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THE BRUISER- YA,Crime

Fiction Crime Young Adult

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#1 nsunshine

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 07:30 PM

This is an edited version based on the feedback below. I chose to talk about the themes of the book in the first paragraph and added a bit more of my voice into the summary. Thank you for any feedback!

 

Attn. Mr./Ms.,

 

Otis Cloud has the perfect life: he starts on the football team, plays in the band, and has a beautiful girlfriend. However, everything turns around when he finds his best friend, Michael, dead on the ground with a needle inside him.

 

Otis’s mental health slides. As he changes, he starts to push everything he once cared about away, ultimately losing his girlfriend, along with the rest of his friends, in the process. Otis is left with nothing, everything led back to that one night, that one mistake, leaving Michael alone. Otis blames the almost mythical maker of the dangerous drug that killed Michael, El Diablo, for his misfortune.

 

The drug El Diablo created, NHIL, is taking over the city, killing many, and addicting more. Otis decides to put on a mask, to become an icon, not just a man. He does what he needs to find El Diablo, breaking every two-bit dealer he can find for answers. On his way to the man at the top, Otis fights friends, foes, and himself. He is willing to give anything for his revenge; the entire city depends on it.  

 

 

            THE BRUISER is a YA Crime Novel, complete at 55,000-words.

 

      

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

                                                            Sincerely,

                                                                        nsunshine



#2 Carney

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 07:41 PM

 

Attn. Mr./Ms.,

 

 

 

When a dangerous new drug comes to town, Otis Cloud loses his best friend, and takes desperate measures to avenge him. THE BRUISER is a YA Crime Novel, complete at 54,800-words.  There are two generally accepted ways to start a query: the first (and most common) is with the hook - a two to three sentence paragraph that "hooks" the agent's interest and brings them into the story. The second way to start is with the book details. I don't think a mix works well. I'm also not fond of your hook. It feels vague and less than strong. 

 

Otis is a popular kid; he starts on the football team; plays in the band; and has a beautiful girlfriend. However, when Otis finds himself and his best friend, Michael, at a party, everything goes wrong. After being photographed with another girl coming onto him by a former friend, Stephen, Otis find Michael dead on the ground with a needle inside him. As the days went on, depression set in and, fearing he has changed for good, his beloved girlfriend leaves him. They left Otis alone with nobody left. As he comes to twisted terms with his situation, Otis blames El Diablo, the mysterious creator of the deadly drug NHIL that was plaguing his city, for his misfortune. With nothing left to lose, Otis did the job that the police seemingly wouldn’t, take on El Diablo as a brutal vigilante. First, Otis starts his baby steps into vigilantism as the stealth driven “Shade”, covering himself in only black clothing and a ski mask, ended with an almost lethal shot to the shoulder. This causes Otis to re-brand, he steals military grade armor from a local arms dealer and becomes the deadly, armored “Wall”. When he accidentally is involved in a plot that leads to the death of the mayor, Otis is forced to lie low and re-brand a final time. This time, he is less brutal, he buys tactical equipment, such as tasers and flashlights, and becomes the self-proclaimed “Bruiser”, ready to take down El Diablo once and for all. Okay - what you have is summary. Agents want to hear your story voice, not summary. The only true way to show voice is to use showing rather than telling - meaning action. The goal is to show your main character; what challenges the MC? What does the MC want? Who/what stands between the MC and the goal? What happens first and why does it matter to the story? Think of how the best story telling paints a verbal picture of people and events. You want the agent to "see" both the characters and the action as clearly as possible. This is what sells books. 

 

I come from a town that is filled with corruption, drugs, and death. I wrote this novel as a response to my upbringing. It is a realistic take on a genre that is consuming our pop culture, exploring what loss can really do to a person brought to the brink, and how rebirth does not always end in salvation.  

 A bio for an emerging author should only contain information about the author's writing background (if any) and information relative to the story being sold. Where you grew up, went to school, what you like, etc. doesn't belong in the query. Telling an agent that you wrote a novel to reflect on your childhood is generally a mistake because agents then assume you are doing writing "therapy." If you believe your background relevant to the story, you may want to skip the "upbringing" and where you live bits. A "town filled with corruption, etc. is vague and...well, nothing that special. 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

                                                            Sincerely,

                                                                       nsunshine

 

Queries are hard - really hard. Most of us go through many different variations before finding one that brings a request for pages. Try to think how to sell your story without reverting to summary which fails to show voice. I wish you luck with this process, just don't get frustrated, it will come in time. 



#3 kathleenq

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 07:16 PM

This is an edited version based on the feedback below. I chose to talk about the themes of the book in the first paragraph and added a bit more of my voice into the summary. Thank you for any feedback!

 

Attn. Mr./Ms.,

 

I am seeking representation for my novel, THE BRUISER, a YA Crime Novel, complete at 54,800-words. THE BRUISER is a realistic take on a subgenre that is consuming our pop culture, examining it through the lens of a crisis that has only been getting worse, exploring what loss can really do to a person brought to the brink, and how rebirth does not always end in salvation. (This normally goes at the end of the query)

 

Otis Cloud has the perfect life: (colon) he starts on the football team, (comma) plays in the band, (comma) and has a beautiful girlfriend. All it takes is one night at a party (comma) to change everything. After Otis when he finds his best friend, Michael, dead on the ground with a needle inside him. (period) He spirals, changing for the worst. His girl leaves him, his friends turn on him, and he is left with nothing. Otis secludes himself, blaming everyone except himself for what was is happening. (I think you should have a transition from this to the next, something about how he especially blames drug dealers or something, otherwise it's really sudden when he starts his violent side)

 

Ultimately, Otis takes matters into his own hands, he takes taking a black sweat suit and a ski mask and starts viciously attacking local dealers, questioning them about their employers. Doing this, Finally, Otis finds purpose, to takes down the head of the local drug ring, El Diablo. Otis begins to be happy again, even gaining two new friends, a couple named Andrew and Stacy, and right as life is turning around, a former friend (comma) turned dealer literally shoots Otis back down to Earth. Otis wakes up in the hospital, they had found him in his room in only underwear, bleeding out on the floor.  and Otis tries to lie low for a while, but the itch to be back out there neededs to be scratched. Otis steals body armor from an arms dealer and goes back out there, hellbent on completing his mission (what's his mission? I thought he had already taken down the head of the drug ring? Also the sentence isn't really necessary). He finally makes progress, discovering discovers a conspiracy by the mayor to use the media to hide El Diablo (Ah, I thought El Diablo was already dead, otherwise why would Otis have gotten happier) and lessen the impact of the drug crisis the city is facing. Otis tries to make the mayor answer for crimes, but right as the police move in, the mayor chooses a head dive over prison. The media frame Otis for the Mayor’s nosedive (so is the mayor dead? this is a very strange way to put it) and hides out again. Otis acquires some gadgets from the same dealer he had stolen the armor from (purchasing them this time!), and reinvents himself one last time, finally ready to take El Diablo out.

      

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

                                                            Sincerely,

                                                                        Nathaniel Sunshine

Your grammar needs some work, and there are some details that you don't need to keep moving the story forward. I removed Andrew and Stacy because you don't mention them again and they don't seem to be relevant to the overall query. Also, make sure that everything you write is in the same tense.

 

It's a good action plot, but I'm not sure I fully understand the stakes. What's the benefit of Otis chasing the drug lord, and why is he doing so? And at the end of the query, there's not really a choice. Like he's going to take on El Diablo and he feels ready, and it's just very anticlimatic. You need to get me to want to know more, and I'm not sure that I do from this.

 

Queries are hard. Keep working on it!


Query: Glass Domes


#4 smithgirl

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Posted 15 February 2019 - 03:06 PM

Dear Agent:


 

Otis Cloud has the perfect life: he starts on the football team, plays in the band, and has a beautiful girlfriend. All it takes is one night at a party no comma to change everything no comma when he finds his best friend, Michael, dead on the ground with a needle inside him. He spirals, changing for the worst. His girl leaves him, his friends turn on him, and he is left with nothing. Otis secludes himself, blaming everyone except himself for what is happening.

 

This isn't actually a hook; it's too long and wandering. Your hook should be short and concise. My quick attempt to rewrite below. 

 

Otis Cloud has the perfect life: he starts on the football team, plays in the band, and has a beautiful girlfriend. Then his best friend, Michael, is found dead from a drug overdose. 

 

Now add that other stuff.

 

Otis' formerly perfect life takes a nose-dive: He's off the team, out of the band, loses the girl. All he wants to do is avenge Michael's death.

 

 Ultimately, Otis takes matters into his own hands, taking a black sweat suit and a ski mask and starts viciously attacking local dealers. In this, Otis finds purpose, to take down the head of the local drug ring, El Diablo. Otis feels life start to turn around, gaining two new friends, a couple named Andrew and Stacy, and right as life is turning around, a former friend, turned dealer literally shoots Otis back down to Earth. Otis wakes up in the hospital, and tries to lie low for a while, but the itch to be back out there needed to be scratched. Otis steals body armor from an arms dealer and goes back out there, hellbent on completing his mission. He discovers a conspiracy by the mayor to use the media to hide El Diablo and lessen the impact of the drug crisis the city is facing. Otis tries to make the mayor answer for crimes, but right as the police move in, the mayor chooses a head dive over prison. The media attempts to frame Otis for the Mayor’s nosedive out a window and hides out again. He acquires some gadgets from the same dealer he had stolen the armor from (purchasing them this time!), and reinvents himself one last time, determined to complete his mission. He finally makes a breakthrough, discovering El Diablo’s main supplier. When Otis’s assault on the supplier goes poorly, El Diablo decides that the vigilante is getting too close, that whoever he is, needs to go away for a while. Otis is practicing trombone with Stacy when he hears gunfire reverberate through the halls, his sins had come to collect the tab.  This is like a synopsis. Your query needs to be a pitch: short and catchy. It's a common mistake, writing a synopsis instead of a query.

 

            THE BRUISER no comma is a YA Crime Novel, complete at 55,000-words. Always round word count. THE BRUISER is a realistic take on a subgenre that is consuming our pop culture, examining it through the lens of a crisis that has only been getting worse, exploring what loss can really do to a person brought to the brink, and how rebirth does not always end in salvation. Don't editorialize your query. Also, you need to add comp titles.

 

Hi nsunshine. What you have here is more of a synopsis than a query. Your query needs to be a pitch (aim for a final word count of <250 words minus the closing paragraph -- meaning your current query is also too long). It should have this structure:

 

 

[Hook (one or two short sentences to hook your reader)]

 

[Paragraph 1]

[Paragraph 2]

[Paragraph 3 (ends with the stakes)]

 

[Closing paragraph with title, word count, etc.]

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

 

Rewrite your query to focus closely on these questions:

 

1. Who is Otis?

2. What does he want?

3. What obstacles stand in his way?

4. What will happen if he fails (the stakes)?

 

You should also check out the Query Shark: https://queryshark.blogspot.com/

 

Query writing is ridiculously hard, so don't be discouraged -- this is a good first pass. Can you please review my query when you can Thanks! http://agentquerycon...title-redacted/

 

 

                                                          



#5 smithgirl

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 08:17 AM

Thanks for stopping by my query! :-)

 

 

Attn. Mr./Ms.,

 

Otis Cloud has the perfect life: he starts on the football team, plays in the band, and has a beautiful girlfriend. However, everything changes turns around when he finds his best friend, Michael, dead on the ground with a needle in his arm. inside him.

 

Much better. I think you can still tighten a bit. I also think that needle inside him sounds weird (it's like he swallowed it or something). I assume the needle is in his arm? Maybe between his toes?

 

Otis’s mental health slides. As he changes, he starts to pushing everything he once cares about away, ultimately losing his girlfriend, along with the rest of his friends. in the process. Otis is left with nothing, Everything that's wrong with his new life leads back to that one night, that one mistake: leaving Michael alone. But in addition to himself, Otis blames the almost mythical maker of the dangerous drug that killed Michael, El Diablo, for his misfortune.

 

 

This is much tighter and better. Good job! But the last two sentences feel in conflict with each other: it's Otis' fault for leaving Michael alone/ he blames El Diablo. I tried to tie the sentences together.

 

El Diablo's new drug The drug El Diablo created, NHIL, is taking over the city, killing many, and addicting more. Otis decides to put on a mask, to become an icon, not just a man. He does what he needs to find El Diablo, breaking every two-bit dealer he can find for answers. On his way to the man at the top, Otis fights friends, foes, and himself. Way to vague. Also avoid lists like this.  He is willing to give anything for his revenge; the entire city depends on it. Also too vague.

 

 

Wow, this is so much better! Good job! It's really good except the very end, when it suddenly becomes generic and vague: Otis fights foes, finds himself, gives up everything. You need to be specific here. These two sentences just described hundreds of other books. The stakes need to be very clearly defined. Good luck!

 

 

 

  







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