Sunday, May 20, 2012

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Query

I've posted my query here for a workshop. Feel free to throw in a new comment or two =)

5/23
Here is my newer concotion, just something I was playing with. I'm not 100% sure about it, I'm just wondering how others see it. The third paragraph in particular has been changed, I'm not sure if it's better or worse this way. Thanks.


Dear Agent:

Taylor is tired of secrets.

After seventeen years of being surrounded by whispers, bizarre rumors, and nasty looks she refuses to go on without knowing why everyone is so afraid of her. Convinced it has something to do with her father’s mysterious past Taylor becomes determined to find the group he belonged to before his death. The Maaylina.

When Taylor finds them hiding in the forest behind her house, waiting, she learns they are more than just a cult. The Maaylina claim to be something other than human. An entirely different race. And Taylor is a descendant. She thinks them insane until her powers manifest, including a unique ability to control nature, and she becomes one of them. But even the Maaylina are hiding things from her, and Taylor is tired of secrets.

When Taylor follows them on one of their “missions” in Guatemala she witnesses them causing the roof of an airport to collapse, crushing hundreds of people.  She finally puts the pieces together. The Maaylina believe they are called to carry out Fate's will by causing disasters to human society.

They kill people.

Taylor considers them murderers and refuses to join them. The Maaylina consider her a traitor, and they have killed for much less.




Here is my newest query concotion, posted for the Query Round Table, hosted by: http://www.rachelhorwitz.com/blog/


Dear Agent:

Taylor York is tired of secrets. After seventeen years of being surrounded by whispers, bizarre rumors, and nasty looks she refuses to go on without knowing why everyone is so afraid of her. Convinced it has something to do with her father’s mysterious past Taylor becomes determined to find the group he belonged to before his death. The Maaylina.

But the Maaylina won’t be found unless they want to be. So when Taylor finds their camp, not far from her house, it’s no accident. There she learns that that they are more than just a strange cult. They are an entirely different race. And Taylor is a descendent.

She thinks them insane until her own powers manifest, including a unique ability to control nature, making her a full-fledged Maaylina. One of them. But the Maaylina are still hiding things from her, and Taylor is tired of secrets. Digging into the Maaylina’s odd religion Taylor finds more than just a casual faith. She discovers that they believe themselves to be the keepers of Fate, and cause terrible disasters to the human world: a burning building, a flood, a roof collapsing on hundreds of unknowing people.

They kill people.

Taylor considers them murderers and refuses to join them. The Maaylina consider her a traitor, and they have killed for much less.




10 comments:

  1. I actually prefer your previous version of this query. This one is more vague, and I don't get as much of a sense of the character or the story, but I really liked the one you posted for the Writer's Voice. I think I'd go back to that one and see if you can just tighten it up a bit.

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  2. The opening paragraph you have is pretty good. Short and to the point. The rest of your query body could use some tightening to make it as well crafted as your opening. The hook at the end of your second paragraph does a great job of keeping the reader interested. You might be able to combine the powers she gets into the second paragraph so it ends on the hook. Where you say, “She discovers…” that would be a good start for your last paragraph as it brings excitement to the pitch. Maybe expand on the good things the Maaylina do too so the fact that they kill people is that much heavier. Your final line is a good hook to end on- maybe say- “[enter reason taylor must join them] But, Taylor refuses. The Maaylina consider her a traitor. And they have killed for much less.”

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  3. Hey there! Thought I'd stop by from QueryRoundtable. Take/discard my comments as you see fit.

    I'm not sure "Taylor York is tired of secrets" is hooky enough. I like how you used it later in the query better.

    I would cut the line "making her a full-fledged Maaylina. One of them." It's not necessary and clogs the flow.

    I really like the concept and it sounds like something I would read for sure. But something about the beginning of most of the sentences is bothering me. "So when Taylor" "There she learns" "She thinks" "Taylor considers" They all seem really passive to me.

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  4. I really like the focus of her being tired of secrets. I feel like that shows her maturity and determination - she's not gonna put up with it anymore. I think some of the details of "first this happened and then that happened" can be cut. Focus on Taylor's discovery (Maaylina, she's one of them, and they kill people), and keep the last two paragraphs. Great job!

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  5. I love this premise! It sounds so exciting. I liked the tired of secrets line the first time, but the second time it didn't work because it sounded repetitive.

    I would probably take out the first paragraph altogether. It's interesting, but maybe not hooky enough. it the crazy cultists that draw you in. lead off with them.

    Taylor York is determined to find the cult her father belonged to before his death. The Maaylina.

    But the Maaylina won’t be found unless they want to be. So when Taylor finds their camp, not far from her house, it’s no accident. Because the Maaylina are more than just a strange cult. They are an entirely different race. And Taylor is a descendent. At least that’s what they tell her.

    She thinks them insane until her own powers manifest, including a unique ability to control nature. (Sentence about the powers). As Taylor’s powers develop (insert reason she must join them). But the Maaylina are still hiding things from her, and Taylor is tired of secrets.

    Digging into their odd religion Taylor finds more than just a casual faith. The Maaylina believe their gifts make them the keepers of Fate. And Fate decides where the earth shakes to crush hundreds of unknowing people, where the floodwaters rise, which buildings burn. {I redid this part because you had two sentences that ended in "people" right next to each other and it sounded weird. I'm not sure if this works either. It may be getting to late for writing :)}

    They kill people.

    Taylor considers them murderers and refuses to join them. The Maaylina consider her a traitor, and they have killed for much less.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks everyone! Suejay, what you did was really good that really helps! And everyone else I'm thinking of simplifing it completetly. I get so bogged down with trying to explain everthing. When I get a chance to rework it I will repost and comment on the twitter #QueryRoundtable (anyone else with new versions should do the same, The Roundtable should stop with just one view!)

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  7. Hi, Stacey! Jo from Query Roundtable! Here's my take, hope it helps!

    Dear Agent:

    Taylor York is seventeen and tired of secrets. She's convinced the reason everyone is afraid of her has something to do with her father’s mysterious past.

    He was involved with a cult known as the Maaylina.

    Taylor finds their camp, not far from her house, and learns that that they're more than just a strange cult. They're an entirely different race. And Taylor is a descendent.

    She thinks they're insane until her own power manifests: a unique ability to control nature. She is officially one of them. But the Maaylina are still hiding things from her, and Taylor is tired of secrets. Taylor finds more than just a casual faith when she begins digging into their odd religion. She discovers that they believe they are the keepers of Fate and cause terrible disasters in the human world: a burning building, a flood, a roof collapsing on hundreds of people.

    They kill people.

    Taylor refuses to join them. The Maaylina consider her a traitor, and they have killed for much less.

    ***Now, what's at stake? Just her life or is she going to have to battle them for control or wipe them out to save us?

    Just my $1.50 :)

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  8. Here are my suggestions, hope they help!:

    Seventeen-year-old Taylor York is tired of secrets. Convinced the rumors and nasty looks thrown her way have something to do with her father’s mysterious past, Taylor seeks out the group he belonged to before his death.

    The Maaylina are more than just a strange cult. They are an entirely different race. And Taylor is a descendent.

    Taylor's powers manifest, including the ability to control nature, making her a full-fledged Maaylina. Digging into the Maaylina’s odd religion, Taylor discovers they believe themselves to be the keepers of Fate and cause terrible disasters to the human world: a burning building, a flood, a roof collapsing on hundreds of unknowing people.

    Taylor refuses to join them. The Maaylina consider her a traitor. And they have killed for much less.

    I agree with Jo about the stakes. Does she try to take them down? Or does she only want to save her own life?

    Sounds like a really interesting story!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Stacey,
    Thank you so much for taking the time to look at my query and comment on it. I am new to querying, so I really appreciate the suggestions.

    I think the first two paragraphs sound great. It really grabbed my attention and made me want to read more. I think you could delete the sentence, “One of them” in the third paragraph because it is already clear that she is one of them. I like that you repeat that Taylor is tired of secrets. This shows why she wants to investigate instead of just accepting her powers and running with it. I would like a little more of an explanation as to why they believe they are keepers of the Fate and why that means they kill people. Do they also create good things that happen to people, or are they focused solely on evil? Why are they so against the human world? I love the last sentence in your query and it definitely made me want to read more.

    Again, I want to mention that I am new to querying, so please take everything I am suggesting with a grain of salt. These are just things I was thinking about while reading your query.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hey Taylor,
    I'm horrible at querying, but I'll see if I can put my two cents in.

    Taylor York is tired of secrets.

    After seventeen years of being surrounded by whispers, bizarre rumors, and nasty looks (COMMA HERE) she refuses to go on without knowing why everyone is so afraid of her. Convinced it has something to do with her father’s mysterious past (COMMA HERE) Taylor becomes determined to find the group he belonged to before his death. The Maaylina. (I REALLY LIKE THIS FIRST PARAGRAPH)

    But the Maaylina won’t be found unless they want to be. So when Taylor finds their camp, not far from her house, it’s no accident.(FIRST TWO SENTENCES READ MUCH BETTER IN THIS VERSION) There she learns that that(REPEAT WORD) they are more than just a strange cult. They are an entirely different race. And Taylor is a descendent.(NICE)

    She thinks them insane (WHY DOES SHE THINK THEM INSANE?) until her own powers manifest, including a unique ability to control nature, making her a full-fledged Maaylina. One of them(TO ME THE "ONE OF THEM" IS JUST REPETITIOUS AND COULD BE TAKEN OUT). But the Maaylina are still hiding things from her, and Taylor is tired of secrets(YOU HAVE ALREADY SAID THIS IN THE BEGINNING. MAYBE YOU COULD WORD IT ANOTHER WAY SO THAT THE READER KNOWS YOU KNOW YOU'RE REPEATING THIS). Digging into the Maaylina’s odd religion Taylor finds more than just a casual faith. She discovers that they believe themselves to be the keepers of Fate, and cause terrible disasters to the human world: a burning building, a flood, a roof collapsing on hundreds of unknowing people.(THIS IS SUCH A COOL CONCEPT, BUT IT FEELS LIKE YOU END IT TOO SOON. MAYBE A WHY THEY THINK FATE HAS TO BE SO DEVASTATING OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT?)

    They kill people.(i THINK THIS COULD BE TAKEN OUT BECAUSE YOU SAY IT BELOW AND I THINK IT'S ASSUMED)

    Taylor considers them murderers and refuses to join them. The Maaylina consider her a traitor, and they have killed for much less.(LOVE THE ENDING!)
    Good luck with this! Like I said, I really think the concept is awesome!!!

    ReplyDelete

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