This is topic Perfectly Pia (YA Query) in forum Fragments and Feedback for Books at Hatrack River Writers Workshop.

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Posted by J. N. Khoury (Member # 9361) on :
(Query for YA novel "Perfectly Pia." I left out the opening and closing paragraphs, since they're usually the same query-to-query. thanks for your thoughts!)

Mankind has reached perfection… but she comes at a terrible cost.

Pia lives in the middle of the rainforest, surrounded by glass walls and a team of brilliant scientists. She is the result of centuries of experimentation, selective breeding, and, most important of all, the influence of a rare flower whose nectar holds the key to immortality. If sipped from the flower itself, the nectar is deadly. But the scientists have discovered the one way it may be safely taken—by mixing it with the blood of a local tribe of peaceful natives, the Ai’oa. For every vial of ambrosia they make, one Ai’oan must die.

It took nine generations and hundreds of vials for the scientific colony to absorb the immortality of the ambrosia flower into their genetic code, but finally Pia is born, the first immortal human in history. Along with eternality, Pia is born with beauty, intelligence, and preternatural grace and agility. She is the pinnacle of human perfection, but she knows nothing of the terrible sacrifices necessary for her existence.

Everything changes the day Pia sneaks out of the compound and stumbles into the village of the Ai’oans. She begins to fall in love with the slight, dark-skinned people—and a half-Ai’oan, half-Spanish boy named Eio. When Pia discovers that her existence is possible only because of the deaths of Ai’oans, she must make a choice: live forever as a goddess among mortals, or make the ultimate sacrifice to set things right.


Posted by Meredith (Member # 8368) on :
It's really, really hard with fantasy (or science fiction), but you've got way too much backstory and setting. You need a lot more of Pia as a character. Why should the reader care about her? And more about the conflict and the consequences.

Who is the main character and why should we care?

What choice does the MC have to make? What are the obstacles? What are the consequences of failure?

Posted by mbwood (Member # 9525) on :

I agree with Meredith about the backstory – editors want to know what the plot / story line is about.

Suggestion: Start with the third paragraph, which is about Pia – focus even more tightly on Pia, then go back to the reasons for her dilemma (the old ‘the protagonist has a problem’ approach).

Maybe something like this:

The day Pia sneaks out of the compound and stumbles into the village of the Ai’oans, she realizes she must make a choice: live forever as a goddess among mortals, or make the ultimate sacrifice to set things right.

It all began when Pia fell in love with the slight, dark-skinned Ai’oan half-breed boy and discovered her existence caused the deaths of many Ai’oans… But don't reveal the cause in the query letter (save it for the synopsis).

All in all, the story has high stakes, which has the makings of a good plot.

Remember the first rule of writing… Write!

p.s. Have you taken a look at my first thirteen lines?


Posted by J. N. Khoury (Member # 9361) on :
HEY EVERYONE! I just wanted to update you all on the status of PERFECTLY PIA, since you have all been so helpful in critiquing my queries and writing in the past!

PIA sold to a fantastic publisher recently, and the title has been changed to ORIGIN. You can read more about the deal and ORIGIN on my blog:

Again, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to everyone who was kind enough to give me feedback in the past! I can't say how grateful I am.

[Big Grin]
Posted by Meredith (Member # 8368) on :
Congratulations! That's awesome!
Posted by Jess (Member # 9742) on :
Wow that is so cool. It sounds awesome!
Posted by shimiqua (Member # 7760) on :
Amazing! Congrats!

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