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The Death Collector -- YA Supernatural


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#1 Constantine Singer

Constantine Singer

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  • Publishing Experience:My debut YA Novel, Strange Days, will be in bookstores everywhere in December, 2018.

    I was discovered in the slush-pile and I got my querying start right here.

Posted 27 June 2018 - 05:09 PM

Hi all,

 

I have a new manuscript that I'm going to need to pitch to my agent so I want to make sure I have things as clear and concise as possible and writing a query is a great way to distil a complex story down to its most basic elements, which is what we need to do for all of our manuscripts no matter where we are in our writer's journeys.

 

Here's my first pass at it.  What I'd like is feedback on clarity and for places I can tighten it up.  It's currently a little over 300 words and I'd like to get it down to 285.

 

Thanks in advance -- I'll critique right back in thanks!

 

Steph Coleman may be nearly 18, but she looks like she’s only 10.  According to her mother, Anne, it’s because of hypogeria, a mysterious disorder which keeps her from aging, but when Anne dies of a stroke, Steph discovers the truth. She’s not hypogeric, she’s Kedaszi M’ul – a Death Collector – a nearly-immortal being cursed with the compulsion to collect the deaths of others, allowing them to continue to live – deaths that Stephanie must re-die every single day.   The deaths don’t come alone, either.  Each death brings with it both a lifetime of memories and, more importantly to Stephanie, each death ages her physically.   

 

Her mother’s death brings Stephanie through puberty.   Now she not only knows how to become the adult she’s always wanted to be, she’s also fully awakened to just what being an adult means and, more than ever, she’s intent on reaching maturity.

 

Her mom, unable to bear watching her daughter die every day, will do anything to keep her from collecting more deaths.  She takes Stephanie on the road to search for Stephanie’s father – a man whose existence was hidden from Stephanie because he, too, is M’ul.  Her mother believes he might keep Steph from repeating the terrible mistakes which condemned him to immortal misery.

 

But Stephanie is getting to know her father through her mother’s memories and she sees something different -- a man who never understood how to manifest his own father’s belief that M’ul are “Love Things,” meant to bring relief and joy to the world.

 

So when the RV breaks down and Stephanie meets Jim, the shy, beautiful and lonely mechanic tasked with fixing their vehicle, she must decide:  bear her condition as a burden like her father, run from it like her mother wants, or find a way to become the Love Thing her grandfather said she was intended to be.

 

THE DEATH COLLECTOR is a 95k YA Supernatural story and could be described as Interview with A Vampire meets Danny Champion of the World.


Look for STRANGE DAYS, my debut novel from Putnam/Penguin Teen in bookstores everywhere, December, 2018!


#2 Tanja

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Posted 28 June 2018 - 02:18 AM

Hi,

I'm going to comment on the overall instead of going into detail because there is one thing that dominates the query. Who she is, what her 'life' is about. In the first para, her mother dies, but later on, Steph is going on a trip with her mother. That is very confusing. On a side note, you sometimes call her Steph, then Stephanie. If you want to use both names, introduces her once as Stephanie, then stick to Steph.

 

But when I read the query, nothing is moving the query along, until the second and last paragraph. And that's where the story starts. So what I'm suggesting to do is start from where her mother wants Steph to meet her father and where she meets Jim, and feed the bits and pieces along the query about who she is. You don't even have to explain every single bit about her. A line like: Steph has to die every day to have a life, will already raise enough attention.

 

The story sounds very intriguing and a story like this doesn't need all the why, and what answered. Let the query speak for itself. Because when every why and what is answered, why should an agent pick up the book when he already knows every detail? Use the synopsis for that bit.

 

Good luck


Query:  10 DAY BETRAYAL

             10 DAY CONSPIRACY

             RABBIT 76 (NEW PROJECT)

 

Twitter: @tccorrey


#3 perpetual

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Posted 28 June 2018 - 03:33 PM

Hi all,

 

I have a new manuscript that I'm going to need to pitch to my agent so I want to make sure I have things as clear and concise as possible and writing a query is a great way to distil a complex story down to its most basic elements, which is what we need to do for all of our manuscripts no matter where we are in our writer's journeys.

 

Here's my first pass at it.  What I'd like is feedback on clarity and for places I can tighten it up.  It's currently a little over 300 words and I'd like to get it down to 285.

 

Thanks in advance -- I'll critique right back in thanks!

 

Steph Coleman may be nearly 18, but she looks like she’s only 10.  According to her mother, Anne, it’s because of hypogeria, a mysterious disorder which keeps her from aging, but when Anne dies of a stroke, Steph discovers the truth. She’s not hypogeric, she’s Kedaszi M’ul[keep this detail for the manuscript] a Death Collector – a nearly-immortal being cursed with the compulsion to collect the deaths of others, allowing them to continue to live – deaths that Stephanie must re-die every single day.   The deaths don’t come alone, either.  Each death brings with it both a lifetime of memories and, more importantly to Stephanie, each death ages her physically.   

 

I think this first half could be simplified a lot: Eighteen-year-old Steph Coleman stopped aging at ten. After her mother's death, she discovers why. She's a Death Collector (etc.) 

 

Also, I'm curious as to how exactly she finds this out. Why did her mom have to die for her to find out?

 

Her mother’s death brings Stephanie through puberty.   Now she not only knows how to become the adult she’s always wanted to be, she’s also fully awakened to just what being an adult means and, more than ever, she’s intent on reaching maturity. I'm not sure what this means, especially in the context of the story. What does Steph do/think?

 

Her mom, In what sense is her mom alive? unable to bear watching her daughter die every day, will do anything to keep her from collecting more deaths.  She takes Stephanie on the road to search for Stephanie’s father – a man whose existence was hidden from Stephanie because he, too, is M’ul.  Her mother believes he might keep Steph from repeating the terrible mistakes which condemned him to immortal misery.

 

But Stephanie is getting to know her father through her mother’s memories what does this mean? and she sees something different -- a man who never understood how to manifest his own father’s belief that M’ul are “Love Things,” meant to bring relief and joy to the world. I don't know what this means either.

 

So when the RV breaks down and Stephanie meets Jim, the shy, beautiful and lonely mechanic tasked with fixing their vehicle, she must decide:  bear her condition as a burden like her father, run from it like her mother wants, or find a way to become the Love Thing her grandfather said she was intended to be. What does her decision have to do with Jim? I take it she likes him but why can't she do that without making any of the other decisions?

 

THE DEATH COLLECTOR is a 95k YA Supernatural story and could be described as Interview with A Vampire meets Danny Champion of the World.

 

I really like the idea of your story, but I don't feel your world is fully fleshed out in your query. I don't get a sense of it and I'm not able to connect the ideas.

 

Best wishes in future revisions. :) 


Query: Click here.

 





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