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SWAY (YA Paranormal)


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#1 AMK

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 01:27 PM

UPDATE AT POST 81

*REVISED YET AGAIN. IT WON'T BE THE LAST! I KNOW IT IS STILL TOO LONG. I TOOK OUT ALL THE VISION AND SWAY STUFF AND STUCK MORE TO THE SET UP. LET ME HAVE IT, FOLKS! YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME!


Dear Agent,

A 17 year old American who is way more into kickboxing than tea time, Lil has no idea why Aunt Vic left the English estate to her. Just the name of that place, Greneley Wood, gives her a weird feeling.

But the forest lures Liliana into its blue-green fog, and she meets Miach, eyelashes ending in tiny oak leaves, golden spider silk running from his broad shoulders to the branches of a hulking oak.

Lil learns that, to save his tribe from the Romans, Miach sacrificed himself to the woodland god, Cerunnos. He remains spiritually connected to the god through the tree. Awed by Miach’s fierce courage and his insatiable lust for life, Lil is ready to kick some ass when she hears Cerunnos’ terrible plan. Destroy what is left of Miach’s humanity. Raise the boy as Oak King. And use him to uproot the cities of Britain. All in just ten days.

But Miach believes Lil can free him.

Aunt Vic left her more than just a piece of property. Lil’s blood, blessed by The Great Hand generations ago, gives her touch and voice the power to break sacrificial bonds. With Miach’s time fading, Lil must figure out how to use her ability, battle a god, and save her parents who don’t know jack about the situation. Liliana is determined to create a happy ending for everyone, but she will soon learn that happiness isn’t something that can be forced. It must be found in the small triumphs of every day.

Using my Master’s Degree in Education in a way I never could have predicted, I teach kickboxing and self-defense to teens at our family’s martial arts school.

SWAY is a YA paranormal romance (or hey does someone have a suggestion as to a better label???) complete at 76,000 words.

#2 Justin Holley

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 01:49 PM

Hey AMK,

I haven't been around for awhile, but popped in, saw your post, and thought: what a cool story!

For the most part, I love this query, and I'd bet that you could probably get a number of responses for partials/fulls using it. My only real concern is your hook para (not the word count one). My opinion is that you could cut the second sentence entirely and incorporate it at the end of the next para. So your opening para might look like this:

When 17 year old Liliana travels with her parents to the neglected English manor she is set to inherit, she falls hard for Miach, a boy whose spirit is attached to one of the estate’s ancient oak trees. The only problem: a woodland god wants to turn him into a soulless monster before they've had a proper chance to fall in love.

(I'm sure you can do better, but see what I mean?). This way, the para reads more as an opening, rather than a summary, which can then be expanded upon in the next para (which should be a summary), where you'll then incorproate what she must do and what the consequences of failure are.

Hope that makes sense :)

Anyway, this sounds very good, and like I said, I'm sure you'll get some requests irregardless of how you decide to proceed.

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#3 mac66

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 02:39 PM

Dear Agent,

(insert specific agent info here and so on)SWAY is a 76,000 word YA paranormal romance.

How about a hook here. "Liliana never thought love grows on trees, but..." Ok, bad example, but you see what I'm getting at, right? Almost all of the queries on this site and the suggested templates use a succinct hook.

When 17 year old Liliana travels with her parents to the neglected English manor she is set to inherit, she falls hard for Miach, a boy whose spirit is attached to one of the estate’s ancient oak trees. She has ten days to figure out how to use what Miach calls her White Shine to free him before the woodland god destroys what is left of the his humanity, turning him into the Oak King, a soulless monster that will uproot the cities of Britain and create a new Eden. (These sentences are a little on the long side. Kinda run-on-ish)

As Lil first touches Miach’s hand, the weird golden strings that connect him to his oak disappear. It’s not a permanent fix for the boy, but Lil believes that her touch may hold the key to using whatever bizarre power is in her blood. She puts her palms on Miach’s oak and, feeling like an idiot, shouts at the woodland god, Cerunnos. A wild wind announcing his arrival, (tense sounds wrong) Cerunnos strikes out at Lil, compressing her chest (? - compressing her chest sounds kinda weird, like he is trying CPR on her. Sorry. How about "flattening her" or just "knocks her unconscious"?) and knocking her unconscious. Each time she attempts to free Miach, the god attacks in new and nastier ways, leaving Lil to lie to her parents about her injuries. Though her parents want to get her back home, Lil, crazy entranced with Miach and his wide-eyed passion for life, (unnecessary and run-on) refuses to give up. As the ten days dwindle down to nothing, she is left with a choice. She must either fly home with her parents, keeping them safe from the coming disaster, or juke them at the airport and stay by Miach’s side until the last of his true self disappears. (You have a nice writing style, but I really don't get a sense of immediacy or finality to any of this. I should, shouldn't I? It's more like a even handed account of what happens. I'd love to get a better sense of the conflict here.)

Using my Master’s Degree in Education in a way I never could have predicted, I teach kickboxing and self-defense to teens at our family’s martial arts school. In addition to the time I spend obsessing over English history, I am an active member of YALitChat, AgentQueryConnect, Historical Fiction Online, and my local writing group.

SWAY is a YA paranormal romance complete at 76,000 words. I have included (insert what they want).

Thank you for your time and consideration.


I am a newbie, so take the criticism with a grain of salt. I've found that you can't listen to any one critique too much or you will end up thrashing and trying to please everybody. Look for repeating themes over several critiques and go from there. Again, I like your writing style and I wish you the best of luck.

#4 AMK

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 09:09 PM

Thanks, Justin and Mac. I posted a revision in the original at the top if you'd like to take a look.

#5 Granite Mark

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 09:50 PM

***This is updated as of 9PM Monday.


Dear Agent,

(insert specific agent info here and so on)SWAY is a 76,000 word YA paranormal romance. (put this paragraph at the end, IMO)

When 17 year old Liliana travels with her parents to the neglected English manor she is set to inherit, she falls hard for Miach, a boy whose spirit is attached to one of the estate’s ancient oak trees. Too bad some woodland god is about to turn him into a soulless monster. (pretty good) :smile:

In just ten days, the god of the wood, Cerunnos, will destroy what is left of Miach’s humanity, raise him as the Oak King, and put him to work uprooting the cities of Britain to create a new Eden. That is unless Lil can figure out how to free Miach using what he calls her White Shine (this is interesting. can you explain a bit more on this?). Each time she attempts to break his bond through words or touch, Cerunnos attacks in new and nastier ways, ("nastier" doesn't work for me. sounds like mischief. How 'bout "more brutal" - something to heighten the danger.) leaving Lil to lie to her parents about her injuries. ( previous phrase not necessary, IMO) As the ten days dwindle down to nothing, she is left with a choice: Fly home with her parents, keeping them safe from the coming disaster, or risk her life and theirs by taking one last stand against Miach’s terrible fate.

Using my Master’s Degree in Education in a way I never could have predicted, I teach kickboxing and self-defense to teens at our family’s martial arts school. In addition to the time I spend obsessing over English history, I am an active member of YALitChat, AgentQueryConnect, Historical Fiction Online, and my local writing group.

SWAY is a YA paranormal romance complete at 76,000 words. I have included (insert what they want).

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Good query. I have a few suggestions. Please don't beat me up :wink:

Check out my blog!     www.markdavieswriter.com


#6 mac66

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 08:20 AM

***This is updated as of 9PM Monday.


Dear Agent,

(insert specific agent info here and so on)SWAY is a 76,000 word YA paranormal romance.

When 17 year old Liliana travels with her parents to the neglected English manor she is set to inherit, she falls hard for Miach, a boy whose spirit is attached to one of the estate’s ancient oak trees. Too bad some woodland god is about to turn him into a soulless monster. (The last sentence could sound more sinister - talking about the "too bad" part. In my mind, its "too bad" when I drop my ice cream cone. When civilization is going to be razed, its disaster or ruin or mayhem or destruction. Not sure what you're trying for. Only you know the tone of your story).

In just ten days, the god of the wood, Cerunnos, will destroy what is left of Miach’s humanity, raise him as the Oak King, and put him to work (could be stronger) uprooting the cities of Britain to create a new Eden. That is unless Lil can figure out how to free Miach using what he calls her White Shine. Each time she attempts to break his bond through words or touch, Cerunnos attacks in new and nastier ways, leaving Lil to lie to her parents about her injuries. As the ten days dwindle down to nothing, she is left with a choice. Fly home with her parents, shielding them keeping them safe from the coming disaster, or risk all their lives her life and theirs by taking one last stand against Miach’s terrible fate (is she standing against his fate or against the wrath of Cerunnos?).

Using my Master’s Degree in Education in a way I never could have predicted, I teach kickboxing and self-defense to teens at our family’s martial arts school. In addition to the time I spend obsessing over English history, I am an active member of YALitChat, AgentQueryConnect, Historical Fiction Online, and my local writing group.

SWAY is a YA paranormal romance complete at 76,000 words. I have included (insert what they want).

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Please don't kickbox me for the critique :smile: You're getting close. It sounds better.

#7 Cheryl B. Dale

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 01:03 PM

***This is updated as of 9PM Monday.


Dear Agent,

(insert specific agent info here and so on)SWAY is a 76,000 word YA paranormal romance.

When 17 year old Liliana travels with her parents to the neglected English manor she is set to inherit, she falls hard for Miach, a boy whose spirit is attached to one of the estate’s ancient oak trees. Too bad some woodland god is about to turn him into a soulless monster.

In just ten days, the god of the wood, Cerunnos, will destroy what is left of Miach’s humanity, raise him as the Oak King, and put him to work uprooting the cities of Britain to create a new Eden. That is unless Lil can figure out how to free Miach using what he calls her White Shine. Each time she attempts to break his bond through words or touch, Cerunnos attacks in new and nastier ways, leaving Lil to lie to her parents about her injuries. As the ten days dwindle down to nothing, she is left with a choice. Fly home with her parents, keeping them safe from the coming disaster, or risk her life and theirs by taking one last stand against Miach’s terrible fate.

Using my Master’s Degree in Education in a way I never could have predicted, I teach kickboxing and self-defense to teens at our family’s martial arts school. In addition to the time I spend obsessing over English history, I am an active member of YALitChat, AgentQueryConnect, Historical Fiction Online, and my local writing group.

SWAY is a YA paranormal romance complete at 76,000 words. I have included (insert what they want).

Thank you for your time and consideration.


The hook isn't very hooky. I think it may be the presentation. It's long and clunky instead of reaching out and grabbing the reader. The conflict's clear so that's good.

You kind of dance around the story though. Not sure White Shine is necessary the way you're writing the query now. And show us instead of telling us how she tries to save him: e.g., Lil clings to Miach, hoping her touch will free him. But Cerunnos whips up a thunderstorm, its wind breaking branches on Miach's oak and its lightning striking scant feet from Lil. Okay, this isn't your story but maybe you can see what I mean by showing.

Finally your personal info. Strangely, this has more voice than the blurb for your story. Because of that, I waver as to whether or not you should lose it. Normally agts/eds care only about whether or not you can write, and unless you have publishing credentials already, personal stuff won't move them. But as I said, this stands out more than the blurb itself. So...

And this is only my opinion. Hope it's of some help.

#8 AMK

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 02:23 PM

Thank you, nhnewbie, mac66, and cherylID! I agree with your suggestions. In fact, Cheryl, I was thinking the same thing just two minutes before I checked your post! BTW I promise not to lay any roundhouse kicks on anyone *rolls eyes at self*!

mac66: My "too bad" and "nastier" were meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but I guess it didn't come across as such. I'm no standup comedian. Back to the drawing board.

I'm trying to get the premise across clearly with show not tell, without too much info, but with voice and just enough info...urgh. Me no likee queries. I'll post a new version soon. I need to walk away for a day or two.

And about hooks. I have to be honest. I don't like them. Everytime I read one--even good ones--I just have to wrinkle my nose. It just feels like trying too hard, overdoing it. Know what I mean? I have read that many agents don't care for them either. But I'm not here to rock the format boat, so I'll just leave it at that.

Once again, thanks. I'll repost.

#9 mac66

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 02:32 PM

AMK - as far as being tongue-in-cheek with some of your expressions, don't back off just because I didn't catch on. In fact, if this is the tone used in the book, stay true to it. You successfully wrote 76000 words in your style - don't change now.

I'll agree that queries are no fun. I'm gonna repost my query tonight and then prepare for the bloodbath. Wouldn't it just be easier to just send our completed books straight to the publishers with a post-it note saying "Read This"?

#10 Mindi F.

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 07:06 PM

I get caught up on the 'too bad' as well, mainly because it feels like a sudden shift of gears following the first sentence. I really like the way this is shaping up, I find it clear and concise and I feel like I get a good overall sense of what your story is about.

'As the ten days dwindle down to nothing, she is left with a choice. Fly home with her parents, keeping them safe from the coming disaster, or risk her life and theirs by taking one last stand against Miach’s terrible fate.'

I think there should be a semi-colon between choice and fly. The second sentence seems fragmented.

#11 SC_Author

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 08:50 PM

***This is updated as of 9PM Monday.


Dear Agent,

(insert specific agent info here and so on)SWAY is a 76,000 word YA paranormal romance.

When 17 year old Liliana travels with her parents To lessen wordiness to the neglected English manor she is set to inherit, she falls hard for Miach, a boy whose spirit is attached to one of the estate’s ancient oak trees. Too bad some woodland god is about to turn him into a soulless monster. Any way to rephrase the last sentence? It seems cliche, if you know what I mean. Try moving it around, away from the "Too bad..."

In just ten days, the god of the wood, Cerunnos, will destroy what is left of Miach’s humanity, raise him as the Oak King, and put him to work uprooting the cities of Britain to create a new Eden. That is unless Lil can figure out how to free Miach using what he calls her White Shine. There are a lot of pronouns here, 8 in two sentences. It gets really jumbled up and confusing. Try cutting or spreading it out. Each time she attempts to break his bond through words or touch, Cerunnos attacks in new and nastier ways Can you show us this, so we know just how horrible he is? Make us feal Lil's plight, leaving Lil to lie to her parents about her injuries. As the ten days dwindle down to nothing, she is left with a choice. Fly home with her parents, keeping them safe from the coming disaster, or risk her life and theirs lives by taking one last stand against Miach’s terrible fate. Amazing sinker (hook at end of query). It's really good! But I'm not sure if the rest of the query lives up to the sinker. Any way to make us feeeel Liliana's plight? Make us love Liliana and Miach's relationship, as this is a romance. Make us love how they get along (SHOW us some of their relationship quirks and shyness) and then when Cerunnos threatens to destroy it, the reader will get VERY upset. Show us just how much Liliana needs Miach, and vice versa, how in love they are. Don't tell us (like in "falls hard for Miach").

Using my Master’s Degree in Education in a way I never could have predicted, I teach kickboxing and self-defense to teens at our family’s martial arts school. Not sure if this relates to writing, but it's your query :) In addition to the time I spend obsessing over English history, I am an active member of YALitChat, AgentQueryConnect, Historical Fiction Online, and my local writing group.

SWAY is a YA paranormal romance complete at 76,000 words. I have included (insert what they want).

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Amazing concept, much different than most paranormal romance I've heard of, in a very good way! New, and exciting, I love your concept. Great job, and amazing idea :) Keep working at it! Thanks for critiquing my query!
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and SCWrite.blogspot.com for my blog :)

I am blogging about all things writing and JK Rowling. I also divulge secrets about the craft.

Because writers are insane. Being a writer is misery. And, as we all know, misery loves company :)

#12 Kroderick

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 09:17 PM

Oh my gosh I want to read your book!!!! Keep in contact with me so that when you publish it, I can read it!!! Totally my kind of book. Super excited for you!!!

#13 AMK

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 09:38 AM

mac66. Yeah, the post it note idea has true merit, my friend.

Thanks so much for the suggestions, mac66, mindiF, scauthor, and kroderick. I love to hear nice stuff. It helps me to keep on keeping on.

So I posted a new, totally different version at the first post. I'd love your thoughts! I know it's too long...

#14 mac66

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 10:10 AM

***Updated as of 11PM Tuesday. I know, I know. I'm no good at taking a day off. This is a totally different, probably-too-long version. Have at it, my dear AQC pals.



Dear Agent,

Lil has no idea why Aunt Vic left it to her. Just the name of the place, Greneley Wood, gives her a weird feeling. Chills? Anticipation? And she’ll be there in fourteen hours. (Yes. Grabs me. Love it.)

When 17 year old Liliana arrives at the English estate, she leaves her parents to their arguments, pulled like a fish on a line into the ancient forest that surrounds the place like a blue-green fog. ( I like the similes, but two in the same sentence makes it look like you're trying too hard)

From the hollow of a hulking oak, a boy appears, eyelashes ending in tiny oak leaves, golden spider silk running from his broad shoulders to the gnarled ridges of the tree. Immediately Lil notices the change in her vision (I actually like the sunglasses thing, but a shorter phrase seems more natural, especially in a query where your words are limited. Not altogether sure) . It's like she's wearing a pair of those yellow-lensed sunglasses kids buy at the drug store. Her heartbeat thunders through her feet, her hands, and the leafy ground under her shoes. The boy, Miach, tells Lil that she is under his sway. Under the influence of a Green Man.

Wide-eyed, his vowels all curled in on themselves, (Don't know about previous description. Maybe depends on word count) Miach tells her that, to save his tribe from the Romans, he gave himself as a sacrifice to the woodland god, Cerunnos. Hung on that very oak, he is now spiritually connected to the god through the tree. Amazed at his story, his innocent enjoyment of her modern music, and his insatiable lust for life, Lil is crushed despairs when he tells her what is coming. In ten days, Cerunnos will destroy what is left of his humanity, raise Miach him as Oak King, and use his brutal strength to uproot the cities of Britain.

Unless Lil can stop him. Turns out, there is a reason her aunt left the manor and its forest to her. Liliana has inherited more than just a piece of property. Her blood gives her the ability to break bonds, to fight for Free Will.

Miach believes she can free him before he is forced to murder and destroy. Now she must figure out how to live up to Miach’s faith, battle a god, and save her parents who don't won't believe that this myth that has come to life. Liliana is determined to create a happy ending for everyone, but she will soon learn that the only thing she can truly control is herself. (Ooooooo - Love the last sentence.)

Using my Master’s Degree in Education in a way I never could have predicted, I teach kickboxing and self-defense to teens at our family’s martial arts school. In addition to the time I spend obsessing over English history, I am an active member of YALitChat, AgentQueryConnect, Historical Fiction Online, and my local writing group.

SWAY is a YA paranormal romance (or hey does someone have a suggestion as to a better label???) complete at 76,000 words.


Looks great. Just change it all to pluperfect passive subjunctive tense and you'll be all done :wink:

#15 Cheryl B. Dale

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 10:46 AM

Whoa! This is long! Most agts/eds nowadays want 250-300 words, and the less the better. If you can't show the type story and lay out the conflict in that many words, they'll probably think you're a newbie with lots of padding in your ms.

The good thing is that you've got everything you need here, just too much of it. So cut it down to what you really need.

Just my opinion, naturally.


***Updated as of 11PM Tuesday. I know, I know. I'm no good at taking a day off. This is a totally different, probably-too-long version. Have at it, my dear AQC pals.



Dear Agent,

Lil has no idea why Aunt Vic left it to her. Just the name of the place, Greneley Wood, gives her a weird feeling. Chills? Anticipation? And she’ll be there in fourteen hours.

When 17 year old Liliana arrives at the English estate, she leaves her parents to their arguments, pulled like a fish on a line into the ancient forest that surrounds the place like a blue-green fog.

From the hollow of a hulking oak, a boy appears, eyelashes ending in tiny oak leaves, golden spider silk running from his broad shoulders to the gnarled ridges of the tree. Immediately Lil notices the change in her vision. It's like she's wearing a pair of those yellow-lensed sunglasses kids buy at the drug store. Her heartbeat thunders through her feet, her hands, the leafy ground under her shoes. The boy, Miach, tells Lil that she is under his sway. Under the influence of a Green Man.

Wide-eyed, his vowels all curled in on themselves, Miach tells her that, to save his tribe from the Romans, he gave himself as a sacrifice to the woodland god, Cerunnos. Hung on that very oak, he is now spiritually connected to the god through the tree. Amazed at his story, his innocent enjoyment of her modern music, and his insatiable lust for life, Lil is crushed when he tells her what is coming. In ten days, Cerunnos will destroy what is left of his humanity, raise him as Oak King, and use his brutal strength to uproot the cities of Britain.

Unless Lil can stop him. Turns out, there is a reason her aunt left the manor and its forest to her. Liliana has inherited more than just a piece of property. Her blood gives her the ability to break bonds, to fight for Free Will.

Miach believes she can free him before he is forced to murder and destroy. Now she must figure out how to live up to Miach’s faith, battle a god, and save her parents who won't believe that this myth that has come to life. Liliana is determined to create a happy ending for everyone, but she will soon learn that the only thing she can truly control is herself.

Using my Master’s Degree in Education in a way I never could have predicted, I teach kickboxing and self-defense to teens at our family’s martial arts school. In addition to the time I spend obsessing over English history, I am an active member of YALitChat, AgentQueryConnect, Historical Fiction Online, and my local writing group.

SWAY is a YA paranormal romance (or hey does someone have a suggestion as to a better label???) complete at 76,000 words.



#16 cherie

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 11:17 AM

First off, I LOVE your premise. Very unique and intriguing. :smile: And secondly, queries are HAAAARD! I totally agree with you on that.

***Updated as of 11PM Tuesday. I know, I know. I'm no good at taking a day off. This is a totally different, probably-too-long version. Have at it, my dear AQC pals.



Dear Agent,

Lil has no idea why Aunt Vic left it to her. (Great showcase of voice in the first para. But I'm not loving the "it" in your first sentence. Maybe: Lil has no idea why Aunt Vic left Greneley Wood to her. Just the name alone gives her a weird feeling.) Just the name of the place, Greneley Wood, gives her a weird feeling. Chills? Anticipation? And she’ll be there in fourteen hours.

When 17 year old Liliana arrives at the English estate, she's leaves her parents to their arguments, pulled like a fish on a line drawn into the ancient forest that surrounds the place like a blue-green fog.

From the hollow of a hulking oak, a boy appears, eyelashes ending in tiny oak leaves, golden spider silk running from his broad shoulders to the gnarled ridges of the tree. Immediately Lil notices the change in her vision. Maybe: Lil's vision changes-- it's It's like she's wearing a pair of those yellow-lensed sunglasses kids buy at the drug store. I kept that line 'cause I'm all for showcasing voice in queries. :wink: Her heartbeat thunders through her feet, her hands, the leafy ground under her shoes. The boy, Miach, tells Lil that she is under his sway. Under the influence of a Green Man.

Wide-eyed, his vowels all curled in on themselves,This is unnecessary description, especially since you've already given us a description of Miach in previous para. Miach tells her that, to save his tribe from the Romans, he gave himself as a sacrifice to the woodland god, Cerunnos. Hung on ?? Hung on, as in, he's hanging on the oak? A bit confusing. Maybe choose a different word. that very oak, he is now spiritually connected to the god through the tree. Amazed at his story, his innocent enjoyment of her modern music, and his insatiable lust for life, (this is fluff) Lil is crushed when he tells her what is coming. In ten days, Cerunnos will destroy what is left of his humanity, raise him as Oak King, and use his brutal strength to uproot the cities of Britain.

Unless Lil can stop him. Turns out, there is a reason her aunt left the manor and its forest to her. Liliana has inherited more than just a piece of property. Her blood gives her the ability to break bonds, to fight for Free Will.

Miach believes she can free him before he is forced to murder and destroy. Now she must figure out how to live up to Miach’s faith, battle a god, and save her parents who won't don't believe that this in a myth that has come to life. Liliana is determined to create a happy ending for everyone, but she will soon learn that the only thing she can truly control is herself. Great line!

Using my Master’s Degree in Education in a way I never could have predicted, I teach kickboxing and self-defense to teens at our family’s martial arts school. In addition to the time I spend obsessing over English history, I am an active member of YALitChat, AgentQueryConnect, Historical Fiction Online, and my local writing group. I read an agent's tweet once, where she said she does not care whether the writer is a member of Agent Query or Query Tracker.Yes, those were her words. So unless you are a member of a more prominent group, like SCBWI, don't include your online writing forums.

SWAY is a YA paranormal romance (or hey does someone have a suggestion as to a better label???) complete at 76,000 words. I actually like the title SWAY. It's up to you.


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#17 Mindi F.

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 01:54 PM

[Dear Agent,

Lil has no idea why Aunt Vic left it to her. Just the name of the place, Greneley Wood, gives her a weird feeling. Chills? Anticipation? And she’ll be there in fourteen hours.

When 17 year old Liliana arrives at the English estate, she leaves her parents to their arguments, pulled like a fish on a line into the ancient forest that surrounds the place like a blue-green fog. (I like the visual this gives me- I can see it. But, using 2 'likes' in the same sentence makes it a little awkward- maybe words like drawn, beckon, summon, call to replace 'fish on a line' because I really like comparing the forest to a blue-green fog (second time I've used like :smile:)

From the hollow of a hulking oak, a boy appears, eyelashes ending in tiny oak leaves, golden spider silk running from his broad shoulders to the gnarled ridges of the tree. Immediately Lil notices the change in her vision. It's like she's wearing a pair of those yellow-lensed sunglasses kids buy at the drug store. Her heartbeat thunders through her feet, her hands, the leafy ground under her shoes. The boy, Miach, tells Lil that she is under his sway. Under the influence of a Green Man.

Wide-eyed, his vowels all curled in on themselves, Miach tells her (explains)that, to save his tribe from the Romans, he gave himself as a sacrifice he sacrificed himself to the woodland god, Cerunnos. Hung on that very oak, he is now spiritually connected to the god through the tree. Amazed at his story, his innocent enjoyment of her modern music, and his insatiable lust for life, Lil is crushed when he tells her what is coming. In ten days, Cerunnos will destroy what is left of his humanity, raise him as Oak King, and use his brutal strength to uproot the cities of Britain. (I really like this paragraph because is not only tells me the problem in the story but lets on that there is an aspect of fun to (learning about her music etc.)

Unless Lil can stop him.(the previous sentence seems disconnected from its main point by placing it in its own paragraph) Turns out, there is a reason her aunt left the manor and its forest to her. Liliana has inherited more than just a piece of property. Her blood gives her the ability to break bonds, to fight for Free Will.(Should this be capitalized? is it a person?)

Miach believes she can free him before he is forced to murder and destroy. Now she must figure out how to live up to Miach’s faith, battle a god, and save her parents who won't believe that this myth that has come to life.(Do her parents not believe her or is she keeping it from them? perhaps consolidating this sentence so you don't use so much word space on it) Liliana is determined to create a happy ending for everyone, but she will soon learn that the only thing she can truly control is herself.

I like this one better because I get a much better sense of the story- I liked the other one, but this one makes me want to read it. I think with some editing to consolidate ideas you could get the word count down while keeping the spirit of this particular query.

#18 elphabasister

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 02:22 PM

***Updated as of 11PM Tuesday. I know, I know. I'm no good at taking a day off. This is a totally different, probably-too-long version. Have at it, my dear AQC pals.



Dear Agent,

Lil has no idea why Aunt Vic left it to her (not a very good hook--would be easier just to combine the two sentences). Just the name of the place, Greneley Wood, gives her a weird feeling. Chills? Anticipation? And she’ll be there in fourteen hours.

When 17 year old Liliana arrives at the English estate, she leaves her parents to their arguments, pulled like a fish on a line into the ancient forest that surrounds the place like a blue-green fog. (first sentences and this one are really disconnected--i would just take out the 1st one since it doesn't really do anything)

From the hollow of a hulking oak, a boy appears with eyelashes ending in tiny oak leaves and golden spider silk running from his broad shoulders to the gnarled ridges of the tree. Immediately Lil notices the change in her vision. It's like she's wearing a pair of those yellow-lensed sunglasses kids buy at the drug store. Her heartbeat thunders through her feet, her hands, the leafy ground under her shoes. (too much description--just choose one sentence to describe the feeling of being under miach's sway) The boy, Miach, tells Lil that she is under his sway. Under the influence of a Green Man.

Wide-eyed, his vowels all curled in on themselves, Miach tells her that, to save his tribe from the Romans, he gave himself as a sacrifice to the woodland god, Cerunnos (give a time frame--how long has it been?). Hung on that very oak, he is now spiritually connected to the god through the tree. Amazed at his story, his innocent enjoyment of her modern music, and his insatiable lust for life, Lil is crushed when he tells her what is coming. In ten days, Cerunnos will destroy what is left of his humanity, raise him as Oak King, and use his brutal strength to uproot the cities of Britain.

Unless Lil can stop him. Turns out, there is a reason her aunt left the manor and its forest to her. Liliana has inherited more than just a piece of property. Her blood gives her the ability to break bonds, to fight for Free Will. (Her power is still a little confusing)

Miach believes she can free him before he is forced to murder and destroy. Now she must figure out how to live up to Miach’s faith, battle a god, and save her parents who won't believe that this myth that has come to life. Liliana is determined to create a happy ending for everyone, but she will soon learn that the only thing she can truly control is herself. (The happy ending part is a little cheesy)

Using my Master’s Degree in Education in a way I never could have predicted, I teach kickboxing and self-defense to teens at our family’s martial arts school. In addition to the time I spend obsessing over English history, I am an active member of YALitChat, AgentQueryConnect, Historical Fiction Online, and my local writing group.

SWAY is a YA paranormal romance (or hey does someone have a suggestion as to a better label???) complete at 76,000 words.


Interesting plot. Hopefully my suggestions help but you can take it or let it. Good luck!

#19 Taylor Napolsky

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 02:56 PM

This doesn't work for me because of that first sentence. Lil has no idea why Aunt Vic left what to her?

I know you explain it later, but I think it's best to put everything out there, so an agent can know what the book is about.

#20 SC_Author

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 08:33 PM

***Updated as of 11PM Tuesday. I know, I know. I'm no good at taking a day off. This is a totally different, probably-too-long version. Have at it, my dear AQC pals.

Immediately, the query is a bit long. I'mna try cutting it down a bit, take what you feel is best.


Dear Agent,

Lil has no idea why Aunt Vic left it to her. Just the name of the place, Greneley Wood, gives her a weird feeling. Chills? Anticipation? And she’ll be there in fourteen hours.
I like this hook. It's nice :) I don't know though, it feels like it's missing a certain something.... Is it too short? Add something after Anticipation, maybe a brief fact about the house. But I like it! Nice voice!

When 17 year old Liliana arrives at the English estate, she leaves her parents to their arguments, pulled like a fish on a line into the ancient forest that surrounds the place like a blue-green fog.
A lot of this description (ancient, like a blue...) is almost already there, what the reader already envisions. The "like a fish" line really threw me off, and I had to reread it a few times. Leaving it out would be best.

From the hollow of a hulking oak, a boy appears, eyelashes ending in tiny oak leaves, golden spider silk running from his broad shoulders to the gnarled ridges of the tree. Cut adjectives. Immediately Lil notices the change in her vision. It's like she's wearing a pair of those yellow-lensed sunglasses kids buy at the drug store. Her heartbeat thunders through her feet, her hands, the leafy ground under her shoes. The boy, Miach, tells Lil that she is under his sway. Under the influence of a Green Man.
This verges sooo close to a synopsis. I like their first encounter, but it's a lot of description. Cut a bunnchhh out; stick to one detail.

Wide-eyed, his vowels all curled in on themselves, Miach tells her that, to save his tribe from the Romans, he gave himself as a sacrifice to the woodland god, Cerunnos. Hung on that very oak, he is now spiritually connected to the god through the tree. Amazed at his story,Telling his innocent enjoyment of her modern music, and his insatiable lust for life, Lil is crushed when he tells her what is coming. In ten days, Cerunnos will destroy what is left of his humanity, raise him as Oak King, and use his brutal strength to uproot the cities of Britain.

Unless Lil can stop him. Can you bring this to the above paragraph? Turns out, there is a reason her aunt left the manor and its forest to her. Liliana has inherited more than just a piece of property. Her blood gives her the ability to break bonds, to fight for Free Will. Lost me a bit here. This is why long queries are so hard to write.

Miach believes she can free him before he is forced to murder and destroy. Now she must figure out how to live up to Miach’s faith, battle a god, and save her parents who won't believe that this myth that has come to life. Liliana is determined to create a happy ending for everyone, but she will soon learn that the only thing she can truly control is herself.
The last sentence is almost a shocker to me; I didn't know independence was a theme in the book. Try making it a bit more related, you know? Sinkers are so hard to write!

Using my Master’s Degree in Education in a way I never could have predicted, I teach kickboxing and self-defense to teens at our family’s martial arts school. In addition to the time I spend obsessing over English history, I am an active member of YALitChat, AgentQueryConnect, Historical Fiction Online, and my local writing group.

SWAY is a YA paranormal romance (or hey does someone have a suggestion as to a better label???) complete at 76,000 words.


Very intruiged, can't wait to see the next revision :)
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