choir, scramble in forests with my badass ladies’ hiking group, the Viking Fucking Warriors, and bake. This is my first novel.



#2 cmmg

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 04:05 PM

Hi there!

 

I'm premature in posting this - still working on the novel. But I like doing query critiques as a way to practise tightening up my writing, and I've noticed that sometimes the query will reveal deeper problems with the novel. So what the hell. If anyone wants to critique what I've got, it'll hep me improve my writing and maybe help you with yours. Of course, I'm happy to return the favour.

 

A note about the title - it's my working title. I'll have something better when I'm ready to submit. Also the bio is a little more informal than I'll probably end up with. 

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Dear Awesome Agent:

 

Vee Armstrong was has been forced to suppress anger all her life—through meditation, distraction, and even pain. When she turns seventeen, she learns why. It happens at her birthday when

 

She’s attacked while celebrating her birthday with her best friend, Pix(this is too unrelated. I don't think you can just  say "she learns why" And then start with something that's not her learning why). Despite all her tricks, Vee gets pissed (I was confused about what "tricks" meant here. Also, it doesn't explain why she's pissed (I guess she's pissed she's attacked but, I dunno, that didn't resonate with me) and her being pissed isn't remarkable ). And her rage takes the form of a snake that can maim and kill at her command.  (This should be connected to the next paragraph because the next doesn't stand on it's own and this elaborates on its point) Apparently, according to Her father (is it important her father tells her?) tells her she’s descended from Medusa. He'd kept that tidbit  from her until he was sure she'd develop this power. Awesome. Vee got the belt when she got mad, just in case, but didn’t get to know why.(This sentence communicates something somewhat discordant from the previous. Namely, rather than being sarcastic, it reads really bitter. Which underscores the momentum of the query a little bit.)

 

Her grandmother says if her snake escapes, the enforcer—aka the hottest boy in school—will lop off her head(what's an enforcer? Why is it important her grandmother tells her? Why didn't her dad?). Which explains why he’s been talking to Vee (this is sort of retroactive, since we haven't been introduced to him before it seems like an "oh yeah" moment, which doesn't work). He wasn't flirting (you made this happen in the past since you said "That explain why he's been talking her, which means it happened before her powers manifested). He’s was sussing her out. Vee bends to her grandmother's will (why? on what grounds? This introduces a new unrelated element, and I don't know what she wants) and wears a hairshirt, the constant pain keeping her snake at bay.

 

But now Pix wants Vee to use her power on a serial abuser. And of course Vee wants to protect a vulnerable kid. She’s not a mons … well, okay, she is a monster. But a good one. One confident enough to defy her grandmother, outwit the enforcer, and find the line between protection and murder. Fingers crossed.

 

 ARE YOU THERE ZEUS, IT’S ME, MEDUSA is an urban fantasy YA novel complete at 82,000 words. I’m a lawyer and single mom to two teenage boys (send wine, and noseplugs). I sing in a punk rock choir, scramble in forests with my badass ladies’ hiking group, the Viking Fucking Warriors, and bake. This is my first novel.

 

Your main issue is introducing the order of events and get caught in details. You first intorduce the dad, then drop him. Then introduce the grandmother being helpful, but then it turns out she's evil? Or working against Vee but we don't know why. The grandmother hasn't really said or done anything that makes it clear why or how Vee is working against here. You've also introduced the enforcer guy after he becomes important. And you have too many moving character paces with the best friend, the enforcer and two family members each doing something. Cutting Pix out would strengthen the query because she doesn't really do anything, when the main focus is on Vee's family.

 

You need to be concise with the order of events and build off them instead of just describing things.

 

Here's a better order:

 

Vee Armstrong was has been forced to suppress anger all her life—through meditation, distraction, and even pain. When she turns seventeen, she learns why. It happens at her birthday when her rage takes the form of a snake that can maim and kill at her command. Apparently, according to her grandmother, she’s descended from Medusa. A tidbit kept from her until her family was sure she'd develop this power. Awesome.

 

Worse, her grandmother is determined to keep Vee's powers under control, to ensure that snake never escapes. [any sentence about the grandmother's issue] Vee doesn't think much of it until the hottest boy at school starts flirting with her [any intro about the boy]. Except, it turns out he's not flirting, but sussing her out. [or something to clarifies this] At least that's what granny claims. Her grandmother is certain that this boy is an enforcer, a person tasked to kill her immediately if her snake escapes, and granny's not going to let that happen. [explanation of an enforcer] Her grandmother forces to wear a hairshirt, the constant pain keeping her snake at bay.

 

But then Vee discovers a serial abuser in her school, and she has the power to stop them. She’s not a mons … well, okay, she is a monster. But a good one. One confident enough to defy her grandmother, outwit the enforcer, and find the line between protection and murder. Fingers crossed.

 

That said, I don't think query writing is going to be the best to improve your writing since several of these issues aren't really going to play that big a factor in a novel.


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synopsis


#3 rhwashere

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 04:14 PM

Hi there!

 

I'm premature in posting this - still working on the novel. But I like doing query critiques as a way to practise tightening up my writing, and I've noticed that sometimes the query will reveal deeper problems with the novel. So what the hell. If anyone wants to critique what I've got, it'll hep me improve my writing and maybe help you with yours. Of course, I'm happy to return the favour.

 

A note about the title - it's my working title. I'll have something better when I'm ready to submit. Also the bio is a little more informal than I'll probably end up with. 

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Dear Awesome Agent:

 

Vee Armstrong was forced to suppress anger all her life—through meditation, distraction, and even pain. When she turns seventeen, she learns why. So far, I like it.

 

She’s attacked while celebrating her birthday with her best friend, Pix. (Could you use a more specific verb than "attacked"? Was she mugged? Hit in the face? Kicked in the shins?) Despite all her tricks, Vee gets pissed. And her rage takes the form of a snake that can maim and kill at her command. (This might be more effective if you describe what the snake actually does. As in, "her rage takes the form of a snake that materializes from her hair and sinks its fangs into her attacker". Something like that.)

 

Her father tells her she’s descended from Medusa. He'd kept that tidbit from her until he was sure she'd develop this power. Awesome. Vee got the belt when she got mad, just in case, but didn’t get to know why. This last sentence feels a little out of place. Maybe because it jumps from present to past without warning.

 

Her grandmother says if her snake escapes, the enforcer—aka the hottest boy in school—will lop off her head. Which explains why he’s been talking to Vee. He’s not flirting. He’s sussing her out. Vee bends to her grandmother's will and wears a hairshirt (I had no idea what this was. Is it a detail you need?), the constant pain keeping her snake at bay.

 

But now Pix wants Vee to use her power on a serial abuser. And of course Vee wants to protect a vulnerable kid. She’s not a mons … well, okay, she is a monster. But a good one. One confident enough to defy her grandmother, outwit the enforcer, and find the line between protection and murder. Or, at least, she hopes. (just a thought, to make her seem more vulnerable) Fingers crossed.

 

 ARE YOU THERE ZEUS, IT’S ME, MEDUSA is an urban fantasy YA novel complete at 82,000 words. I’m a lawyer and single mom to two teenage boys (send wine, and noseplugs). I sing in a punk rock choir, scramble in forests with my badass ladies’ hiking group, the Viking Fucking Warriors, and bake. This is my first novel.

I hope this helps! If so, I'd appreciate it if you stopped by my query (Oceans Deep) and gave me your opinion. Thanks!


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


#4 MICRONESIA

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 04:54 PM

Hi there!

 

I'm premature in posting this - still working on the novel. But I like doing query critiques as a way to practise tightening up my writing, and I've noticed that sometimes the query will reveal deeper problems with the novel. Yep. That happened to me a while back. So what the hell. If anyone wants to critique what I've got, it'll hep me improve my writing and maybe help you with yours. Of course, I'm happy to return the favour.

 

A note about the title - it's my working title. I'll have something better when I'm ready to submit. Also the bio is a little more informal than I'll probably end up with. 

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Dear Awesome Agent:

 

Vee Armstrong has been forced to suppress anger all her life—through meditation, distraction, and even pain. When she turns seventeen, she learns why.

 

She’s attacked while celebrating her birthday with her best friend, Pix. This sentence feels abrupt, like you didn't adequately set up such a surprise. Re-order the info. Also, we have a lot of passive voice here. "She has been forced," "she is attacked." Make these active. WHO attacked her? Despite all her tricks, Vee gets pissed. Ehhh... And her rage takes the form of a snake that can maim and kill at her command. 

 

Her father tells her she’s descended from Medusa. Dude (since you're female, I'm using the "royal dude")... THIS is your hook. Start when she discovers she's a descendant of Medusa! He'd kept that tidbit from her until he was sure she'd develop this power. Seems like a lame reason. Any way to make this more believable? Awesome. Vee got the belt when she got mad, just in case, but didn’t get to know why.

 

Her grandmother says if her snake escapes, the enforcer—aka the hottest boy in school—will lop off her head. "Enforcer?" We're not in some weird fantasy world, are we? Or is this a British term? I just thought your setting was "strangeness appearing in the real world." I have no idea what an enforcer is. Also: did Medusa have a snake INSIDE her? (Cue Beavis and Butthead laughter.) This will definitely confuse people since you're already deviating from the myth (if indeed you are). I think I know Greek mythology pretty well, and I don't remember this part of the story. Which explains why he’s been talking to Vee. He’s not flirting. He’s sussing her out. Vee bends to her grandmother's will and wears a hairshirt, the constant pain keeping her snake at bay. I have no idea what this last bit means. The coarseness of the hairshirt keeps the snake inside?

 

But now Pix wants Vee to use her power on a serial abuser. This should be introduced sooner, not tacked on like this. And of course Vee wants to protect a vulnerable kid. She’s not a mons … well, okay, she is a monster. But a good one. AWESOME voice here! More of this, please! One confident enough to defy her grandmother, outwit the enforcer, and find the line between protection and murder. Again, this should all be set up sooner, not rammed into the end (huh huh huh...) at the end here. Fingers crossed.

 

 ARE YOU THERE ZEUS, IT’S ME, MEDUSA is an urban fantasy YA novel complete at 82,000 words. I’m a lawyer and single mom to two teenage boys (send wine, and noseplugs). I sing in a punk rock choir, I must hear this. scramble in forests with my badass ladies’ hiking group, the Viking Fucking Warriors, and bake. This is my first novel.

 

Gotta say, I'm already super into this. I can't wait to see how it develops/sheds its skin.



#5 Heliagrey

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 07:58 PM

Hi there!

 

I'm premature in posting this - still working on the novel. But I like doing query critiques as a way to practise tightening up my writing, and I've noticed that sometimes the query will reveal deeper problems with the novel. What a smart tree you are. ;) I swear, my next book, I'm STARTING with the damn query. So much easier to work from the bones up. So what the hell. If anyone wants to critique what I've got, it'll hep me improve my writing and maybe help you with yours. Of course, I'm happy to return the favour. 

 

A note about the title - it's my working title. I'll have something better when I'm ready to submit. Also the bio is a little more informal than I'll probably end up with. Don't worry too much about the title. Make it catchy but don't get attached. Publishers love changing titles. ^_^

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Dear Awesome Agent:

 

Vee Armstrong was forced to suppress anger all her life—through meditation, distraction, and even pain. When she turns seventeen, she learns why. (Not sure this is hook enough. And 'was forced' sounds passive. Try to rephrase- maybe borrowing from the inciting incident below with the snake. Also, who is having her suppress her anger? A parent? You can use that to keep it from being passive. So and so made her do this, and she discovers why when maim snake does xyz. ;)

 

She’s attacked while celebrating her birthday with her best friend, Pix. Despite all her tricks, Vee gets pissed. And her rage takes the form of a snake that can maim and kill at her command. 

 

Her father tells her she’s descended from Medusa. He'd kept that tidbit from her until he was sure she'd develop this power. Awesome. Vee got the belt when she got mad, just in case, but didn’t get to know why. (Are we talking a literal belt or the 'catching a beating' kind of belt?)

 

Her grandmother says if her snake escapes, the enforcer—aka the hottest boy in school—will lop off her head. (Okay, this is a really neat idea- I'd move it way up. This is the first point where I'd pick this book up.) Which explains why he’s been talking to Vee. He’s not flirting. He’s sussing her out. Vee bends to her grandmother's will and wears a hairshirt, the constant pain keeping her snake at bay.

 

But now Pix wants Vee to use her power on a serial abuser. And of course Vee wants to protect a vulnerable kid. She’s not a mons … well, okay, she is a monster. But a good one. (Ha!) One confident enough to defy her grandmother, outwit the enforcer, and find the line between protection and murder. Fingers crossed. (Love it! Dang, the endings are always difficult for me, but I think this is the strongest part of your query- these last few sentences.)

 

 ARE YOU THERE ZEUS, IT’S ME, MEDUSA is an urban fantasy YA novel complete at 82,000 words. I’m a lawyer and single mom to two teenage boys (send wine and noseplugs). I sing in a punk rock choir, scramble in forests with my badass ladies’ hiking group, the Viking Fucking Warriors, and bake. This is my first novel. Hey there fellow momma of boys! ;) 



#6 ajaponte4

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Posted 25 May 2018 - 04:26 PM

Hi there!

 

I'm premature in posting this - still working on the novel. But I like doing query critiques as a way to practise tightening up my writing, and I've noticed that sometimes the query will reveal deeper problems with the novel. I'm on the same page you are. After writing a few queries, I learned that there some severe plot points in my novel. So what the hell. If anyone wants to critique what I've got, it'll help me improve my writing and maybe help you with yours. Of course, I'm happy to return the favour. Smart to offer.  I wish I had.  :smile: 

 

A note about the title - it's my working title.Don't worry about the title. It doesn't matter yet. Once your book is completed the title will come to you. I'll have something better when I'm ready to submit. Also the bio is a little more informal than I'll probably end up with. 

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Dear Awesome Agent:

 

Vee Armstrong was has been forced to suppress her anger all her life by her father (or grandfather, whichover was more abusive)—through meditation, distraction, and even pain. I like what you did with the first sentence. But can you consider adding here just who is forcing her; later you bring in her father and grandfather. I would pick either one.  When she turns seventeen, and her hair turns to snakes, she learns why. I'm not sure this qualifies as a hook. Add something snappy to get the agent's attention. Try adding right that she's descended from one the greatest greek monsters in history.  Also add a little earlier that she doesn't know why she's been forced suppress her feelings.

 

She’s attacked while celebrating her birthday with her best friend, Pix. Despite all her tricks, Vee gets pissed. This isn't strong enough, and its a bit confusing.  And her rage takes the form of a snake that can maim and kill at her command.  This isn't striking enough. How does it take the form of a snake? She has Medusa's Blood, is it her that turns to snake? Does she turn into a giant snake? What are we working with here?

 

Her father tells her she’s descended from Medusa. He'd kept that tidbit from her until he was sure she'd develop this power. Awesome.  Sarcasm while humorous could be misunderstood; best to avoid it. Vee got the belt when she got mad, just in case, but didn’t get to know why. There should be a stronger way to say she's been abused all her life. No matter what the reason.

.

Her grandmother says if her snake escapes, the enforcer—aka the hottest boy in school Okay the hottest boy thing came out of nowhere. will lop off her head. Which explains why he’s been talking to Vee. He’s not flirting. He’s sussing her out. Vee bends to her grandmother's will and wears a hairshirt, the constant pain keeping her snake at bay.

 

But now Pix wants Vee to use her power on a serial abuser. And of course Vee wants to protect a vulnerable kid. She’s not a mons … well, okay, she is a monster. But a good one. One confident enough to defy her grandmother, outwit the enforcer, and find the line between protection and murder. Fingers crossed. Loved the ending

 

 ARE YOU THERE ZEUS, IT’S ME, MEDUSA is an urban fantasy YA novel complete at 82,000 words. I’m a lawyer and single mom to two teenage boys (send wine, and noseplugs). I sing in a punk rock choir, scramble in forests with my badass ladies’ hiking group, the Viking Fucking Warriors, and bake. This is my first novel.

 

 

This seems like it could be a very interesting story. However, the plot seems to be all over the place. Are there any other stakes? Who is the bad buy? Consider adding the most popular guy earlier? Something like mentioning Vee always had a crush on him but he never even know she existed.



#7 lnloft

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Posted 25 May 2018 - 09:17 PM

Hi there!

 

I'm premature in posting this - still working on the novel. But I like doing query critiques as a way to practise tightening up my writing, and I've noticed that sometimes the query will reveal deeper problems with the novel. So what the hell. If anyone wants to critique what I've got, it'll hep me improve my writing and maybe help you with yours. Of course, I'm happy to return the favour.

 

A note about the title - it's my working title. I'll have something better when I'm ready to submit. Also the bio is a little more informal than I'll probably end up with. 

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Dear Awesome Agent:

 

Vee Armstrong was forced to suppress anger all her life—through meditation, distraction, and even pain. When she turns seventeen, she learns why. Hmm... I think you need something a little more specific for the latter half of this hook. Otherwise, I sort of see as "Why? Well, she has anger issues."

 

She’s attacked By what or whom? while celebrating her birthday with her best friend, Pix. Despite all her tricks, Vee gets pissed. And her rage takes the form of a snake that can maim and kill at her command. Ooh, interesting.

 

Her father tells her she’s descended from Medusa. He'd kept that tidbit from her until he was sure she'd develop this power. Awesome. Vee got the belt when she got mad, just in case, but didn’t get to know why. This sentence could be clearer. Are you saying she got beaten? But wouldn't that make her more angry?

 

Her grandmother says if her snake escapes, the enforcer—aka the hottest boy in school—will lop off her head. Which explains why he’s been talking to Vee. He’s not flirting. He’s sussing her out. Vee bends to her grandmother's will and wears a hairshirt, the constant pain keeping her snake at bay. You keep coming back to this, in the hook, getting the belt, now the hairshirt, of pain keeping her anger at bay. But that just confuses me. I feel like someone constantly hurting me or making me hurt myself would make me more angry.

 

But now Pix wants Vee to use her power on a serial abuser. And of course Vee wants to protect a vulnerable kid. She’s not a mons … well, okay, she is a monster. But a good one. One confident enough to defy her grandmother, outwit the enforcer, and find the line between protection and murder. Fingers crossed.

 

 ARE YOU THERE ZEUS, IT’S ME, MEDUSA is an urban fantasy YA novel complete at 82,000 words. I’m a lawyer and single mom to two teenage boys (send wine, and noseplugs). I sing in a punk rock choir, scramble in forests with my badass ladies’ hiking group, the Viking Fucking Warriors, and bake. This is my first novel.

Interesting concept, and good voice. Overall clear as well. The hook needs to be stronger, though. I'd take that last sentence of the second paragraph (that I've bolded), and bring that up to be the finishing line of the hook, because that's the really interesting part, and the part that made me start taking notice. But you're definitely off to a good start. Good luck.


Nothing to reciprocate on right now; I'm off in the query trenches.


#8 AstrMikeDexter

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Posted 26 May 2018 - 10:12 AM

Hi there!

 

I'm premature in posting this - still working on the novel. But I like doing query critiques as a way to practise tightening up my writing, and I've noticed that sometimes the query will reveal deeper problems with the novel. So what the hell. If anyone wants to critique what I've got, it'll hep me improve my writing and maybe help you with yours. Of course, I'm happy to return the favour.

 

A note about the title - it's my working title. I'll have something better when I'm ready to submit. Also the bio is a little more informal than I'll probably end up with. 

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Dear Awesome Agent:

 

Vee Armstrong was forced to suppress anger all her life—through meditation, distraction, and even pain. When she turns seventeen, she learns why. I feel like this could be a little stronger or dramatic for an opening. It doesn't keep me on the edge of my seat, but I can tell that there's something within the story that will.

 

She’s attacked while celebrating her birthday with her best friend, Pix. Despite all her tricks, (What kind of tricks? Do you mean what she does to suppress her anger?) Vee gets pissed. And her rage takes the form of a snake that can maim and kill at her command. (Does she turn into a snake? It's a little confusing.)

 

Her father tells her she’s descended from Medusa. He'd kept that tidbit from her until he was sure she'd develop this power. Awesome. Vee got the belt when she got mad, just in case, but didn’t get to know why. I almost wonder if the first three ~paragraphs could be condensed and then make that your hook with it ending on the fact that she's Medusa's descendant.

 

Her grandmother says if her snake escapes, the enforcer—aka the hottest boy in school—will lop off her head. Which explains why he’s been talking to Vee. He’s not flirting. He’s sussing her out. Vee bends to her grandmother's will and wears a hairshirt, the constant pain keeping her snake at bay. I'm getting a little confused about what some of these things are.

 

But now Pix wants Vee to use her power on a serial abuser. And of course Vee wants to protect a vulnerable kid. She’s not a mons … well, okay, she is a monster. But a good one. One confident enough to defy her grandmother, outwit the enforcer, and find the line between protection and murder. Fingers crossed. I like the way this ends!

 

 ARE YOU THERE ZEUS, IT’S ME, MEDUSA is an urban fantasy YA novel complete at 82,000 words. I’m a lawyer and single mom to two teenage boys (send wine, and noseplugs). I sing in a punk rock choir, scramble in forests with my badass ladies’ hiking group, the Viking Fucking Warriors, and bake. This is my first novel.

Very interesting concept! I definitely get an idea of the voice and tone of the story through your query too, which is good.


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


#9 DisgruntledWriter

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Posted 27 May 2018 - 01:14 PM

Hi there!

 

I'm premature in posting this - still working on the novel. But I like doing query critiques as a way to practise tightening up my writing, and I've noticed that sometimes the query will reveal deeper problems with the novel. So what the hell. If anyone wants to critique what I've got, it'll hep me improve my writing and maybe help you with yours. Of course, I'm happy to return the favour.

 

A note about the title - it's my working title. I'll have something better when I'm ready to submit. Also the bio is a little more informal than I'll probably end up with. 

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Dear Awesome Agent:

 

Vee Armstrong was forced to suppress anger all her life—through meditation, distraction, and even pain. When she turns seventeen, she learns why.

 

She’s attacked while celebrating her birthday with her best friend, Pix. Despite all her tricks Not sure what this means.  Also, what do you mean by attacked? Like... mugged?, Vee gets pissed. And her rage takes the form of a snake that can maim and kill at her command. Very cool, but I'm wondering what this snake looks like/does SHE become a huge snake, etc.?

 

Her father tells her she’s descended from Medusa. I agree with everyone else.  This should be the hook, and then the previous two paragraphs should be worked in after. He'd kept that tidbit from her until he was sure she'd develop this power. Awesome. Vee got the belt when she got mad, just in case, but didn’t get to know why. Bit confused here, because wouldn't this make her more mad? Or did they purposely do this to her to try and entice the snake out?

 

Her grandmother says if her snake escapes Like, literally? Or the snake, aka the anger takes her over?, the enforcer—aka the hottest boy in school—will lop off her head. This is cool, but I'm not entirely sure what enforcer entails, etc. Which explains why he’s been talking to Vee. He’s not flirting. He’s sussing her out. Vee bends to her grandmother's will and wears a hairshirt, the constant pain keeping her snake at bay. Athough interesting, don't think this is the right place for it in the scheme of things.  Also, more questions raised.  Is the snake her hair? Under her hair? Is it always out now? Again, I think we need a clear, conscise description of what exactly the snake is early on when you first mention it.

 

But now Pix wants Vee to use her power on a serial abuser. And of course Vee wants to protect a vulnerable kid. What kid? Pix? Someone else? I feel like this part needs a bit more detail.  It seems important, more important than keeping the snake under a hairshirt. She’s not a mons … well, okay, she is a monster. But a good one. Nice! One confident enough to defy her grandmother, outwit the enforcer, and find the line between protection and murder. Fingers crossed.

 

 ARE YOU THERE ZEUS, IT’S ME, MEDUSA I know this is the working title but I love it. is an urban fantasy YA novel complete at 82,000 words. I’m a lawyer and single mom to two teenage boys (send wine, and noseplugs). I sing in a punk rock choir, scramble in forests with my badass ladies’ hiking group, the Viking Fucking Warriors, and bake. This is my first novel.

 

For all my questions, I think this is awesome.  I think the order of events just need to be presented a bit differently, and definitely, definitely describe the snake better.  A lot is going on: She gets attacked, then her dad tells her she's Medusa, then there's a hot boy in school, her trying to keep the snake under wraps, and then a serial abuser (which feels tacked on after everything, although it seems like it's the most important.) You have a great basework and voice already here, it just needs a bit of reshuffling :)



#10 Tree

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 07:43 AM

You guys are awesome. Thanks for all the great feedback. 



#11 W.P.

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 08:11 AM

Vee Armstrong was forced to suppress anger all her life—through meditation, distraction, and even pain. When she turns seventeen, she learns why. ((I love the first sentence, not so much the second. I think it's because the first sentence is specific and the second too vague. Maybe hint at the terrible discovery or at how dangerous it'll be. so there's a hint of conflict))

 

She’s attacked  ((too vague. was she punched? mugged? did they try to kidnap her? what happened?)) while celebrating her birthday with her best friend, Pix. ((I suggest ending this sentence with the strongest part. Like, "while celebrating her birthday, Vee is attacked." So it "links" better with the beginning of the next sentence-->)) Despite all her tricks, Vee gets pissed. And her rage takes the form of a snake that can maim and kill at her command. ((ohhhhh sounds so cool and scary. I already need to read your book. but I do think the way she's attacked and by whom should be specified and also think there's no need to mention her BFF here. I think it's best to focus on our main character. ))

 

Her father tells her she’s descended from Medusa. He'd kept that tidbit from her until he was sure she'd develop this power. Awesome. ((I feel like this has a different voice from the rest of the query so far.)) Vee got the belt when she got mad, just in case, but didn’t get to know why. ((Not sure you need this last sentence. I'd remove it to keep the writing clear and to the point.))

 

Her grandmother says if her snake escapes, the enforcer—aka the hottest boy in school—will lop off her head. Which explains why he’s been talking to Vee. He’s not flirting. He’s sussing her out. Vee bends to her grandmother's will and wears a hairshirt, the constant pain keeping her snake at bay.  (((I think both this and the previous paragraphs could be condensed. We don't need to know every detail. Like who said who and how she learned what. For instance: "She finds out she's descended from Medusa and that if her snake escapes, the enforcer (...) will lop off her head."  <--- both paragraphs could be condensed in one sentence. Because we don't need to know what she wears--that's a detail for the novel-- and we don't need to know whether the boy is flirting or sussing her out, because we know he's a danger to her but also the love interest based on his description.)))

 

But now Pix wants Vee to use her power on a serial abuser. And of course Vee wants to protect a vulnerable kid. She’s not a mons … well, okay, she is a monster. But a good one. One confident enough to defy her grandmother, outwit the enforcer, and find the line between protection and murder. Fingers crossed.  ((I feel like this last paragraph is a bit too long? might be the use of "voice". Voice is great, but it should add to the story, not distract us from it. But that's just my opinion. It's your call always, after all. My advice would be to condense this paragraph down to one-two sentences. Example: "But when a serial abuser endangers her friends, Vee finds herself in need to outwit the enforcer and find the line between protection and murder." I also like the line: "Between monster and hero." I think it'd be a cool, punchy sentence to add at the end. but this is your query, and this is just personal taste. xD When I like stories so much I can't help inserting too much of myself into them.))

 

 ARE YOU THERE ZEUS, IT’S ME, MEDUSA ((really love that title. would buy this book in a heartbeat))) is an urban fantasy YA novel complete at 82,000 words. I’m a lawyer and single mom to two teenage boys (send wine, and noseplugs). I sing in a punk rock choir, scramble in forests with my badass ladies’ hiking group, the Viking Fucking Warriors, and bake. This is my first novel. ((I'm pretty sure I've read in my website that this is the sort of thing that should be omitted in queries. They will assume you have no publications because you don't mention them. Whether it's your first or fifth novel doesn't matter to them.))

 

 

What fun! Really enjoyed your query and your novel sounds awesome! I hope some of this can be of help. :)

 

 

If you had the time, could you please take a look at my query as well?

 

http://agentquerycon...en-ya-fantasy/ 



#12 RSMellette

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Posted 01 June 2018 - 02:12 PM

I love the title. That alone should get your some requests for a partial at least.

 

You could even toy with a query along the lines of:

 

 

My YA urban fantasy of 82,000 words is titled ARE YOU THERE ZEUS, IT’S ME, MEDUSA.

 

Is that enough to make you want to read a few pages?


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#13 TheBest

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Posted 01 June 2018 - 04:24 PM

A note about the title - it's my working title. (Keep it!) I'll have something better when I'm ready to submit. Also the bio is a little more informal than I'll probably end up with. 

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Dear Awesome Agent:

 

Vee Armstrong was forced to suppress anger all her life—through meditation, distraction, and even pain. When she turns seventeen, she learns why.

 

She’s attacked while celebrating her birthday with her best friend, Pix. Despite all her tricks, Vee gets pissed. And her rage takes the form of a snake that can maim and kill at her command. (Great description. Short and sweet. I'd recommend adding an adjective to Pix.)

 

Her father tells her she’s descended from Medusa. He'd kept that tidbit from her until he was sure she'd develop this power. Awesome. (Love your voice in this paragraph!) Vee got the belt when she got mad, just in case, but didn’t get to know why.

 

Her grandmother says if her snake escapes, the enforcer—aka the hottest boy in school—will lop off her head. Which explains why he’s been talking to Vee. He’s not flirting. He’s sussing (Don't like this word here) her out. Vee bends to her grandmother's will and wears a hairshirt, the constant pain keeping her snake at bay. (Interesting stakes.)

 

But now Pix wants Vee to use her power on a (Is he/she abusing Pix?) serial abuser. And of course Vee wants to protect a vulnerable kid. She’s not a mons … well, okay, she is a monster. But a good one. One confident enough to defy her grandmother, outwit the enforcer, and find the line between protection and murder. Fingers crossed. (Strong stakes and voice.)

 

 ARE YOU THERE ZEUS, IT’S ME, MEDUSA is an urban fantasy YA novel complete at 82,000 words. I’m a lawyer and single mom to two teenage boys (send wine, and noseplugs). (I think this is hilarious, but I remember reading somewhere that agents don't like hearing that you're a parent. This might just be a MG peeve, but I'd look into it.) I sing in a punk rock choir, scramble in forests with my badass ladies’ hiking group, the Viking Fucking Warriors, and bake. This is my first novel.

 

Amazing query! I especially love your voice. My biggest critique is to flesh out the characters a little more. Throw in some adjectives, especially for Pix. It also might help to explain he relationships a little better. Is the serial abuser going after Pix? What's the enforcer's relationship to the family? Throwing in a few adjectives should clear up this minor issue. Great job and good luck!! I'd definitely read this.



#14 Quillaby

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Posted 01 June 2018 - 05:37 PM

Hi there!

 

I'm premature in posting this - still working on the novel. But I like doing query critiques as a way to practise tightening up my writing, and I've noticed that sometimes the query will reveal deeper problems with the novel. So what the hell. If anyone wants to critique what I've got, it'll hep me improve my writing and maybe help you with yours. Of course, I'm happy to return the favour.

 

A note about the title - it's my working title. I'll have something better when I'm ready to submit. Also the bio is a little more informal than I'll probably end up with. 

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Dear Awesome Agent:

 

Vee Armstrong was has been forced to suppress anger all her life—through meditation, distraction, and even pain. When she turns seventeen, she learns why. Nice hook.

 

She’s attacked (by and why?) while celebrating her birthday with her best friend, Pix. Despite all her tricks, Vee gets pissed. And her rage takes the form of a snake that can maim and kill at her command. 

 

Her father tells her she’s descended from Medusa. He'd kept that tidbit from her until he was sure she'd develop this power. Awesome. Vee got the belt when she got mad, just in case, but didn’t get to know why.

 

Infuse more of your voice here; you've got a great one. It'll give us a sense of her relationship with her father and how she feels about all this. Rough example:  Father finally spills Vee is descended from Medusa. Something he failed to mention all those times he belted Vee to keep her anger in check.

 

Her Vee's grandmother says warns if her snake escapes, the enforcer—aka the hottest boy in school—will lop off her head. Which explains why he’s been talking to Vee. He’s not flirting. He’s sussing her out. Vee bends to her grandmother's will and wears a hairshirt, the constant pain keeping her snake at bay.

 

Again, loving your voice. We just need to know a bit more about these enforcers so we can buy into this guy's motivations. Honestly, one line should do it. Something like (again, rough example): Vee's grandmother warns if her snake escapes, the enforcer—aka Name, the hottest boy in school—will lop off her head. Vee's not the only one carrying a bizarre family legacy. Keeping Medusa knock-offs in line is Name's.

 

I don't get a clear sense of the grandmother. You mention Vee defying her grandmother further down, so I get the sense she's some kind of terrifying matriarch? If so, it needs to be emphasized here.

 

But now Pix wants Vee to use her power on a serial abuser (I assume you're referring to domestic abuse? It's not clear). And of course Vee wants to protect a vulnerable kid. She’s not a mons … well, okay, she is a monster. But a good one. One confident enough to defy her grandmother, outwit the enforcer, and find the line between protection and murder. Fingers crossed.

 

I feel like this last paragraph - and the query letter - will be stronger if you cut Pix entirely. By starting with "Pix wants", you shift her into the spotlight. The stakes should be Vee's. Example: Then Vee finds out one of her classmates is being beaten at home. That's something Vee knows a little about. 

 

See how that gives Vee a personal stake? As is, she's only motivated by her best friend pushing her and a vague sense of general nobility (which is rarely an interesting motivation).

 

 ARE YOU THERE ZEUS, IT’S ME, MEDUSA is an urban fantasy YA novel complete at 82,000 words. I’m a lawyer and single mom to two teenage boys (send wine, and noseplugs). I sing in a punk rock choir, scramble in forests with my badass ladies’ hiking group, the Viking Fucking Warriors, and bake. This is my first novel.

 

I usually dislike when people mention their kids in a query, but this is actually very funny.

 

 

There are a few issues here, but they're fixable. I'd read pages based on your voice alone. Good work!



#15 RegE

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 12:01 AM

Hi there!

 

I'm premature in posting this - still working on the novel. But I like doing query critiques as a way to practise tightening up my writing, and I've noticed that sometimes the query will reveal deeper problems with the novel. So what the hell. If anyone wants to critique what I've got, it'll hep me improve my writing and maybe help you with yours. Of course, I'm happy to return the favour.

 

A note about the title - it's my working title. I'll have something better when I'm ready to submit. Also the bio is a little more informal than I'll probably end up with. 

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Dear Awesome Agent:

 

Vee Armstrong was forced to suppress anger all her life—through meditation, distraction, and even pain. When she turns seventeen, she learns why.

 

She’s attacked (I echo others. Easy enough to say what she is attacked by) while celebrating her birthday with her best friend, Pix. Despite all her calming tricks, Vee gets (loses her temper) pissed. And her rage takes the form of a snake that can maim and kill at her command. (I just love this so much so far)

 

Her father tells her she’s descended from Medusa (super cool!). He'd kept that tidbit from her until he was sure she'd develop this power. Awesome. Vee got the belt when she got mad, just in case, but didn’t get to know why < I don't know what this belt is at all. This line doesn't make sense. Did her Dad beat her? Is it a magic belt??.

 

Her grandmother says if her snake escapes, the enforcer—aka the hottest boy in school—will lop off her head. That explains why he's been talking to Vee. All this time she thought he was flirting. Which explains why he’s been talking to Vee. He’s not flirting. He’s been sussing her out. Vee bends to her grandmother's will and wears a hairshirt < another unexplained magical item, the constant pain keeping her snake at bay < Okay, kinda explained here!.

 

 

 Pix finds out about Vee's power and wants Vee to use it on a serial abuser. Of course Vee wants to protect a vulnerable kid. She’s not a mons … well, okay, she is a monster. But a good one. One confident enough to defy her grandmother, outwit the enforcer, and find the line between protection and murder. Fingers crossed. (Love the voice)

 

 ARE YOU THERE ZEUS, IT’S ME, MEDUSA is an urban fantasy YA  (To me, because of the voice and theme, this kinda comes across as MG) novel complete at 82,000 words. I’m a lawyer and single mom to two teenage boys (send wine, and noseplugs). I sing in a punk rock choir, scramble in forests with my badass ladies’ hiking group, the Viking Fucking Warriors, and bake. This is my first novel.

 

I love this sooo much. I think the query is great too. You just need to clear a few things up then I think it will be ready to go. If I was an agent, I would snap this up. If only I could write such a nice, simple but impactful query!!



#16 Tree

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 01:43 PM

Could you imagine? I wish I had the guts.  :laugh:

 

I love the title. That alone should get your some requests for a partial at least.

 

You could even toy with a query along the lines of:

 

 

My YA urban fantasy of 82,000 words is titled ARE YOU THERE ZEUS, IT’S ME, MEDUSA.

 

Is that enough to make you want to read a few pages?



#17 RSMellette

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 02:16 PM

Could you imagine? I wish I had the guts.  :laugh:

 

What have you got to lose? Pick a few agents on the way bottom of your list and give it a shot. Looking at it again, you might make the last sentence.

 

Is that enough to make you want to read a few pages or should I follow-up with a typical query letter?

 

FYI - I've had dinner with some agents who say they don't read query letters, they just go straight to the sample - so you never know.


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51xExIpByyL._SS140_SH35_.jpg51n1zBAR2vL._SS140_SH35_.jpg

by R.S. Mellette

"WOW. That is the first word that comes to mind when I think about how I felt reading this book - WOW. I was so pleasantly surprised - oh, let's be honest, it was more like blown away!" -- Holy B. In NC, Amazon Review.


#18 mwsinclair

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 02:22 PM

Gotta say, it's got potential. Get it into shape! You may have a winner here.



#19 yawriter

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Posted 07 June 2018 - 08:15 PM

Hi there!

 

I'm premature in posting this - still working on the novel. But I like doing query critiques as a way to practise tightening up my writing, and I've noticed that sometimes the query will reveal deeper problems with the novel. So what the hell. If anyone wants to critique what I've got, it'll hep me improve my writing and maybe help you with yours. Of course, I'm happy to return the favour.

 

A note about the title - it's my working title. I'll have something better when I'm ready to submit. Also the bio is a little more informal than I'll probably end up with. 

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Dear Awesome Agent:

 

Vee Armstrong was forced to suppress anger all her life—through meditation, distraction, and even pain.You don't need the hyphen unless it's more like --through meditation, distraction and even pain she still is unsuccessful. It still needs to be a sentence on the other side of the hyphen. 


Vee Armstrong was forced to suppress anger all her life through meditation, distraction, and even pain. When she turns seventeen, she learns why.

 

She’s attacked while celebrating her birthday with her best friend, Pix. In what way is she attacked? this is a bit vague for me. Despite all her tricks, Vee gets pissed. What tricks? Is she magic? or somehow does meditation help her in the attack? And her rage takes the form of a snake that can maim and kill at her command. 

 

Her father tells her she’s descended from Medusa. He'd kept that tidbit from her until he was sure she'd develop this power. Awesome. Vee got the belt when she got mad, just in case, but didn’t get to know why.

 

Her grandmother says if her snake escapes, the enforcer—aka A.K.A the hottest boy in schoolshe's in school? How old is she? Perhaps place it before you introduce the character?—will lop off her head. Which explains why he’s been talking to Vee. He’s not flirting. He’s sussing her out. Vee bends to her grandmother's will and wears a hairshirt, the constant pain keeping her snake at bay.

 

But now Pix wants Vee to use her power on a serial abuser. And, of course, Vee wants to protect a vulnerable kid. She’s not a mons … well, okay, she is a monster. But a good one. One confident enough to defy her grandmother, outwit the enforcer, and find the line between protection and murder. Fingers crossed.

 

 ARE YOU THERE ZEUS, IT’S ME, MEDUSA is an urban fantasy YA novel complete at 82,000 words. I’m a lawyer and single mom to two teenage boys (send wine, and noseplugs). I sing in a punk rock choir, scramble in forests with my badass ladies’ hiking group, the Viking Fucking Warriors, and bake. This is my first novel.

I think it's nice that you're clear about the plot, but you have a long way to go. Let me know when you have a new version posted! Happy to look at it :)







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