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Thread: Query: Lucky

  1. #1
    Senior Member Gilfindel's Avatar
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    Query: Lucky

    Now that I've completed the conversion of the story from third-person to first-person (along with upgrading the operating system on my computer in the middle of all that), I'm ready to get into the serious editing pass. While that's going on, though, I thought I'd take another stab at the query and see whether it resonates with anyone. In this version, I'm letting Shy describe the situation in her own words.



    My name is Siobhan Aislinn O’Connor, but everyone just calls me Shy. If nothing else, it’s easier to pronounce. Two days ago, I was just a sixteen year old girl attending high school in Boston. Now I’m in Ireland and I’m the leader of an ancient band of guardians, the Warriors of the White Branch. I’m not entirely sure how this happened.

    Actually, that’s not true, I do know: my father was supposed to become the new leader after Grandpa died, but Maeve, the Queen of the Sidhe, captured him and took him into the Otherworld. Now I have to get him back. All I need to do is find the hidden gateway to the Otherworld, sneak into Maeve’s fortress, find Dad, and escape, before the traitor within the White Branch lets Maeve’s army invade our world.

    The only people willing to help me are my three cousins and Maeve’s exiled son. The only weapons I have are an old dagger, a golden torc, and a tattoo of a shamrock on my back. The only way this is going to work is if everything goes absolutely perfect the first time. If I screw up, Maeve will kill us all.

    Lucky me.



  2. #2
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    Gil, some thoughts---

    QUERIES ARE GENERALLY WRITTEN IN 1ST PERSON PAST. THAT SAID, I LIKE THE TONE OF THIS.

    My name is Siobhan Aislinn O’Connor, but everyone just DELETE JUST calls me Shy. If nothing else, it’s easier to pronounce. Two days ago, I was just DELETE JUST a sixteen year old girl BUNCHA HYPEHNS MISSING. attending high school in Boston. Now I’m in Ireland and I’m CONSIDER AM INSTEAD OF I'M the leader of an ancient band of guardians, the Warriors of the White Branch. I’m not entirely sure how this happened. I LIKE THAT SENTENCE.

    Actually, that’s not true, I do know: OTHERS WILL DISAGREE, BUT I HATE COLONS IN QUERIES. (PERHAPS IT'S MY AGE. YOU KNOW, WHERE A COLON MAY OR MAY NOT BE YOUR FRIEND.) my father was supposed to become the new leader after Grandpa died, CONSIDER STARTING A NEW SENTENCE. but Maeve, the Queen of the Sidhe, captured him and took him into the Otherworld. Now I have to get him back. All I need to do is find the hidden gateway to the Otherworld, sneak into Maeve’s fortress, find Dad, and escape, before the traitor within the White Branch lets Maeve’s army invade our world.

    The only people willing to help me are my three cousins and Maeve’s exiled son. The only weapons I have are an old dagger, a golden torc, and a tattoo of a shamrock on my back. The only way this is going to work is if everything goes absolutely perfect the first time. DID YOU PURPOSELY BEGIN THREE SENTENCES WITH "THE ONLY?" I CAN SEE WHY YOU MAY HAVE DONE SO WITH INTENT. It DIDN'T WORK FOR ME. If I screw up, Maeve will kill us all.

    OKAY, CAPS off. This is a pretty good start at a Q. You need to include genre, word length at the end of your Q.

    I like the voice, even though it's not common to do a Q in 1st person present. Nothing wrong with breaking the "rules" if it works.

    Cur
    Lucky me.

  3. #3
    Rogue Mutt
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    Do you mean torc or torch?

    This kind of query might be a hard sell. You'll have to get lucky to find an agent who will appreciate it, though I suspect people try this all the time. Anyway, instead of "I don't know how this happened...no wait, I do" I'd change it to more like: "How did this happen? It's a crazy story." Then go into your second paragraph.

  4. #4
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    Agree with Mutt.

    Queries are typically written in third person present.

    That said, how about this:

    My name is Siobhan Aislinn O’Connor, but everyone calls me Shy. Two days ago, I was just a sixteen-year-old high school girl in Boston. Now I’m the leader of an ancient band of guardians in Ireland, the Warriors of the White Branch.

    It all began when my Grandpa died. My father was supposed to be the new leader of the White Branch, but Maeve, Queen of the Sidhe, imprisoned him in the Otherworld. With my three cousins and Maeve’s exiled son, plus a little help from my old dagger, my golden torch, and my magic shamrock tattoo, I need to rescue Dad.

    All I need to do is find the hidden gateway to the Otherworld, sneak into Maeve’s fortress, and escape with Dad before the traitor within the White Branch lets Maeve’s army invade our world and kill us all.

    Lucky me.

  5. #5
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    John, you're absolutely right. Queries are usually written in third person present. I must have been thinking one thing and typing another. My bad.

    Cur

  6. #6
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    I would proceed with caution with the first person POV query. Some agents find it charming and quirky, and some agents hate it. If you're going to do this, be sure to check out blogs and tweets to see how agents feel about it. I know I've seen at least a couple of agents on Twitter get really snarky about the first person POV approach. Just sayin'...

    Jeanne

  7. #7
    Senior Member Gilfindel's Avatar
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    I went with the first person query largely because it's different from the usual format, but I understand that there's a risk involved. I researched this a bit more this evening, and most of the feedback on various forums is quite negative about using first person in the query; it can be effective if done right, but it can just as easily turn an agent off.

    I did run across an interesting suggestion, though: you may be able to preserve the voice of the character in the query (really the main reason for doing first person) by writing the query in first person, and then changing the pronouns to third person (and related grammatical necessities) once you're done. I may give that a shot and see how it turns out.

    I used the triple "the only" wording deliberately as a means to emphasize how difficult rescuing her father will be, but it does seem a bit heavy-handed.

    It's a torc. It's basically a horseshoe shaped piece of jewelry worn around the neck, popular in many older cultures. I considered defining it, or replacing it with something more recognizable (like a necklace), but it's a torc in the story, by gum ;-)

    Thanks all! I should have another take on this in the next day or so.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Gilfindel's Avatar
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    Or sooner ;-) I've reverted to third person in this version, although you'll see the similarities with the original. It's a bit on the brief side, so I'm considering what other key points I should include. Although her cousins play critical roles in the actual story, they didn't seem to add much to the query itself, so I've emphasized the role of Maeve's son instead.



    Two days ago, Siobhan “Shy” O’Connor was a sixteen-year-old girl attending high school in Boston. Now she’s in Ireland, the leader of an ancient band of guardians called the Warriors of the White Branch. She’s not entirely sure how this happened.

    Her father was supposed to become the new leader after her grandfather was killed, but Maeve, the Queen of the Sidhe, imprisoned him in the Otherworld. Now Shy has to get him back. All she needs to do is find the hidden gateway to the Otherworld, sneak into Maeve’s fortress, find her father, and escape, before the traitor within the White Branch allows Maeve’s army to invade our world.

    The only weapons Shy has are her grandfather's old dagger, a magical golden torc, and a tattoo of a shamrock on her back. Maeve’s exiled son offers to show her the way into the Otherworld, if Shy agrees to help him in turn. If everything goes well, they’ll be able to free her father and lock Maeve away in the Otherworld. If not, Maeve will kill them all. If they’re lucky.

    LUCKY is a completed 87,000 word YA urban fantasy novel, the first in a potential series.
    Last edited by Gilfindel; 06-11-2013 at 08:08 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    I have a problem with calling a tattoo a "weapon". Unless it does something in and of itself, it's no weapon, and if it does something in and of itself, it's magic. If it's just a sign of her identity as a member of the White Branch, or something similar, I wouldn't call that a weapon.

    I'd change just a few things in the last paragraph:

    Her only weapons are her grandfather's old dagger, a magical golden torc, and a tattoo of a shamrock on her back. Maeve’s exiled son offers to show Shy the way into the Otherworld, if she agrees to help him in turn. If all goes well, they’ll free her father and lock Maeve away in the Otherworld. If not, Maeve will kill them all....if they’re lucky.
    Last edited by John Oberon; 06-12-2013 at 03:08 AM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Gilfindel's Avatar
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    Hmm, true, the tattoo is more of a tool (something that helps her accomplish the goal) rather than an actual weapon. I do want to include it (if only to tie in with the "lucky" theme), but I may need to either separate it from the actual weapons, or find a more inclusive word. I don't particularly want to call it a "magical" tattoo (even though it is); for some reason that sounds a bit too cheesy to me.

    Ellipses aside, though, do you believe I'm on the right track with this approach?
    Last edited by Gilfindel; 06-12-2013 at 06:30 PM.

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