Query help needed! All feedback welcome! Unicorn Wars
I am so new to this. I tried to follow some guidelines I read. Any feedback is readily welcome!
The title of my story is the Unicorn Wars and would fall into the Young Adult category, fiction. So far there is no word count. The story is only a few chapters long with many to go. It goes into a genre that I feel has not been touched by young adult authors yet. Most books today focus on vampires, werewolves, witches, fairies and most recently, zombies. What about unicorns? And Iím not talking those sweet, innocent, virgin loving types. No. These unicorns who are willing to fight to protect what they feel is a sacred way of life.
Cass is a 16 year old half unicorn/half human who wants to be all unicorn. She steals a spell of transformation that will turn her truly unicorn and searches out the one person who can help her, a mage elf living in modern day Los Angeles. The White Unicorn Herd sends their top huntress to track her down and bring her back. Another race of creatures, the Delitheus (giant cat-like creatures with wings), who have always coveted the spell of transformation; also send a hunter to find her. Cass meets Buck, who doesnít like her much, still he agrees to help her find this person. They travel to Los Angeles in search of the mage elf. What Cass doesnít know is she is being pursued by two different groups of creatures who will do anything to get that spell back, even if it means an all-out war. Winner gets the spell.
I am 36 and live in the Los Angeles area. I have lived here all my life. I work for the Los Angeles Unified School District and would love to do something...else. I have two degrees, one in Urban Planning, and one in Environmental Geography. I have been drawing pictures and creating stories since I was in high school. I have some great stories I am ready to share with the world.
If it's not complete, don't bother sending out query letters. Spend your energy on making your MS the best you can then have it critiqued by unbias reviewers (no family or friends), then edit/revise for a long time then critique again. You may need to do this numerous times before it shines.
Some other writing tips from me based on what you've given here.
1. It's all telling. You need to learn the difference between showing and telling. Showing is much better and telling has a place too but you need to have a balance;
2. Work on your punctuation;
3. Make sure your MS is clear as to why Cass doesn't want to be a mix bread. Your readers will need to connect with this if you want them reading on.
4. You'll need to make a convincing arguement to show why it's okay for Unicorns to be walking around modern day LA.
That's it from me.
Keep at it.
Amee, D K is right. Don't waste your's or anyone else's time by querying before it's completed. Any agent who receives your query letter about an unfinished story will immediately throw your query away. Do you really want an agent's first impression to be that you are someone who hasn't bothered to read up on queries?
Your last paragraph needs to go - ALL of it. An agent isn't really going to care that you're 36-years-old and live in Los Angeles, where you work, or that you've been drawing and writing since you was a young 'un. Drawing has nothing to do with writing, unless you're looking for a job as an illustrator for children's picture books. Most writers can say the same thing about themselves. Unless you have writing credits that will make an agent sit up and take notice, leave out the personal stuff.
Thanks for the tips. Could you elaborate a little on the showing vs. telling?
Did you research the "genre . . . has not been touched by young adult authors yet" claim? I just googled on "young adult books unicorns" and came up with several possible titles. Agents weren't born tomorrow. Demonstrating you haven't really researched claims is more damaging than just not claiming to have researched your market at all.
Telling: She tripped over the footstool.
Showing: "Ouch! Who put that @#*%! footstool there?"
"Show don't tell" is one of the most important maxims in writing fiction, Amee. It's important because when you show us something happening instead of just telling us that it happened you have a chance to make your story and your characters come alive.
Telling: Sharon went to the supermarket and bought food for dinner.
Showing: You let us see Sharon drive her car to the (named) supermarket, let us see her picking out ingredients for dinner and possibly interacting with the butcher and/or checker.
The first choice, telling, gives us nothing but the raw fact. The second, showing, lets us see Sharon in action and gives you several chances to let us learn more about her as a person. (Does she prefer raw or packaged ingredients? How fussy is she when she picks out vegetables? Is she friendly with the checker or impatient, and why? These questions, and more, can be revealed by showing instead of telling.) Yes, there are times that it's OK to tell instead of show, but it's best if you're aware that you're doing it and have made a conscious decision that telling is right in this case.
John Hawkwood said it best here:
Hope that helps.
Originally Posted by John Hawkwood
Thank you to everyone who responded to my question. I think I have a better grasp of what to do now. I appreciate all your input!