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  1. #1
    Sean Lynch
    Guest

    GIFT revised..again

    Dear Agent:

    Seventeen-year-old Remmy’s grandmother died with sealed lips, her mother is killed mysteriously and Remmy’s ties to the Haida Nation are lost without being revealed to her. She doesn’t know who she is. Yet, she has a feeling.

    GIFT is a 100,000-word fantasy set in the present about a grieving girl’s journey to find her family’s secret past. Her discovery of a small relic that gives her the power to shift into a half-human, half-animal form adds to her confusion. Remmy must adjust to the horrifying reality of her first shift and learn to control the bloodthirsty beast within her.

    With the help of an ancient Haida spirit residing in the relic, Remmy learns the truth behind her family’s connection to the once-great Haida Nation and also learns of Poie, an evil warrior who has spent three hundred years searching for the powerful relic. Remmy must come to terms with her destiny and devise a plan to stop Poie from killing her to get the powerful relic and using its power to wipe out the last of the Haida people, her family and the rest of man-kind.

    This manuscript is the result of my seven children’s creative minds as well as time spent in Sitka Alaska and the Queen Charlotte Islands researching the myths and legends of the Haida Nation.

    Thank you for your time.
    Sean M Lynch



  2. #2
    Janice W-D
    Guest

    Re: GIFT revised..again

    Sean,

    Five days ago, you credited as your inspiration the creative minds of your <u>six</u> children, now you're saying <u>seven</u> children. As a mystery buff, I wonder if you recently adopted a child or gave birth to a baby. Other possibilities:

    Only six of your children have great imaginations but you decided to include the seventh one because they whined about being left out of the spotlight.

    You're extremely absent-minded.

    Seven was a typo with Freudian connotations. Have you had weird dreams lately about a new child?

    Or ...

    Just kidding around. This idea might make an interesting character for a short story or even a novel.

    Best,
    Janice

  3. #3
    Sean Lynch
    Guest

    Re: GIFT revised..again

    Wow, that’s rather harsh. I have a son (first of seven) who was lost to me 16 years ago when his mother decided to run off. To my surprise, I was checking MySpace mail three days ago and there was a message from a young man (17 years old)...who said he was glad to have found me. As it turns out, it is my son. After talking on the phone for several hours, he offered some cool ideas for my book. I took one of them and wrote it into the big battle scene. Therefore, I thought it would be nice to include him. I hope this makes it clear to you.

    You never did critique the query thou. I would love the input.

  4. #4
    Gary Kessler
    Guest

    Re: GIFT revised..again

    A. No, I don't think Janice was being harsh, Sean. She pointed to a basic inconsistency that we can't know of unless we have the powers of osmosis to pick up on recent incredible events in your life.


    B. I'll give you some notes, but I continue to suggest agents won't have interest in a jacket teaser that doesn't give them the meat of what they are being asked to invest themselves in. I think showing something unique and especially interesting is even more necessary in a genre that is experiencing a glut of Rowling wannbees.

    You may have some hint of uniqueness by latching into an apparently real "Haida Nation," but what little reality you bring to that is in the last paragraph and only in a passing phrase.


    Seventeen-year-old Remmy’s grandmother died with sealed lips, her mother is killed[this is a run-on sentence. That Comma either needs to be a period or a semicolon. Also, that grandma has sealed lips phrasing can be taken two ways; some agents are going to giggle and call out, "Hey, Sadie, listen to what I found in the opening phrase of a query letter--a grandma with her lips sewn shut." One query letter DOA. With the piles of queries these folks face, they are looking for a reason to toss more than a reason to show interest.] mysteriously[serial comma] and Remmy’s ties to the Haida Nation[Apparently real; probably not known by query recipients, though, and thus the chance for a unique hook lost] are lost without being revealed to her. She doesn’t know who she is. Yet, she has a feeling.[Could it be gas, the agent wonders. Sort of a "leading with the chin" open-ended image.]

    I'd drop the whole first paragraph. It doesn't say anything interesting or new and unique for fantasy (save perhaps that the Haida Nation is real and you're going to hook into the reality with fantasy)--just a lot of hazy clauses raising possibly unintended images in a bored agent's mind. And here you've put it in pride of place, begging the agent to think "Not new; drop now."


    GIFT is a 100,000-word fantasynovel ["fantasy" is really an adjective.Also, "adult" or "YA"? That's not clear in a category where that needs to be clear in a query.] set in the present about a grieving girl’s journey to find her family’s secret past. Her discovery of a small relic that gives her the power to shift into a half-human, half-animal form adds to her confusion[It's not the finding of the relic, as stated here, that causes the confusion, is it? It's some nonstated thing the relic does that causes the confusion. So, even your wording is confusing here]. Remmy must adjust to the horrifying reality of her first shift and learn to control the bloodthirsty beast within her.

    With the help of an ancient Haida spirit residing in the relic, Remmy learns the truth
    [which is what? Hiding the hooks from the potential investor] behind her family’s connection to the once-great Haida Nation and also learns of Poie, an evil warrior who has spent three hundred years searching for the powerful relic. Remmy must come to terms with her destiny and devise a plan[what plan? why is it unique and worth an investment? How does it work that is unique and is worth an investment?] to stop Poie from killing her to get the powerful relic and using its power to wipe out the last of the Haida people, her family[serial comma] and the rest of man-kindmankind [It's in the dictionary].

    This manuscript is the result of my seven children’s creative minds
    So you are saying you stole this idea from your children and have no creative imput at all? That will go over big with an agent/publisher.] as well as time spent in Sitka[comma] Alaska[comma] and the Queen Charlotte Islands researching the myths and legends of the Haida Nation.[This last clause buried down here is possibly the only thing unique about the proposal that would attract an agent/publisher at all in this crowded genre field. So burying it at the bottom may not be the smartest idea.

  5. #5
    l m
    Guest

    Re: GIFT revised..again

    Sean, why don't you post an excerpt from your story? You might get more query help if you demonstrate that your writing is publication-quality. I suspect many have the impression you might be querying prematurely; only way to know is to read your work.

  6. #6
    Sean Lynch
    Guest

    Re: GIFT revised..again

    Dear Agent:

    GIFT is a 100,000-word young adult novel written as a result of time spent in Sitka Alaska and the Queen Charlotte Islands researching myths and legends of the Haida Nation.

    It’s a story about a grieving girl’s journey to find her family’s connection to the Haida people while learning to adjust to her discovery of a small ancient relic that gives her the power to shift into a half-human, half-animal form.

    With the help of an ancient Haida spirit residing in the relic, Remmy learns she is a descendent of the once-great protectors of the Haida people. The spirit tells Remmy about the legend of the chosen one, the power of the relic known as the gift and Poie, an evil warrior who possesses the kind of evil that allows him to turn Rammy’s own mind against her. Remmy must master the power of the gift and accept the destiny already written for her three hundred years earlier, before she can stop Poie from gaining the gift and using its magic to wipe out the last of the Haida people, her family, and the rest of mankind.

  7. #7
    Gary Kessler
    Guest

    Re: GIFT revised..again

    Personally, I think this is a much stronger query letter. Think you need to keep the "fantasy" identifier in front of novel, though. And I wouldn't leave your seven children helpers out altogether. I think saying it was created from story sharing with your seven children would give the applicability to YA support.

    Similar to a comment I made earlier, she isn't adjusting to the discovery of the relic, which is what you've actually written here. She's adjusting to something resulting from that discovery. Needs to be written to clarify what's she's adjusting to.

    You still haven't gotten that you have to set the state name off with commas in a "Sitka, Alaska," wording.

    You've dropped references to why the girl is grieving. If you have space for it, I'd identify what it is.

    Needs a comma between "gift" and "and" in line two of the last paragraph. No comma between "earlier" and "before" in the penultimate line.

    Begs the question "what destiny," which I presume could be fixed by changing "three hundred years earlier, before she can" to "three hundred years earlier to stop Poie."


    For me, at least, a lot better, though.

    And, in response to the previous comment, I haven't doubted your writing ability from what you've written in your query drafts.

  8. #8
    Sean Lynch
    Guest

    Re: GIFT revised..again

    Thank you. I’m just frustrated at this point. I will keep working.

  9. #9
    Sean Lynch
    Guest

    Re: GIFT revised..again

    A great legend told of six members chosen from my people to protect against the dark evils of the time.
    It was believed that the six chosen were from the line of Sedna. Legend says that Sedna was once a mortal Inuit girl. She was very beautiful and courted by many powerful men. Her father was infuriated to find out she had chosen a supernatural Seabird as her husband. Her father sacrificed her to the sea, where she transformed into a goddess who ruled over all of the creatures of the depths. The six offspring of the sea goddess were curious about humans and wished to live on land as humans did. They where given The Gift by their mother to protect them from dark magic found in the human world. They spread out across the lands of Xhaaidlagha Gwaayaai and took up residence within the local tribes. The six chosen taught the people of the lands to make great carvings to honor all nature’s creatures, from the deepest sea to the tallest mountain. They grew into a strong people. However, man has many evils, one of the strongest evils being jealousy.
    It was written that the chief warrior of the Xaida tribe, Poie, was jealous of the protectors Gifts and became obsessed with them. He planned to kill the six and steal their gifts for his own. With the help of a great Shaman of the dark magic, he plotted their deaths.
    One by one, the chosen disappeared. It was said that Poie had killed them all, including the great Shaman, Mooreh. He cursed the people of the Xhaaidlagha Gwaayaai before he vanished from the lands never to be seen again.
    Some call this legend the creation of the mind; made up around an ancient fire as most stories were. However, it wasn’t just some story. It was true. Poie and the six chosen did exist…

    “I am Omaiha, sixth of the six. You will not possess our Gift.”
    Poie laughed at her, as he removed the golden totem from around her neck and hung it above her on the great totem.
    “She will defeat you.” Omaiha said looking into the eyes of her killer.
    “Who? You’re the last one!” Poie yelled.
    “I have seen it, she will come! She will free our people!” Omaiha said, laughing into the face of evil. “Let’s just end this so it can begin.”

  10. #10
    rock doctor
    Guest

    Re: GIFT revised..again

    Throw this post into the "Writing Craft" forum on this site. You will receive more responses!

    cheers~RD

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