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To Sail the Stars - YA


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#1 lionspaws

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Posted 09 July 2019 - 10:19 AM

Update in #5. 

 

Okay, I've been on here extensively in the past for this same query, so I'm not looking for overall query feedback, just which opening paragraph or "hook" is more interesting. I think the first one is clear, but the second has a little more personality. Link to your query and I'll gladly give feedback in return. 

 

#1

Sixteen-year-old Wendy dreams of independence, of a purpose beyond the marriage her father is arranging, but eighteenth century London has little to offer the daughter of a would-be aristocrat. Her only escape is the fairytales she weaves for her brothers after dark, when the candles are snuffed and Father isn’t listening.  

 

When Wendy’s family flees England in financial disgrace, a disastrous sea voyage leaves them stranded on an island rumored to shelter the mythical Fountain of Youth. Wendy fights to keep her family intact--and alive--as they encounter pirates, natives who never age and a tight-lipped gang of English waifs. This island has more mysteries than it has flecks of glittering mica, including a boy whose past is a closely guarded secret.

 

The island offers Wendy a life she thought only existed in fairytales, but rumors of the Fountain reach England and the navy arrives with cannons blazing. To defend the island, Wendy will need the help of a fierce native princess, a one-handed pirate and a boy whose heart beats in tune with the island, a boy with wind in his hair and stars in his eyes, a boy they call Peter. If they succeed, she will have a home forever. If they fail, the island and everyone Wendy has come to care about will be devoured in a cloud of gunpowder and smoke.

 

#2

Sixteen-year-old Wendy Edavene loves fairytales and her two younger brothers. She does not love the man her Father has chosen for her to marry, but eighteenth-century London has little else to offer the daughter of a would-be aristocrat. 

 

#3

Sixteen-year-old Wendy Edavene would rather be weaving fairytales for her younger brother than preparing for her debut, but that isn’t an option for the daughter of a bankrupt aristocrat in eighteenth century London.


http://agentquerycon...sail-the-stars/

http://agentquerycon...ique-in-return/

 

"You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." - Mark Twain 

"There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds." - G.K. Chesterton 


#2 speedchuck

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Posted 10 July 2019 - 09:43 AM

#2 is a little blunt and simplistic. That's the feel I get from "She loves this and this, she doesn't love this."

#3 isn't as clear. 'Debut' isn't a word I would tie in with fairy tales often, so it takes a moment for me to put the sentence together.

 

#1 is the most clear and concise. The first half of the hook is... okay, but the second half evokes a very real nostalgic and loving feeling that I like. I know this isn't an overall query critique, but what does the husband and arranged marrage have to do with the rest of the fairy tale?



#3 London C

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Posted 10 July 2019 - 01:12 PM

#3 is the only one that leads into the next paragraph. I think you need to put something in whichever one you use about her father being bankrupt, or explain that in the next paragraph. Re: Speedchuck's comment on debut, I think you can fix that by writing "debutant ball."

 

However, I think none of these are quite there. I like #1 the best, but I think I'd prefer it if it went something like this:

 

Sixteen-year-old Wendy dreams of independence, but the marriage her father is arranging to stave off bankruptcy will chain her to a man she doesn't love. Eighteenth century London has little to offer the daughter of a would-be aristocrat. Her only escape is the fairytales she weaves for her brothers after dark, when the candles are snuffed and Father isn’t listening.  

 

That's not quite right, but I'd connect the arranged marriage to the family fleeing (assuming that's the case), and break up the first sentence into two shorter ones. 


——————

My latest query is here. I appreciate reciprocal critiques


#4 Derrick

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 11:01 AM

Um.... why are any of those your hook? They are all back story to the most hooky sentence in your query!

 

My vote is #4:

 

When Sixteen-year-old Wendy’s family flees England in financial disgrace, a disastrous sea voyage leaves them stranded on an island rumored to shelter the mythical Fountain of Youth. But when England finds out about the island, she'll have to use the island's secrets (natives?) to defend it from the oncoming navy.


Would you do me the kindness of critiquing my query?


#5 Sreid

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 05:38 PM

Okay, I've been on here extensively in the past for this same query, so I'm not looking for overall query feedback, just which opening paragraph or "hook" is more interesting. I think the first one is clear, but the second has a little more personality. Link to your query and I'll gladly give feedback in return. 

 

#1

Sixteen-year-old Wendy dreams of independence, of a purpose beyond the marriage her father is arranging, but eighteenth century London has little to offer the daughter of a would-be aristocrat. Her only escape is the fairytales she weaves for her brothers after dark, when the candles are snuffed and Father isn’t listening.  

 

When Wendy’s family flees England in financial disgrace, a disastrous sea voyage leaves them stranded on an island rumored to shelter the mythical Fountain of Youth. Wendy fights to keep her family intact--and alive--as they encounter pirates, natives who never age and a tight-lipped gang of English waifs. This island has more mysteries than it has flecks of glittering mica, including a boy whose past is a closely guarded secret.

 

The island offers Wendy a life she thought only existed in fairytales, but rumors of the Fountain reach England and the navy arrives with cannons blazing. To defend the island, Wendy will need the help of a fierce native princess, a one-handed pirate and a boy whose heart beats in tune with the island, a boy with wind in his hair and stars in his eyes, a boy they call Peter. If they succeed, she will have a home forever. If they fail, the island and everyone Wendy has come to care about will be devoured in a cloud of gunpowder and smoke.

 

#2

Sixteen-year-old Wendy Edavene loves fairytales and her two younger brothers. She does not love the man her Father has chosen for her to marry, but eighteenth-century London has little else to offer the daughter of a would-be aristocrat. 

 

#3

Sixteen-year-old Wendy Edavene would rather be weaving fairytales for her younger brother than preparing for her debut, but that isn’t an option for the daughter of a bankrupt aristocrat in eighteenth century London.

 

Might I suggest you use the first two sentences of option #1 but end with "...a bankrupt aristocrat" since it ties in well with the opening of paragraph 2, Might I suggest you then incorporate the bit about "weaving fairytales for her brothers after dark" as something she does on the long sea voyage before it becomes disastrous? Even if it isn't strictly speaking what happens in your book, this is a sales pitch, and you can stretch the truth a little. I believe it might help the flow of your query a little, but what do I know?



#6 lionspaws

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 01:57 PM

Update. Thoughts? 

 

The only adventure sixteen-year-old Wendy knows is escaping into the fairytales she weaves for her brothers; that is, until her family is stranded on an island rumored to shelter the mythical Fountain of Youth. 

 

Driven from eighteenth-century London by financial disgrace, Wendy’s family survives a disastrous sea voyage only to find themselves marooned on a not-so-deserted island. Wendy fights to keep her family intact--and alive--as they encounter pirates, natives who never age and a tight-lipped gang of English waifs. This island has more mysteries than it has flecks of glittering mica, including a boy whose past is a closely guarded secret.

 

The island offers Wendy a life she thought only existed in fairytales, but rumors of the Fountain reach England and the navy arrives with cannons blazing. To defend the island, Wendy will need the help of a fierce native princess, a one-handed pirate and a boy whose heart beats in tune with the island, a boy with wind in his hair and stars in his eyes, a boy they call Peter. If they succeed, she will have a home forever. If they fail, the island and everyone Wendy has come to care about will be devoured in a cloud of gunpowder and smoke.


http://agentquerycon...sail-the-stars/

http://agentquerycon...ique-in-return/

 

"You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." - Mark Twain 

"There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds." - G.K. Chesterton 


#7 Derrick

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 02:28 PM

Ah I like it! It's a Peter Pan retelling, isn't it? I just got it. That's how effective the query is now.

 

I don't know, I think I would still put something about defending the island in the first para, just after that sentence you have there. But that's just me.

 

But I think this could work...


Would you do me the kindness of critiquing my query?


#8 London C

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 06:10 PM

I read this over a few times and came up with nothing I'd want to change. Good luck with quarrying!


——————

My latest query is here. I appreciate reciprocal critiques


#9 CarterT

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 10:19 AM

Gotta agree. Nothing I would change. I figured it was a Peter Pan retelling from the first one, but the newer version really does hit it home. Well done!



#10 Anna.k

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Posted 25 July 2019 - 02:50 PM

Ooo I like this a lot. Very clean and straightforward already.
However I would alter the second half of the first line; when her family gets stranded..how did they get stranded? I know you have that as a follow up but just adding some more dynamic wording might help.
Also toward the end when you’re talking about Peter, a boy with stars in his eyes, a boy with wind in his hair..at first I thought you’re talking about several different boys but it may help to put an em dash to show its all one boy.. ie; a boy with stars in his eyes, wind in his hair—Peter Pan. Or something to that effect.
Great job and I would totally read this!
(Pls take a peek at my query when you can thanks!!)

#11 JDSmith

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Posted 25 July 2019 - 05:36 PM

I think this is really solid. Everything we need to know is here. However, I do think that the sentence structure can be a little bit streamlined. It might just be me but it felt clunky to read. I also agree with Anna.k about describing Peter. The first line also kind of confuses me because we're told the same thing in the next paragraph.

(I'd very much appreciate a look at my query if you can, thank you!)


I'd really appreciate help with my query: Iris Mjolnir Spawn of War

 

First 250 words here: Woooo

 

Write on!


#12 Gabe S.

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Posted 30 July 2019 - 11:33 AM

I think the query is in great shape. I just have one point to pull up. I don't know what the whole story is, but if it's a retelling of Peter Pan from Wendy's point of view, then some agents will have issues with it. Some agents may welcome it. It's a thin rope to walk on and I hope you get a kick ass deal if everything works out! 


If you'd like, you can critique my query at: http://agentquerycon...a-sci-fi/page-2


#13 SuzieTheWriter

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Posted 01 August 2019 - 10:36 AM

Update. Thoughts? 

 

The only adventure sixteen-year-old Wendy knows is escaping into the fairytales she weaves for her brothers; that is, until her family is stranded on an island rumored to shelter the mythical Fountain of Youth. 

 

Driven from eighteenth-century London by financial disgrace, Wendy’s family survives a disastrous sea voyage only to find themselves marooned on a not-so-deserted island. Wendy fights to keep her family intact--and alive--as they encounter pirates, natives who never age and a tight-lipped gang of English waifs. This island has more mysteries than it has flecks of glittering mica, including a boy whose past is a closely guarded secret.

 

The island offers Wendy a life she thought only existed in fairytales, but rumors of the Fountain reach England and the navy arrives with cannons blazing. To defend the island, Wendy will need the help of a fierce native princess, a one-handed pirate and a boy whose heart beats in tune with the island, a boy with wind in his hair and stars in his eyes, a boy they call Peter. If they succeed, she will have a home forever. If they fail, the island and everyone Wendy has come to care about will be devoured in a cloud of gunpowder and smoke.

 

Okay, I really like this! Very to the point and interesting and not wordy. The only thing that I thought flowed too long was the part about Peter. I love the way you describe him---it has a lot of your nice voice, but I feel it carried too long in combination with the other sentence.


Please check out my latest query:

http://agentquerycon...antic-thriller/


#14 lionspaws

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Posted 01 August 2019 - 01:21 PM

I think the query is in great shape. I just have one point to pull up. I don't know what the whole story is, but if it's a retelling of Peter Pan from Wendy's point of view, then some agents will have issues with it. Some agents may welcome it. It's a thin rope to walk on and I hope you get a kick ass deal if everything works out! 

Hi Gabe, I'm curious, can you explain what you think agents might take issue with? Wendy was actually the main character in the original, so I'm intrigued...


http://agentquerycon...sail-the-stars/

http://agentquerycon...ique-in-return/

 

"You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." - Mark Twain 

"There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds." - G.K. Chesterton 


#15 Gabe S.

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Posted 01 August 2019 - 08:22 PM

Hi lion,

From what I’ve heard and what some agents have described in blogs/websites, agents tend to lay an extra layer of expectation on authors who want to re-tell classic stories. They are tougher on them. They want to justify or at least make the work be superior to send it to an editor who is willing to brand it into the same universe as the original. I hope that makes sense. Personally I think your story is pretty cool, so go forth!

If you'd like, you can critique my query at: http://agentquerycon...a-sci-fi/page-2


#16 lionspaws

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Posted 02 August 2019 - 08:57 AM

Hi lion,

From what I’ve heard and what some agents have described in blogs/websites, agents tend to lay an extra layer of expectation on authors who want to re-tell classic stories. They are tougher on them. They want to justify or at least make the work be superior to send it to an editor who is willing to brand it into the same universe as the original. I hope that makes sense. Personally I think your story is pretty cool, so go forth!

Ah okay. Thank you! 


http://agentquerycon...sail-the-stars/

http://agentquerycon...ique-in-return/

 

"You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." - Mark Twain 

"There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds." - G.K. Chesterton 


#17 janeald

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Posted 17 August 2019 - 05:52 PM

Update. Thoughts? 

 

The only adventure sixteen-year-old Wendy knows is escaping into the fairytales she weaves for her brothers; that is, until her family is stranded on an island rumored to shelter the mythical Fountain of Youth. 

 

Driven from eighteenth-century London by financial disgrace, Wendy’s family survives a disastrous sea voyage only to find themselves marooned on a not-so-deserted island. Wendy fights to keep her family intact--and alive--as they encounter pirates, natives who never age and a tight-lipped gang of English waifs. This island has more mysteries than it has flecks of glittering mica, including a boy whose secret past is a closely guarded secret.

 

The island offers Wendy a life she thought only existed in fairytales, but rumors of the Fountain reach England and the navy arrives with cannons blazing. To defend the island, Wendy will need the help of a fierce native princess, a one-handed pirate, and a boy whose heart beats in tune with the island., a boy wWith wind in his hair and stars in his eyes, Wendy needs help from the a boy they call Peter. If they group succeeds, she will have a home forever. If they fail, the island and everyone Wendy has come to care about will be devoured in a cloud of gunpowder and smoke.

The sentence that reveals the boy is Peter is a bit clunky, but otherwise, not too many other suggestions. I hope this is helpful!

 

I'd love your feedback on my query: http://agentquerycon...girls/?p=361490 !






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