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  1. #1
    imported_Josh Maher
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    First Query Attempt..

    Hello everyone.. Thanks to Victoria's help I'm able to post and have my first query attempt.. Criticism, constructive or not, is welcome.


    While most teenagers in their high school years think school work, fitting in, being “cool”, and getting into college are the main objectives in life, Brett Ruvell’s main goal is just staying alive.

    After receiving special training, Brett discovers that he has the power to control and manipulate electricity. This revelation leads to thoughts of superhero stardom and fantasies of fame. The only problem is his hometown is under attack from creatures, hailing from a different world, who want one of two things: his power, or him dead.

    In an isolated, close-knit town Brett must fend off his attackers while concealing who he is and what is going on from everyone he knows and loves. Everyone, that is, until his four closest friends discover unique abilities of their own.

    Amidst the super-connected, fast paced society of today, the five friends must unite in order to protect their home and their identities. They find that secretly foiling evil plots is full of apprehension, exhilaration, and fulfillment; but in their case, secrecy can be deadly.

    ELEMENTALS: NEW BEGINNINGS completed at 85,000 words is a middle grade/early teen fantasy. It is the first in a potential series, and is my first novel.

    Thank you for your time and consideration.



  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    584

    Re: First Query Attempt..

    You have one sentence to hook the agent's attention; at 33 words, yours may be too long. Tempting though it is, never say that your book's complete, because that's assumed. And, by "completed," you do mean "completed, edited, re-written and polished until it gleams," don't you? Because if that's not true, it's not time to query. Last, never mention either that the book's the beginning of a series or your first novel. Neither will gain you points with an agent and may chase them away. (The problem with "first book of a series" is that it implies that the book won't work as a stand-alone, and that readers will be left hanging if there's never another.)

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
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    142

    Re: First Query Attempt..

    Joe is correct. Mentioning the book as a potential first in a series is something you should leave for later discussions with your agent.

    There is some good stuff in your query but you can cut out a lot of the clutter.

    Yours:
    "While most teenagers in their high school years think school work, fitting in, being “cool”, and getting into college are the main objectives in life, Brett Ruvell’s main goal is just staying alive."
    Mine: Most teenagers worry about homework, being cool and college. Brett Ruvell's only concern is survival.
    Shorter, gets the same point across.

    Yours:
    After receiving special training, Brett discovers that he has the power to control and manipulate electricity. This revelation leads to thoughts of superhero stardom and fantasies of fame. The only problem is his hometown is under attack from creatures, hailing from a different world, who want one of two things: his power, or him dead.
    Mine:
    Brett discovers he has the power to control electricity and begins to fantasize about superhero stardom. When his hometown is attacked by aliens it is clear that they want to steal his power or destroy him.

    These are not perfect examples of course and take everything I'm saying with a grain of salt, as I am not an expert, but try to do this with the entire query letter. Cut out needless words and punch it up.

    Hope that helps,

    Mark

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    142

    Re: First Query Attempt..

    Also, the closing line.

    ELEMENTALS: NEW BEGINNINGS is an 85,000 word middle grade/early teen fantasy.

    That's all you need. If you have previous publications (short stories, etc) list them, if not do not advertise that this is your first novel, it will be assumed if you don't list any credits so no need to point it out.

  5. #5
    imported_Josh Maher
    Guest

    Re: First Query Attempt..

    Thanks for your responses guys, but I'm getting some conflicting information.

    On another site, I submitted a similar query to a current agent. She praised the opening and said it was long but intriguing and wouldn't change it. (I guess differing opinions are just the nature of the beast.) Also, on the notes from the first draft I submitted she suggested to put that the book was completed and whether it was my first novel or not. (Again now that I think about it I guess it's just an Agent's preference.)

    Thanks for the tips on shortening it up.. I will work on it some more.

    Josh

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Re: First Query Attempt..

    "Thanks for your responses guys, but I'm getting some conflicting information."

    That happens a lot. It's up to you to choose from the multitude of opinions.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    Re: First Query Attempt..

    Did you vet this agent before you submitted to her?

  8. #8
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    Re: First Query Attempt..

    Josh,

    Yeah, cluttered and weak verbs. However, I think you told the story pretty well. Read it cut by 30%:

    While most high school teenagers think school work, fitting in, being “cool”, and college are life’s main goals, Brett Ruvell’s main goal is survival.

    After special training, Brett discovers his power to manipulate electricity, which fuels thoughts of superhero stardom. The only problem is his hometown is under attack from aliens who want one of two things: his power or his death.

    In an isolated, close-knit town Brett must fend off his attackers while concealing his identity and predicament from everyone he knows and loves; everyone, until his four closest friends discover unique abilities of their own and unite with him. While secretly foiling evil plots is full of apprehension, exhilaration, and fulfillment, the five friends soon find it can also be deadly.

    ELEMENTALS: NEW BEGINNINGS completed at 85,000 words is a middle grade/early teen fantasy.

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

  9. #9
    Steve Bellinger
    Guest

    Comment on my query, please?

    I'm going to be querying agents for my first novel. Any comments or critiques would be most welcome!



    The Chronocar is a 60,000 word novel that takes place in Chicago’s historical Bronzeville community, spanning a period of nearly 100 years.

    That’s because the Chronocar is a time machine, originally conceived by the son of a slave, Simmie Johnson, at the turn of the 20th Century, who could only dream of the technology needed to build it. At the beginning of the 21st Century, Tony Carpenter, a bright but reckless African-American student enrolled at the Illinois Institute of Technology, stumbles upon Johnson’s plans for the Chronocar.

    Tony builds a Chronocar and travels back to the year 1919 to visit Johnson and his daughter Ollie, and gets embroiled in the bloodiest race riot in Chicago’s history. In this action packed adventure, Tony accidentally changes history, and repeatedly goes back in time to fix it. But each time, things actually get worse.

    Eventually, he learns a terrible caveat: traveling through time irrevocably damages time and space.

    I have written numerous newspaper articles and a regular column for a small suburban newspaper. I also wrote the Junior High Sunday School text for the Worldwide AME Church for 4 years. In the 1970’s I wrote and produced a number of radio dramas that were played on local public and commercial radio. Recently, I had a sci-fi short story published in Writer’s Journal as a result of a writer’s contest. The Chronocar is my first novel, and I have already begun working on a sequel.

    I am a graduate of the Illinois Institute of Technology, and very interested in science and science fiction. In many ways, Tony Carpenter is me.

    Would you be interested in reading my work? I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your time.



    Thank you in advance for your time in looking this over for me.

    --Steve

  10. #10
    Member
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    68

    Re: First Query Attempt..

    Mark and John,

    I'm exceedingly glad that you changed the statement "from another world" to aliens. The "world" the beasts are hailing from isn't another planet. It's a play on the word "world", because they are from another land. (Think Narnia but much different)

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