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Contemporary YA: Shaved Llamas & Friendship Memos [Will crit back]


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#21 perpetual

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 08:10 AM

Thank you both for your crits! :)


Query: Click here.

 


#22 kat8

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 02:06 PM

Hey guys!

 

I'd love your thoughts on making the stakes clearer. [Feel free to read query first so below makes sense. ;)]

 

 

What she needs to do: Immediately, make sure she can keep an eye on him. Later, get Asher proper support before it's too late. 

 

What's preventing her: To keep an eye on Asher, she needs Mom's permission to have him stay with them, but June's barely talked to Mom in the past few weeks and doesn't feel like Mom understands or sympathizes with mental health issues. Also, her own emotions in response to his suicide attempt; i.e. a lot of anger, confusion, etc. especially because he doesn't initially want the help. 

 

 

Let me know if this is coming across in the query version below and if not, how I can improve it. I'm willing to make big picture revisions, if needed. :)

 

Thanks so much in advance.

 

 

NEWEST VERSION POSTED HERE:

 

Dear Agent,

 

Getting arrested for vandalism isn’t on the list of Smartest Things June Gerber Has Done In Her Seventeen Years of Life. Then again, maybe if June was told Mom’s dating for the first time since Dad died at same time as her older sisters—eight months ago!—she might’ve reacted better. Betrayed, June pulls away. Mom doesn’t even seem to notice, preoccupied with the rat bastard. As the pang for Dad resurges, June has to fight from crawling back to the same mental hellhole she’d dug after his death.

 

Desperate for at least one understanding ear in this llama-forsaken town, June turns to her curmudgeon of a classmate and coworker, Asher. Bonding with him over hair dye, hockey, and the loss of a parent makes everything else bearable. But then Asher withdraws to the point where he barely acknowledges her existence. The day he doesn’t show for work, June realizes something’s Wrong, yes, with a capital W. She finds him in his home bathroom, clutching an unopened bottle of pills.

 

June flushes the pills, but Asher’s less than thankful. June ignites with a confusing and irrational fury. She needs another, clearer head to help Asher find the right support: Mom. Maybe even the rat bastard could prove useful. All June has to do is cross the canyon-sized distance between her and Mom—before Asher makes a second, more successful attempt.

 

 

***

 

Also, I do crit back, but just give me the heads up if you'd like a crit. Thanks so much in advance.

 

I love how much of June's voice you managed to fit into this query without making it convoluted or going overboard. Also, I think you made the problem and the stakes really clear, which is the most important part of any query. Personally, I don't think there's too much synopsis; I think you did a really nice job of blending plot information with a few specific details to make us care about the characters.

 

I do really like the hook, but as someone pointed out in their critique, the vandalism never comes back, so it doesn't seem all that relevant to the information that follows. Also, it might just be me, but the second sentence reads as really clunky and I had to read it three or four times to understand it. Is it that the mom told June and her older sisters that she was dating again eight months ago, or did the dad die eight months ago and now the mom is dating again? The first time I read it, I thought the older sisters died at the same time as the dad. And if it is that the mom told June and her older sisters at the same time, then what is the problem? Also, I'm not sure if the mom telling June that she's dating again is what makes June pull away from her. If that is the case, then I really like the rest of the first paragraph.

 

I love the whole second paragraph, except for the Wrong with a capital W bit. Again, that's just my personal taste, but that sentence seemed a little strange in an otherwise serious paragraph. And you already have her voice earlier in the paragraph when you discuss what she and Asher bonded over.

 

I LOVE the last sentence! Definitely makes me want to read the story :)

 

Overall, I liked your query, and the thing that I would focus on improving is the flow. I think you have all the important parts of a query in there, but the first paragraph was a little confusing.

 

Also, I really appreciated the comments you left on my query, and I found them extremely helpful! I've written a new draft and I'd really appreciate hearing your thoughts. The link is below in the signature :)


My query: 27 Club


#23 W.P.

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 02:22 PM

Dear Agent,

 

Getting arrested for vandalism isn’t on the list of Smartest Things June Gerber Has Done In Her Seventeen Years of Life. Then again, maybe if June was told Mom’s dating for the first time since Dad died at same time as her older sisters—eight months ago!—she might’ve reacted better. Betrayed, June pulls away. Mom doesn’t even seem to notice, preoccupied with the rat bastard. As the pang for Dad resurges, June has to fight from crawling back to the same mental hellhole she’d dug after his death.  ((great start! You've got a good hook and a great set up. Definitely makes me want to keep reading))

 

Desperate for at least one understanding ear in this llama-forsaken town, June turns to her curmudgeon of a classmate and coworker, Asher. Bonding with him over hair dye, hockey, and the loss of a parent makes everything else bearable. But then Asher withdraws to the point where he barely acknowledges her existence. The day he doesn’t show for work, June realizes something’s Wrong, yes, with a capital W. She finds him in his home bathroom, clutching an unopened bottle of pills.  

 

June flushes the pills, but Asher’s less than thankful. June ignites with a confusing and irrational fury. ((I feel like this should be in the second paragraph. And that the second paragraph could be trimmed down. I think "But then Asher withdraws... with a capital W" is unneeded. It's a detail in the progression of the plot that isn't needed.We can tell that he is struggling just by reading about him with the pills.))She needs another, clearer head to help Asher find the right support: Mom. Maybe even the rat bastard could prove useful. ((this is where you lose me. why her mom? why not a professional? or a teacher? anyone else, really. And why her boyfriend. Just sounds weird in the query. I'm sure it makes sense in the novel, but here it's odd because June doesn't even talk to her Mom much. They are distant. So I don't know. I think I need a bit more to believe this.))All June has to do is cross the canyon-sized distance between her and Mom—before Asher makes a second, more successful attempt.  ((Now I'm even more confused, regarding the focus of the book. I thought it was about June's issues, but turns out it's about her friend's. I know he's being used as a reason for her to get closer to her mom again, but it's odd how his issues seem to be more important than hers. I know he's in risk of committing suicide, but this ending makes it seem like it's about him and not her. Also, because the stake is him dying, it feels less personal to June. Sure, he's her friend and she'd be sad and hurt, but what else would affect her life? you know what I mean? stakes should be hitting the MC hardest, not some other character. There are exceptions, and this can be one of them, but we still need to know June's personal stakes, I think. even if they are not as life-or-death situation as her friend's.))

 

 

 

The query starts strong, but I feel like the ending is a bit weaker. But that's just my opinion. Others might think differently. Anyway, I hope this will be helpful to you.

 

 

If you could take a look at my query as well, it'd be great. :) http://agentquerycon...-back/?p=358070



#24 bookgirl_kt

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Posted 18 July 2018 - 12:31 PM

Getting arrested for vandalism isn’t on the list of Smartest Things June Gerber Has Done In Her Seventeen Years of Life. Nice opening. Then again, maybe if June was told Mom’s dating for the first time since Dad died at same time as her older sisters—eight months ago!—she might’ve reacted better. The sisters part is interesting but clogs up the sentence. Betrayed, June pulls away. Mom doesn’t even seem to notice, preoccupied with the rat bastard. As the pang for Dad resurges, June has to fight from crawling back to the same mental hellhole she’d dug after his death.

 

Desperate for at least one understanding ear in this llama-forsaken town, June turns to her curmudgeon of a classmate and coworker, Asher. Bonding with him over hair dye, hockey, and the loss of a parent makes everything else bearable. But then Asher withdraws to the point where he barely acknowledges her existence. The day he doesn’t show for work, June realizes something’s Wrong, yes, with a capital W. She finds him in his home bathroom, clutching an unopened bottle of pills. You have great language. (I love llama-forsaken.) A lot of long sentences, which could be stronger if shortened or mixed with shorter sentences.

 

June flushes the pills, but Asher’s less than thankful. June ignites with a confusing and irrational fury. She needs another, clearer head to help Asher find the right support: Mom. Maybe even the rat bastard could prove useful. I love the idea of her mom and even the boyfriend she doesn't like being what she needs. That said, it's not clear why her mom is connected to helping Asher. (Something you asked about in your questions.) I'm not certain you do need all the explanation you put in your questions. Perhaps just an explanation as to why her distance with her mother is affecting her ability to spend time with Asher would clarify it. All June has to do is cross the canyon-sized distance between her and Mom—before Asher makes a second, more successful attempt.

 

Hope I've helped! A link to my query is below.



#25 taylorhale

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Posted 30 July 2018 - 11:47 AM

 

 

 

NEWEST VERSION POSTED HERE:

 

Dear Agent,

 

Getting arrested for vandalism isn’t on the list of Smartest Things June Gerber Has Done In Her Seventeen Years of Life. (Too many capitals comes off as trying too hard for voice in my opinion. Consider: ...isn't on the list of Smartest Things June Gerber has done in her seventeen years of life.) Then again, maybe if June was told Mom’s dating for the first time since Dad died at same time as her older sisters—eight months ago!—she might’ve reacted better. Betrayed, June pulls away. (This seems a little weak. June pulls away to what? Does she go somewhere? Is this referring to the first sentence?) Mom doesn’t even seem to notice, preoccupied with the rat bastard. As the pang(longing?) for Dad resurges, June has to fight from crawling back to the same mental hellhole she’d dug after his death.

 

Desperate for at least one understanding ear in this llama-forsaken town, June turns to her curmudgeon of a classmate and coworker, Asher. Bonding with him over hair dye, hockey, and the loss of a parent makes everything else bearable. But then Asher withdraws to the point where he barely acknowledges her existence. The day he doesn’t show for work, June realizes something’s Wrong, yes, with a capital W. She finds him in his home bathroom, clutching an unopened bottle of pills.

 

June flushes the pills, but Asher’s less than thankful. June ignites with a confusing and irrational fury. She needs another, clearer head to help Asher find the right support: Mom. Maybe even the rat bastard (I prob wouldn't use this twice) could prove useful. All June has to do is cross the canyon-sized distance between her and Mom—before Asher makes a second, more successful attempt.

 

 

***

 

Also, I do crit back, but just give me the heads up if you'd like a crit. Thanks so much in advance.

 

 

Hey sorry for being late! I think you could use more information about what happens in the story in the final paragraph, but I like the voice and I think you're on the right track :)



#26 AReadingRedSox

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Posted 30 July 2018 - 01:30 PM

Dear Agent,

 

Getting arrested for vandalism isn’t on the list of Smartest Things June Gerber Has Done In Her Seventeen Years of Life. Then again, maybe if June was told Mom’s dating for the first time since Dad died at same time as her older sisters—eight months ago!—she might’ve reacted better. Betrayed, June pulls away. Mom doesn’t even seem to notice, preoccupied with the rat bastard. As the pang for Dad resurges, June has to fight from crawling back to the same mental hellhole she’d dug after his death.

 

Desperate for at least one understanding ear in this llama-forsaken town, June turns to her curmudgeon of a classmate and coworker, Asher. Bonding with him over hair dye, hockey, and the loss of a parent makes everything else bearable. But then Asher withdraws to the point where he barely acknowledges her existence. The day he doesn’t show for work, June realizes something’s wrong. When she finds him in his home bathroom, clutching an unopened bottle of pills, she knows she has to do something.

 

June flushes the pills, but Asher’s less than thankful. June ignites with a confusing and irrational fury. She needs another, clearer head to help Asher find the right support: Mom. Maybe even the rat bastard could prove useful. All June has to do is cross the canyon-sized distance between her and Mom—before Asher makes a second, more successful attempt.

 

 

I still do agree about the stakes with the query. There's nothing that's really spurring me on to read more. If the novel centers on the mother/daughter relationship I think that could be really interesting and should be put in the query. You can view my query here for critiquing: http://agentquerycon...ry-golden-hour/






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