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Saving Andromeda - (YA mystery)


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#1 rewrighter

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 11:40 PM

Thanks for your feedback! If you desire a swap, please leave your topic title and I'll oblige. :biggrin:

Dear agent:

personalized blurb here.

Illegitimate....
Famous...
Murderess...

When Emma Hudson turns 18, her parents share three devastating revelations: At age four, Emma was adopted by her aunt and uncle. Her biological father is the Canadian equivalent of Bruce Springsteen. And her birth mother is a convicted killer called Andromeda Bain.

Fueled by stories in Andromeda's letters, Emma embarks on a cross-continent quest from southeast Alaska to a mansion in Bel Air and prison in Nova Scotia. Her family tree includes unknown relatives, simmering feuds and hidden relationships, the bad blood in her veins reaching back three generations. She discovers the true passion of her parents' romance, and the lack of it in her own. When Emma realizes parts of her mother's confession don't match up with the 20 year-old crime, she dives into a dangerous undertow of secrets, silence and heartbreak . Because if Andromeda Bain didn't commit murder, someone else did. And the real murderer may target Emma next, in Saving Andromeda, a 75,000-word YA mystery crossover.


bio blurb here.

#2 JNKhoury

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 12:44 AM

Illegitimate....
Famous...
Murderess... I recommend cutting these three. They just confused me and your next sentence is enough of a grabber you don't need these.

When Emma Hudson turns 18, her "parents" (unless you do mean her biological parents after all) share three devastating revelations: At age four, Emma was adopted by her aunt and uncle. Her biological father is the Canadian equivalent of Bruce Springsteen. And her birth mother is a convicted killer called Andromeda Bain. I'd like to know Emma's reaction to this, and it could be summed up in as little as one word. Is she... Horrified? Intrigued? Devastated? Weirdly delighted?

Fueled by stories in Andromeda's letters, Emma embarks on a cross-continent quest from southeast Alaska to a mansion in Bel Air and prison in Nova Scotia. ...where she meets her real parents, I assume? Or are they dead? Her family tree includes unknown relatives, simmering feuds and hidden relationships, the bad blood in her veins reaching back three generations. Nothing in this sentence adds to your query. I'd rather hear how her visit with her parents went. She discovers the true passion of her parents' romance, and the lack of it in her own. This is the first we hear of Emma's romance. Maybe mention it earlier if it's really relevant. When Emma realizes parts of her mother's confession don't match up with the 20 year-old crime, Does this confession come from her mother's lips or letters? I still am unclear on whether or not the mother and father are alive or dead. she dives into a dangerous undertow of secrets, silence and heartbreak this says nothing. Be more specific. Is Emma on a mission to find the real murderer? Or what? "secrets, silence, and heartbreak" tells me nothing about what actually happens next. Because if Andromeda Bain didn't commit murder, someone else did. And the real murderer may target Emma next why?, in SAVING ANDROMEDA, a 75,000-word YA mystery crossover. I don't feel the stakes are high enough here, or maybe you're just holding back too much and so it just seems that way in your query. Her mum may or may not have murdered someone, so there may or may not be another killer, who may or may not try to kill Emma, who may or may not do anything about it. Too many may or may nots. Gives us something definite, like... There IS a killer and he IS going to try and kill her, and her only hope is to X. I could say about myself that someone may or may not be trying to kill me at his very moment (I hope not) but until I say something definitive one way or another, I might as well say nothing at all. If that even makes any sense :unsure:

I am confused about what the main plot of the book is--is it a slower-paced journey of self-discovery and the meaning of family, or an action-packed cat-and-mouse game between a killer and his prey?

From the structure of your query, I get the sense that most of the book is about Emma riding on trains and planes and automobiles from one location to the next, visiting various strangers to whom she happens to be related, learning life lessons along the way about romance and the importance of family and whatnot. And then suddenly, towards the end of the novel, she discovers her mum's (maybe) not a killer after all, so (maybe) there's another killer who (maybe, though not sure why) wants to kill Emma.

But what I am going to guess at is that the whole mum's-innocent-the-real-killer-is-pissed-and-after-me-now happens a lot earlier on. So my suggestion is to scrap the bits about romance and family feuds and get to the killer right away. In fact, if the main plot of the book is Emma uncovering/ outwitting the killer, then put that in the first sentence and focus your query around that.

On a happy note, your writing is really good. I don't have many nitpicks with your diction and grammar, which leads me to believe your novel is good and polished. I get the feeling you have a great story to tell, and it's probably one of those novels which is particularly hard to condense into a query. I know how that goes :tongue:.

And, of course, take all of this with a healthy portion of salt and the input of AQ'ers who are wiser than me. :wink: Sorry about the length of this. I'm afraid I am a rambler. :blush:


Should you care to give it a look, my current query up for comments is Perfectly Pia.


Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia. --e. l. doctorow

#3 Moonshade

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 12:54 AM

Thanks for your feedback! If you desire a swap, please leave your topic title and I'll oblige. :biggrin:

Dear agent:

personalized blurb here.

Illegitimate....
Famous...
Murderess...
While I like where this is going, I feel a little let down by what comes next. This has me thinking that Emma herself is a famous murderess, rather than that her parents were those things. Generally I think it can be cut.
When Emma Hudson turns 18, her parents share three devastating revelations: At age four, Emma was adopted by her aunt and uncle. Her biological father is the Canadian equivalent of Bruce Springsteen. My alienation from pop culture is showing. What part of Bruce Springsteen am I supposed to associate with her father? I think it would tell me more if you called him "Canadian pop idol [insert name here]", or "the internationally renowned singer [name]" And her birth mother is a convicted killer called Andromeda Bain.

Fueled by stories in Andromeda's letters, Emma embarks on a cross-continent quest from southeast Alaska to a mansion in Bel Air and prison in Nova Scotia. Her family tree includes unknown relatives, simmering feuds and hidden relationships, the bad blood in her veins reaching back three generations. Ooooh She discovers the true passion of her parents' romance, and the lack of it in her own. When Emma realizes parts of her mother's confession don't match up with the 20 year-old crime, she dives into a dangerous undertow of secrets, silence and heartbreak . Because if Andromeda Bain didn't commit murder, someone else did. And the real murderer may target Emma next, in SAVING ANDROMEDA, a 75,000-word YA mystery crossover. Maybe I'm just a newbie, but I'm wondering what a 'crossover' means, other than when the cast of Battlestar Galactica meet Captain Kirk.


bio blurb here.


This definitely sounds interesting, but it leaves me wondering who the MC is in this story. Is it Emma or Andromeda? Whoever it is, I want to see more of her life, and more of what she DOES throughout the book.
I hope this helps you. My story is called the Bones of Babylon, and its query is under that title.

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#4 rewrighter

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 02:26 PM

Revision below.
Thanks for your comments - your questions helped a LOT! To answer all questions would stretch this query's length and I want to keep it to a graph. So I've fiddled with it a little.

In response to Moonshade, I'm unsure what else to add to the Springsteen comparison. Emma's dad is a really famous singer and I chose Springsteen bc I assumed he was popular enough everyone recognized his name. Adding anything else seems too obvious or insulting to the reader, but maybe that's just me. Suggestions on another comparison??

In response to JNKhoury - again, your questions helped a lot. Hopefully the tightened wording gives a clearer image of the plot but as you mentioned, I'm leaving lots out with graph. My intention is to get across the coming-of-age/mystery elements of the plot for now. Emma is reading the letters throughout the story so her discovery of Andromeda's innocence doesn't come until 3/4 into the book - which is why that info is placed where it is in the query. I could move it up but it suggests something that misleads.

Thanks for your help!!


When Emma Hudson turns 18, her parents share three devastating revelations: At age four, Emma was adopted . Her biological father is the famed Canadian equivalent of Bruce Springsteen. And her birth mother is a convicted killer called Andromeda Bain.

Fueled by stories in Andromeda's letters, Emma embarks on a cross-continent quest to track down her roots. As she travels from her home in southeast Alaska to a mansion in Bel Air and prison in Nova Scotia, she learns her family tree includes unknown relatives, hidden relationships and simmering feuds stretching back three generations. She discovers the true passion of her parents' romance, and the lack of it in her own. When Emma realizes parts of her mother's written confession don't match up with the 20 year-old crime, she dives into a dangerous undertow of secrets, silence and heartbreak. Since Andromeda Bain didn't commit murder, Emma is determined to find out who did and free her mother. But the real murderer has other plans, in Saving Andromeda, a 75,000-word YA mystery crossover based on a true story.

#5 Joel Q

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 02:34 PM

Nice job.
JQ

When Emma Hudson turns 18, her parents share three devastating revelations: (maybe.... they adopted Emma at age four....it's the whole parents, but they're really her parents things that go stuck in my head.)At age four, Emma was adopted . Her biological father is the famed Canadian equivalent of Bruce Springsteen. And her birth mother is a convicted killer called Andromeda Bain.

Fueled by stories in Andromeda's letters, Emma embarks on a cross-continent quest to track down her roots. As she travels from her home in southeast Alaska to a mansion in Bel Air and prison in Nova Scotia, she learns her family tree includes unknown relatives, hidden relationships and simmering feuds stretching back three generations. She discovers the true passion of her parents' romance, and the lack of it in her own. When Emma realizes parts of her mother's written confession don't match up with the 20 year-old crime, she dives into a dangerous undertow of secrets, silence and heartbreak. Since Andromeda Bain didn't commit murder, Emma is determined to find out who did and free her mother. But the real murderer has other plans,(this is straight forward and clear, but it doesn't have the same voice as in the earlier sentences.
(Also, I think this should be a new sentence.) in Saving Andromeda, a 75,000-word YA mystery crossover (what's a crossover?) based on a true story.


Need extra help, check out my editing services on my blog.

#6 rewrighter

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 10:14 PM

Revision #3

Thanks for any comments! I'd love to query swap so please leave your info if you'd like.

When Emma Hudson turns 18, her parents share three devastating revelations: At age four, Emma was adopted. Her biological father is the famed Canadian equivalent of Bruce Springsteen. And her birth mother is a convicted killer called Andromeda Bain.

For a girl who had her life mapped out, this knowledge blows Emma's life apart. Fueled by stories in Andromeda's letters, Emma embarks on a cross-continent quest to track down her roots. She travels from her home in southeast Alaska to Bel Air and Nova Scotia to learn her family tree includes unknown relatives, hidden relationships and simmering feuds stretching back three generations. She discovers the true passion of her parents' romance, and the lack of it in her own. When Emma realizes parts of her mother's written confession don't match up with the 20 year-old crime, she dives into a dangerous undertow of secrets, silence and heartbreak. Since Andromeda Bain didn't commit murder, Emma is determined to find out who did. And the real murderer targets Emma next, in Saving Andromeda, a fiction tale based on a bizarre crime in 1960s Nova Scotia.

#7 Moonshade

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Posted 30 June 2011 - 01:58 AM

Revision below.
In response to Moonshade, I'm unsure what else to add to the Springsteen comparison. Emma's dad is a really famous singer and I chose Springsteen bc I assumed he was popular enough everyone recognized his name. Adding anything else seems too obvious or insulting to the reader, but maybe that's just me. Suggestions on another comparison??

I wouldn't compare him to anybody, just like you wouldn't refer to Johnny Depp "the British equivalent of Tom Cruise" or something like that. Besides, the agents aren't here to read about a copy/paste of an already existing celebrity, they want the character you created. He's his own person, so tell us about him. Is he talented, lisencious, generous? And I want to know his name-- Andromeda got named, so leaving him unnamed makes him seem flat and forgettable. Give us something to remember.

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#8 Caitlin

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Posted 30 June 2011 - 07:56 PM

Revision #3

Thanks for any comments! I'd love to query swap so please leave your info if you'd like.

When Emma Hudson turns 18, her parents share three devastating revelations: At age four, Emma was adopted. Her biological father is the famed Canadian equivalent of Bruce Springsteen. [Like Moonshade, I don't really know what you mean by 'Canadian equivalent of Bruce Springsteen'. It's kind of a non-description, if that makes sense. I'm Canadian, and i have no idea what a Canadian version of Bruce Springsteen would be like! I wouldn't think much different...]And her birth mother is a convicted killer called Andromeda Bain.

For a girl who had her life mapped out, this knowledge blows Emma's life apart ['blows Emma's life apart' sounds a bit too cliche to me. Maybe something like 'shatters her world' or 'takes Emma into uncharted territory' (to go with the whole map thing) - still cliche, but...more specific, if that makes sense?.] Fueled by stories in Andromeda's letters, Emma embarks on a cross-continent quest to track down her roots. She travels from her home in southeast Alaska to Bel Air and Nova Scotia [you go from State, to City to Province (State equivalent). I would keep it in the same vein - just - Alaska, California and Nova Scotia. OR get more specific and say the cities/towns ____, Alaska, Bel Air, California and _____, Nova Scotia]to learn her family tree includes unknown relatives, hidden relationships and simmering feuds stretching back three generations. She discovers the true passion of her parents' romance, and the lack of it in her own. When Emma realizes parts of her mother's written confession don't match up with the 20 year-old crime, she dives into a dangerous undertow of secrets, silence and heartbreak. Since Andromeda Bain didn't commit[the] murder[she was convicted for] Emma is determined to find out who did. And the real murderer targets Emma next, in Saving Andromeda, a fiction tale based on a bizarre crime in 1960s Nova Scotia.



- Just curious, did a similar crime actually occur in Nova Scotia in the 1960s? Overall, really intriguing story line! And the name Andromeda is quirky.

#9 JMB

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Posted 01 July 2011 - 08:38 AM

A couple of comments. Only 2 of the 3 things mentioned in the opening are devastating. Having a rock star dad would be cool, right? And what were Emma's plans? Does she bail on university to hunt down her birth parents? And what letters? This comes out of the blue. And wouldn't she go meet her dad first, since he isn't in jail? Finally, I find the mother's name very distracting--too close to Chrichton's scifi novel The Andromeda Strain. Finally, the end is a bit jumbled. The mother didn't do it? Did she confess or has she always proclaimed innocence. And why do the adoptive parents bother to tell Emma the truth at all? After keeping the secret this long, why tell her?

I get the sense there is a good story in here but you definitely need to tighten up the query. Stick with it!

#10 kevinmont

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Posted 02 July 2011 - 12:58 AM

Revision #3

I have a problem with these two sentences,

Her biological father is the famed Canadian equivalent of Bruce Springsteen. And her birth mother is a convicted killer called Andromeda Bain.


What is the Canadian equivalent of Bruce Springsteen? Bruce Springsteen was a good entertainer, but he's certainly not ACKNOWLEDGED as being in the top-50 great rock stars of all time. You give away your prejudice when you mention him, and that's author intrustion, which is very bad. I recommend that you drop Bruce Springsteen and say,

"Her biological father is a famous (Canadian?) rock star."

And I'm from New Jersey, which brings me to my second point, which is, never start a sentence with a conjunction, which I just did. Or, you could do it in the manuscript (damn). But not in the query (damn). But my comments are only for effect (damn). And I hope you don't take it personally (damn).

#11 rewrighter

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Posted 02 July 2011 - 11:47 AM

Revision below.
You critters are all so awesome! Thanks for taking time to comment on this Q. A revision is below...it's obviously not going to answer ALL questions (I wrote an 80,000-word MS for that)(I'm editing it down) but I hope it is less awful than the first.
If any of you have Qs in this forum, I'll be sure to check them out. Again, thanks.

Happy July 4 everyone!


Dear agent:

blah, blah, please consider Saving Andromeda, a 75,000-word YA mystery, a fit for your list.

When Emma Hudson turns 18, her parents share three life-changing revelations: Emma is adopted from Nova Scotia. Her biological father is internationally famous folk rocker Michael Fletcher. And her birth mother is a convicted killer called Andromeda Bain.


For a type-A personality who hates loose ends, this knowledge blows Emma's future apart. Fueled by stories in Andromeda's letters, Emma replaces her summer plans with a cross-continental quest to track down her roots. She travels from her home in southeast Alaska to California and Nova Scotia to learn her family tree includes unknown relatives, hidden relationships and simmering feuds stretching back three generations. As Emma discovers the true passion of her parents' romance, she also realizes parts of Andromeda’s written confession don’t match up with the 20 year-old crime. But with a hostile crew of new relatives who'd rather sweep family secrets under the hooked kitchen rug, finding the truth is as elusive as filling a jar with fog. And the real killer is watching Emma's every move.

bio blurb

#12 rewrighter

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Posted 02 July 2011 - 11:49 AM

Oh, forgot the part about the bizarre true crime in 1960s Nova Scotia...to the critter who asked, I heard this tale when I was a kid. It's haunted me ever since.

#13 Caitlin

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Posted 02 July 2011 - 12:13 PM

Rewrighter - this is so much better! I REALLY like this!!

Revision below.

Dear agent:

blah, blah, please consider Saving Andromeda, a 75,000-word YA mystery, a fit for your list.

When Emma Hudson turns 18, her parents share three life-changing revelations: Emma is adopted from Nova Scotia. Her biological father is internationally famous folk rocker Michael Fletcher. (this is much better!!) And her birth mother is a convicted killer called Andromeda Bain.


For a type-A personality (i'm not a psychologist or anything - but I did take a lot of it in University!) and I have no idea what a 'type-A personality' is. And because of that, it's jarring and it alienates me. You're telling, not showing here what her personality is. You could just say: For Emma, someone who hates loose ends, this knowledge blows her future apart. For a type-A personality who hates loose ends, this knowledge blows Emma's future apart. Fueled by stories in Andromeda's letters, Emma replaces her summer plans with a cross-continental quest to track down her roots. She travels from her home in southeast Alaska to California and Nova Scotia to learn her family tree includes unknown relatives, hidden relationships and simmering feuds stretching back three generations. As Emma discovers the true passion of her parents' romance, she also realizes parts of Andromeda’s written confession don’t match up with the 20 year-old crime. But with a hostile crew of new relatives who'd rather sweep family secrets under the hooked (the word hooked doesn't really work for me for some reason. i know (or i think!) that's how people make rugs (my grandma makes rugs for something to pass the time) but...Maybe crocheted? (if you're trying to go for some kind of cozy family 60's feel?) kitchen rug, finding the truth is as elusive as filling a jar with fog (really like the description here of jar of fog - from what I know (which isn't much! i'm on the other side of the country! Nova Scotia gets a lot of fog, so it's apt :)). And the real killer is watching Emma's every move.

bio blurb






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