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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Books » Funny/Tragic, Crazy/Magic (new query)

   
Author Topic: Funny/Tragic, Crazy/Magic (new query)
shimiqua
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NEW QUERY
Dear Ms. (specific name),

My parents never told me that crap happens. It was all Santa Claus, magic, and fairyland. And when you grow up with magic, like I have, you kinda think those fairyland happy ending’s are actually possible.

My parents never told me that they could die. That my little sister could die. That’s not one of those things they brought up around the dinner table. Although I wish they had. I wish they said just once, “Hey Larissa, life sucks. One day you are going to be all alone, and you won’t know who to trust. Pass the corn.”

I mean, a little warning would have been nice.

More than anything though, I wish someone had told me to stay away from Joe. I wish that someone would have told me that we were on different sides of a war that I wish someone had told me was going on. And that falling in love with someone you can’t depend on, is like tying yourself to a rock and then hoping you can still float. It sucks. It so sucks. Why didn’t anyone tell me?

I guess because I probably wouldn’t have listened.

FUNNY/TRAGIC, CRAZY/MAGIC is a complete 65,000 word YA Urban Fantasy. I’ve followed the instructions from your website, grateful someone actually told me what to do.

****

ORIGINAL QUERY

If you could change everything you don't like about yourself, then does that mean everything about you is wrong? FUNNY TRAGIC, CRAZY MAGIC is the un(TRUE) story of Larissa Alvarez, a sixteen-year-old girl who only cares about magic because it can make everything she doesn't like about herself go away.

Her mother owns the only surviving copy of the Killing Runes, powerful runes fought over for centuries. When the Grandfathers set a trap to steal the Killing Runes, they destroy everyone in Larissa's family, except Larissa. As the only sophomore invited to a very important party, she refused to flee with her family, or stay home to watch her five-year-old sister.

With her family gone, and the guilt of her little sister's death on her shoulders, Larissa vows to steal her mother's notebook back, no matter the cost. She finds an ally in the boy with no boundaries, Joe Penrod, a lost mage who knows less about magic then she does, and finally becomes the witch her mother always wanted her to be. Just too late for her mother to see.

Along the way, she realizes that her new ally Joe is an unknowing tool of the men who killed her family, and that by falling in love with him, she's heading toward tragedy.

Or treason.

FUNNY TRAGIC, CRAZY MAGIC is a complete 70,000 words YA Urban Fantasy. I have enclosed [whatever Meredith put in hers] per instructions on your website.

****

Okay, I know I'm breaking the rules by switching to first in a query, but the novel is in first, and the voice is a huge part of the story. So I'm going with it.

Do you feel like you have the same amount of information from the new query as you get from the original?

Which do you prefer?

Thanks in advance.
~Sheena

[This message has been edited by shimiqua (edited May 17, 2011).]


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RoxyL
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I really like the new one. It’s very much in line with a lot of successful YA queries I’ve read recently. Good job!

Okay, for some minor suggestions, and please only take this as a very inexperienced person’s pov,

First paragraph: emphasize, ‘And when you grow up with (real) magic…, otherwise I missed that it was the actual stuff. Fairyland or fairytale endings?

Second: Love it. Delete “I mean, a little warning.” It dilutes the brilliance of “Pass the corn.”

Third: second sentence a little confusing. Maybe “I wish that someone would have told me that we were on different sides of a war that (no one bothered to clue me in was going on/happening). (Because) falling in love…
Maybe too many ‘sucks’ (3), for a query?

Love the last line.
Not sure about the ‘grateful someone…’ could be cute or overkill.
Overall fabulous and sounding very professional. Excellent voice.


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Meredith
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quote:
Dear Ms. (specific name),
My parents never told me that crap happens. It was all Santa Claus, magic, and fairyland. And when you grow up with magic, like I have, you kinda think those fairyland happy ending’s are actually possible.

My parents never told me that they could die. That my little sister could die. That’s not one of those things they brought up around the dinner table. Although I wish they had. I wish they said just once, “Hey Larissa, life sucks. One day you are going to be all alone, and you won’t know who to trust. Pass the corn.”

I mean, a little warning would have been nice.

More than anything though, I wish someone had told me to stay away from Joe. I wish that someone would have told me that we were on different sides of a war that I wish someone had told me was going on. This sentence feels a little awkward. And that falling in love with someone you can’t depend on, no comma is like tying yourself to a rock and then hoping you can still float. It sucks. It so sucks. Why didn’t anyone tell me?

I guess because I probably wouldn’t have listened.

FUNNY/TRAGIC, CRAZY/MAGIC is a complete 65,000 word YA Urban Fantasy. I’ve followed the instructions from your website, grateful someone actually told me what to do.


My first reaction is that I'm sure I've seen some agents say that they don't like to see first-person queries. OTOH, I've also seen plenty say that there are no rules. And this manages to do something that I still struggle with--show the voice of the story in the query.


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hteadx
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I really like this query. I get the tone of your story and a sample of your voice. My only suggestion would be to start with your second paragraph because this line is your hook - “Hey Larissa, life sucks. One day you are going to be all alone, and you won’t know who to trust. Pass the corn.”
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shimiqua
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Thanks guys.

Roxie I love your suggestions, consider them implemented.
~Sheena


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TMR Beste
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For what its worth -(I have never sent a query for anything yet so what do
I know)
I like the second one. the original. It flows, it tells what the story is about.
Its easy to read.

The first, the new version, seems a bit choppy to me, but that can be worked out.
The first seems to be trying too hard to be edgy and cute and it's hard
to flesh out what the story was really about.
I like the first person but i realize that others do not.

For a busy editor who just wants the bottom line, and wants it now, I would lose patience with the
new version. But again, that's just me.


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MAP
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I don't know if this is helpful since others seem to love the new one. But I don't think either of these really does your story justice.

The new one does have a nice voice, although a little mopy at times, but doesn't really tell what the story is about.

The old one is just the opposite, good at plot details, but lacks voice. Could you somehow combine the two?

JMO, so take it or leave it.

ETA: Have you thought about focusing on the notebook, not the killing runes but the notebook itself? It seemed like that was a major plot point. How Larissa had to fight to get her legacy back, and the only one who could help her was the "boy without boundries" who may be a pawn of the people who killed her family. Something like that only better of course.

[This message has been edited by MAP (edited May 23, 2011).]


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mbwood
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Hi, Sheena; I've made a couple of minor changes to your query letter, but all in all, I believe your query has sizzle! I've remove some 'thats' which aren't needed, and I agree with the changes that roxyl suggested, plus suggested a substitution for an 'It.'
Go for it - send it out!

My parents never told me that crap happens. It (Life, or The world) was all Santa Claus, magic, and fairyland. And when you grow up with magic, like I have, you kinda think those fairyland happy ending’s are actually possible.
My parents never told me (that - delete) they could die. That my little sister could die. That’s not one of those things they brought up around the dinner table. Although I wish they had. I wish they said just once, “Hey Larissa, life sucks. One day you are going to be all alone, and you won’t know who to trust. Pass the corn.”
(I mean, a little warning would have been nice. Delete)
More than anything though, I wish someone had told me to stay away from Joe. I wish (that – delete) someone would have told me (that – delete) we were on different sides of a war that I wish someone had told me was going on. And (that – delete) falling in love with someone you can’t depend on(, - delete) is like tying yourself to a rock and then hoping you can still float. It sucks. It so sucks. Why didn’t anyone tell me?
I guess because I probably wouldn’t have listened.
FUNNY/TRAGIC, CRAZY/MAGIC is a complete 65,000 word YA Urban Fantasy.

Disclaimer - I don't do magic or fantasy, but I write, and I like your writing.


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