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PURE SEA, GREY WAVES (YA Fantasy)Query on Post #250. I'll give feedback in return :D


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#161 The Doctor

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 06:45 PM

I have still only gotten rejections from this query :( I'm trying a new hook, after some feedback on chat last night (Thanks Michael and April and Twyx!). Does this work better? I'll return all critiques.


One thing you might want to take into consideration is the AGENTS and AGENCIES whom you are sending the queries to. I know you have send some out to a lot of different ones, but take a good look at their sites and their individual agents. They should have information on there about exactly what they are looking for and what they represent.
Try and find some who scream "THEY ARE PERFECT FOR ME" and send to them. =)
Another idea would be to pick up a 2009-2011 edition of Writers Marketplace.

#162 SC_Author

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 09:17 PM

I try to find agents like that, and I save those for my list A agents. But I feel too scared to query them with a new query, you know? I try sending my query to other, not-as-excited agents and see if it is working or not. Then I feel happy enough to move up to the A ones. But I need to know if my query works with most of them :(
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#163 The Doctor

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 09:41 PM

Wont know till you try ;)

#164 Lora Palmer

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 01:42 PM

LOVE your latest version! It really helped me connect with the world you've created, and with Alphi. It also clarified things quite a bit. Hope this garners you more requests now.
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#165 SC_Author

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 01:55 PM

YES! Thank you soooo much Lora! I've been working a lot on it, and you just made me feel so happy that my query actually wworks now :)
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#166 Joey

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 10:43 AM

Yes this last version is much better. It has emotion and stakes and explains this syfy world you've created. That to me, is the challenge when querying syfy, and would seem you've done it.

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#167 Peter W

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 11:34 AM

I have still only gotten rejections from this query :( I'm trying a new hook, after some feedback on chat last night (Thanks Michael and April and Twyx!). Does this work better? I'll return all critiques.


Dear Agent:

In an underwater village on the planet Vis Decor, no species speak (I stumbled a bit over this one - think it's because "speak" is a rather vague word in this case; perhaps object?) as the dark-skinned Greys give their food and labor to the light-skinned Pures. Only one sixteen-year-old grasps this injustice--and this Pure’s innocent call for equality whips her village into a mob.

Forced to flee her own home, Alphi’s only refuge is her uncle’s magical city. But even with all its twirling buildings, the city can’t keep her happy, and her joy is shot dead when the President--her uncle-- brutally tortures a Grey. No matter how much she searches, there is no way out -- (small thing: I'm wondering if the hypen is necessary since you've already used it in the hook as well as when you mention that the president is her uncle. Furthermore, a way out reads a bit vague - out of what? the city she is in? Dealing with the unjust society as a whole? Helping the tortured grey? Feeling the way she feels?) until the Grey rebels attack her own family. And when they do, she joins them.

The rebels are the family Alphi longed for, ones who, above all, value her ideas. But the declaration of war (For some reason I expected that, since they are rebels they would already be in a declaration of war against the Pure? Maybe that's just me, though) sends everyone up in arms, and although Alphi is left crying for peace, she knows only a war can stop her uncle. The line between right and wrong has never been so blurred, and neither of her families will be able to guide her through the bloodshed yet to come. (the open-ended closing leaves me wanting to find out what happens, kudos.)

VIS DECOR: ALPHI is a completed YA high fantasy with strong series potential. I have been published in two separate editions of A Celebration of Poets.

I have pasted the first ten pages of my manuscript below, if you would like to see them (is this for one specific agent? If not, I don't know if this will help or hurt your chances to be honest). Thank you so much for your time and consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon (I'd cut the last after the comma; it is a given, and they will get back to you if they like the query, fast or slow - their choice).

Sincerely,

Me


Hi there.

The comments above are mostly just nitpicks (since a query is never done :wink: ) .
I think you have a solid query with clear stakes and a main conflict outlined. As Joey said, you've also managed to give me a clear picture of your world, which I think is important as well. And the protagonist has voice!

As always, just my opinions.
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#168 Decreed

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 04:47 PM

Dear Agent:

In an underwater village on the planet Vis Decor, no species speak as the dark-skinned Greys give their food and labor to the light-skinned Pures. This is hard to read/understand. Only one sixteen-year-old grasps this injustice--and this Pure’s innocent call for equality whips her village into a mob. We don't get the protagonists name now until the next paragraph.

Forced to flee her own home, Alphi’s only refuge is her uncle’s magical city. But even with all its twirling buildings, the city can’t keep her happy, and her joy is shot dead when the President does this matter?--her uncle-- brutally tortures a Grey. No matter how much she searches, there is no way out --until the Grey rebels attack her own family. And when they do, she joins them.

So, question, does the play by play need to happen? I'm starting to wonder. The purposes I see for the first two paragraphs are worldbuilding and maybe establishing a reason for Alphi to turn against her own family. Well you can probably accomplish this much more succinctly and then get straight into the war. For instance, does it matter that it's her uncle? Does it matter that her village throws her out after she "calls for equality"? You could try something like: "Sixteen-year-old Alphi is the only one in her underwater village sticking up for the lower-caste Greys. She's determined to fight for their freedom, until Grey rebels ignite a war against the oppressive ruling family--hers." That's obviously rough and quick. Just an idea.

The rebels are the family Alphi longed for, ones who, above all, value her ideas. But the declaration of war sends everyone up in arms cliche, and although Alphi is left crying for peace, she knows only a war can stop her uncle. The line between right and wrong has never been so blurred, and neither of her families will be able to guide her through the bloodshed yet to come.

VIS DECOR: ALPHI is a completed YA high fantasy with strong series potential. I have been published in two separate editions of A Celebration of Poets.

I have pasted the first ten pages of my manuscript below, if you would like to see them. Thank you so much for your time and consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

Me


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#169 SC_Author

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 08:47 PM

Thank you so, so much guys! All you help has been so wonderful, and I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to help me with my query. It means more to me than I can say. You guys know how to pick a guy up from query woes :)

I looked to find each of your queries, but I can't find them. Please, tell me if you want a crit on your query! Thank you so much for your time, I think I'm going to give a go on these queries. Thank you so much :)
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#170 Jaxon

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 05:44 PM

Hi,
I am brand new at this - have just written my first query letter (Earth Girl), so take everything that I say with a grain of salt, because I really am just writing my opinion. I have no experience in this arena.


In an underwater village, the dark-skinned Greys live silently, working under light-skinned Pures’ rule. Only one sixteen-year-old Pure grasps this stupidity—and her innocent call for equality is about to set tempers ablaze. There is something that makes me want to see Alphi mentioned before the underwater village. Also I was unclear as to whether her uncle's city is also underwater. (Also- not a criticism, just and an observation - McClure as a last name doesn't seem to go with the rest of the story....probably just me)

Here is an idea for a beginning:
In a world that is covered with water, Alphi McClure, born to a life of privilege because of her light skin, rebels against the oppression of the dark-skinned Greys. Being born in a family of Pures, Alphi is not supposed to upset the status quo with her ideas about equality. Doing so causes a riot in her small village. Alphi flees to her uncle's city, a big place with big ideas. Hoping to find the utopia she longed for, Alphi is devastated when she she witnesses her uncle, the city's leader, brutally torturing a Grey. Now, alienated from her own family, she has no place to turn, until the Grey rebels attack. She joins them in their rebellion.

The rebels are the family Alphi longed for, ones who share her open-mindedness and love her. But the declaration of war throws everyone up in arms, and all Alphi has is one desperate hope: that her uncle will change. But she knows only a war will stop him, and the war is everything Alphi worked for. (not sure that I understand this - has she wanted war, or is a war for the ideals she cherishes?) The line between right and wrong has never been so blurred, and not even her family will ease her through the bloodshed about to come.

VIS DECOR: ALPHI is a YA epic fantasy complete at 117,000 words. This book would appeal to fans of Michael Scott’s The Alchemist. I have been published in two separate editions of A Celebration of Poets.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

Not sure that any of this was of any value, but hope it helps in some way. jaxon

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 10:30 PM

In an underwater village on the planet Vis Decor, no one denounces the light-skinned Pures for mercilessly lording over the dark-skinned Greys. Only sixteen-year-old Alphi grasps this injustice--and her innocent call for equality whips her village into a mob.

Forced to flee her own home, Alphi’s only refuge is her uncle’s magical city. But even with all its enchanted buildings, the city can’t keep her happy. Her joy is destroyed when her uncle--the President-- brutally tortures a Grey. No matter how much she searches, she is trapped by her family--until the Grey rebels attack them. And when they do, she joins them.

The rebels are the family Alphi longed for, but a declaration of war sends everyone up in wands. Although Alphi is left crying for peace, she knows only a war can stop her uncle so she fights along side them. The line between right and wrong has never been so blurred, and neither of her families will be able to guide her through the bloodshed yet to come.

#172 writingkills

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 04:19 AM


I went into this without reading any of your other queries, so bear that in mind.

Dear Agent:

In an underwater village on the planet Vis Decor, no species speak as the dark-skinned Greys give their food and labor to the light-skinned Pures. Only one sixteen-year-old grasps this injustice--and this Pure’s innocent call for equality whips her village into a mob.


I feel like you're using too many words in this hook. Would you be able to cut out the stuff about "Greys" and "Pures" and just keep the guts of the story? That Alphi is a sixteen-year-old in an underwater world who speaks up against inequality, causing riots?

I had to read over your older queries to realise what you meant by "no species speak". I understand now that you mean no-one objects to the inequality, but maybe even "speaks out" would clarify this? Then again, the alliteration trips me up a little.

Forced to flee her own home, Alphi’s only refuge is her uncle’s magical city. But even with all its twirling buildings, the city can’t keep her happy, and her joy is shot dead when the President--her uncle-- brutally tortures a Grey. No matter how much she searches, there is no way out --until the Grey rebels attack her own family. And when they do, she joins them.


First you say that the city can't keep her happy, then you say her joy is shot dead. If she wasn't happy in the first place, her "joy" wasn't there to be shot, was it?

Also, you say she's searching... What for? This sentence confuses me. Is she trying to find a way to escape her confusion? The city?

The rebels are the family Alphi longed for, ones who, above all, value her ideas. But the declaration of war sends everyone up in arms, and although Alphi is left crying for peace, she knows only a war can stop her uncle. The line between right and wrong has never been so blurred, and neither of her families will be able to guide her through the bloodshed yet to come.


I like this last paragraph. I get a good idea of the stakes. This is the bit of your query that makes me want to read more.

#173 SC_Author

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 02:28 PM

New one, thank you SO much guys for all your help! Does this work? Is it better? Thanks for all your crits, you guys are so amazing! I really mean that, I will say it 2342395 times over again, but you are the best.



Dear Agent:

In an underwater village on the planet Vis Decor, sixteen-year-old Alphi McClure doesn't listen when her mother orders her to desert her Grey friend. But a mother knows best. In a place where no Pure would dare talk to the Grey species, Alphi's innocent friendship turns her village into a mob.

The villagers attack, and forced to flee her own home, Alphi treks across the ocean to her uncle’s magical city. It's filled with enchanted buildings and promises of open-mindedness, but her joy is shot dead when her uncle, the city’s leader, turns his wand on a defenseless Grey. She can only endure the prejudice in agonizing silence, until the Grey rebels attack her uncle. And when they do, she joins them.

The rebels are the family Alphi longed for, ones who don't tell her how to think or feel. But the declaration of war sends everyone up in arms, and although Alphi is left crying for peace, deep down, she knows only a war can stop her uncle. Ripped between the loyalty to her family and the ideas she cherishes, the line between right and wrong has never been so blurred. The war presses ever closer, and no one will be able to guide Alphi through the bloodshed yet to come.

VIS DECOR: ALPHI is a completed YA high fantasy.


Sincerely,

Me


Is this new query a step forward, or behind?
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#174 writingkills

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 11:11 PM

I really like this new query. There are a couple of word choices I disagree with (I'm not sure how one would turn a village into a mob, and I'm not in love with "joy" in the second paragraph), but that's pretty nitpicky and, in my opinion at least, this is a huge improvement. I get a much better sense of the stakes and what's going on.

#175 Mia K Rose

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 11:30 PM

New one, thank you SO much guys for all your help! Does this work? Is it better? Thanks for all your crits, you guys are so amazing! I really mean that, I will say it 2342395 times over again, but you are the best.



Dear Agent:

In an underwater village on the planet Vis Decor, sixteen-year-old Alphi McClure doesn't listen when her mother orders her to desert her Grey friend.
But a mother knows best. In a place where no Pure would dare talk to the Grey species, Alphi's innocent friendship turns her village into a mob. [Somehow I think these three can be tightened into one punchier hook. Personally I think the planet name can be culled in the query. You could look at starting something like: In her underwater village sixteen-year-old Alphi McClure ignores her mother's disapproval of her Grey friend as she is a Pure... And finish with what you think is crucial, such as the villagers siding with her mum. Just an idea, try and put it in your voice.]

The villagers attack [Would an entire village really attack a 16 yr old? Maybe protest/chant for punishment?], and forced to flee her own home, Alphi treks across the ocean to her uncle’s magical city. It's filled with enchanted buildings and promises of open-mindedness, but her joy is shot dead when her uncle, the city’s leader, turns his wand on a defenseless Grey. She can only endure the prejudice in agonizing silence, until the Grey rebels attack her uncle. And when they do, she joins them.

The rebels are the family Alphi longed for, ones who don't tell her how to think or feel. But the declaration of war sends everyone up in arms, and although Alphi is left crying for peace, deep down, she knows only a war can stop her uncle. Ripped between the loyalty to her family and the ideas she cherishes, the line between right and wrong has never been so blurred. The war presses ever closer, and no one will be able to guide Alphi through the bloodshed yet to come.

VIS DECOR: ALPHI is a completed YA high fantasy.

Sincerely,

Me


Is this new query a step forward, or behind?


I think it is a step forward. My suggestions are above, and just that. Good luck with it. :)
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#176 SC_Author

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 08:06 PM

Thank you soo much Dizzy and Miak! You've helped so much, on this version and the ones before.

Is this better?

Miak, I had a problem where people (I think) though we were still on Earth in a previos version of this query. I don't know how to mention the planet without mentioning the name :( I did, however, cut down the hook. Does it work better? Thank you so so much for this! You've been amazing to me.

Dear Agent:

In an underwater village on the planet Vis Decor, sixteen-year-old Alphi McClure doesn't listen when her mother orders her to desert her Grey friend. She lives in a place where no Pure would dare talk to the Grey species, and Alphi's innocent friendship turns the villagers into a mob.

The villagers run her out, and forced to flee her own home, Alphi treks across the ocean to her uncle’s magical city. It is filled with enchanted buildings and promises of open-mindedness, but her bliss is shot dead when her uncle, the city’s leader, turns his wand on a defenseless Grey. She can only endure the prejudice in agonizing silence, until the Grey rebels attack her uncle. And when they do, she joins them.

The rebels are the family Alphi longed for, ones who don't tell her how to think or feel. But the declaration of war sends everyone up in arms, and although Alphi is left crying for peace, deep down, she knows only a war can stop her uncle. Ripped between the loyalty to her family and the ideas she cherishes, the line between right and wrong has never been so blurred. The war presses ever closer, and no one will be able to guide Alphi through the bloodshed yet to come.

VIS DECOR: ALPHI is a completed YA high fantasy.


Sincerely,

Me

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#177 AMK

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 08:26 PM

Hello again. Sorry things haven't been going as well as hoped thus far. I'll take a look at this version.

Thank you soo much Dizzy and Miak! You've helped so much, on this version and the ones before.

Is this better?

Miak, I had a problem where people (I think) though we were still on Earth in a previos version of this query. I don't know how to mention the planet without mentioning the name :( I did, however, cut down the hook. Does it work better? Thank you so so much for this! You've been amazing to me.

Dear Agent:

In an underwater village on the planet Vis Decor, sixteen-year-old Alphi McClure doesn't listen when her mother orders her to desert her Grey friend. She lives in a place where no Pure would dare talk to the Grey species, and Alphi's innocent friendship turns the villagers into a mob.

WHEN The villagers run her out, and forced HER to flee her own home, Alphi treks across the ocean to her uncle’s magical city, HOPING THAT SHE WILL SEE NOT ONLY ENCHANTED BUILDINGS BUT ALSO THE OPEN-MINDEDNESS OF A LARGER CIVILIZATION. It is filled with enchanted buildings and promises of open-mindedness, but Her bliss HOPE DIES is shot dead when her uncle, the city’s leader, turns his wand on a defenseless Grey. She can only endure the prejudice in agonizing silence, until the Grey rebels attack her uncle. And when they do, she joins them. WHEN THE GREY REBELS ATTACK HER UNCLE, THE DISPIRITED ALPHI JOINS THEM.

The rebels are the family Alphi longed for, ones who don't tell her how to think or feel. But the declaration of war sends everyone up in arms, and although Alphi is left crying for peace, deep down, she knows only a war can stop her uncle. Ripped between the loyalty to her family and the ideas she cherishes, the line between right and wrong has never been so blurred. The war presses ever closer, and no one will be able to guide Alphi through the bloodshed yet to come.

VIS DECOR: ALPHI is a completed YA high fantasy.

Sincerely,

Me


I still think this sounds like a great story. Are Alphi and her people mermaids or something like that? The whole underwater thing is what interests me the most in your premise. Can you give us a little more about them perhaps? There are lots of stories about families against families and prejudice, but underwater. Now, that's pretty original.

#178 SC_Author

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 09:02 PM

Thank you so much AMK! I'm so happy you came back. What's not been going as well as you hoped? Is it the querying process?

I took the suggestions you had (that so amazingly made everything flow in my query) and came up with this. Is this better?

Dear Agent:

In an underwater village on the planet Vis Decor, sixteen-year-old Alphi McClure doesn't listen when her mother orders her to desert her Grey friend. She lives in a place where no Pure would dare talk to the fishy Grey species, and Alphi's innocent friendship turns the villagers into a mob.

The villagers force her to flee, and Alphi treks across the ocean to her uncle’s magical city. She finds enchanted buildings galore, but the only thing she wants is the open-mindedness of a larger civilization. Her hopes are shattered when her uncle, the city’s leader, turns his wand on a defenseless Grey. The prejudice is endless, suffocating, and Alphi can only endure it in silence--until the Grey rebels attack her uncle. And when they do, she joins them.

The rebels are the family Alphi longed for, ones who don't tell her how to think or feel. But the declaration of war sends everyone up in arms, and although Alphi is left crying for peace, deep down, she knows only a war can stop her uncle. Ripped between the loyalty to her family and the ideas she cherishes, the line between right and wrong has never been so blurred. The war presses ever closer, and no one will be able to guide Alphi through the bloodshed yet to come.

VIS DECOR: ALPHI is a completed YA high fantasy.


Sincerely,

Me

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#179 AMK

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 09:15 PM

Oh nevermind about the "things not going well." I guess I misunderstood some of your earlier posts with others. Makes sense considering I had two little kids pulling on me the entire time I was trying to read your entries! : /

I like this version. It's more clear to me. Can you give us one of Alphi's unique physical attributes in the last paragraph somehow? Does she have gills or scales or fins or something intriguing? It would be fun just to give a taste of that.

#180 SC_Author

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 09:20 PM

Oh no, sorry, that was my fault, you did not misunderstand at all! I completely forgot about that. Back then, my querying time was a wreck, haha, so you were right. Thanks for the nice support :) I do feel better about querying now, it was just one of those down in the wells kind of days.
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