Query Letter AMEIR: Apotheosis (MG Science fantasy)

Discussion in 'Query & Cover Letter Critique' started by Vernalire, Jul 23, 2016.

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Does this sound like a interesting concept?

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  1. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Also on the note of more-about-the-novel-than-the-query... are you sure it's YA? An 11-year-old protagonist means middle grade, and your audience is likely going to be 8-10 year olds.
     
  2. Vernalire
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    Vernalire Member

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    Lol the novel is complete I assure you. Once again this is the query we are talking about. You have been the only person saying it's incomplete? Plus he's 11-years-old and it happens he's clueless at first but he starts so to speak 'speaking his opinion' after the mid point. The story has a final resolution, but as I said. The ending is not the hero winning. It's twisted so it feels like it's left open but if I only put that one's out, it would be concluded like any other book is. Wondering, well what is the character do now. I'll put out my rough draft synopsis (which isn't perfect) so you can see its a story lol.

    I do like your ideal of changing the query. I'm fiddling around with it!! I appreciate the suggestion. It's making me want to rewrite some parts possibly.? Thanks!
     
  3. Vernalire
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    Vernalire Member

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    Yes I thought it through. I feel the age fits. Originally I had him in his 20s but it throws everything off. And doesn't show him growing. I feel 11 let's him grow!
     
  4. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I'm not saying change his age, just that this isn't YA. It's a red flag for agents if you've got the genre wrong in your query. :)
     
  5. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Can you describe your book in one sentence? Just so we can understand what it's really about and see whether the query matches it or not.

    And I agree, the protagonist age is a problem for calling this YA. If the writing isn't suited for MG, I'd say you're looking at straight up Science Fiction.
     
  6. Vernalire
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    Vernalire Member

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    I'm absolutely terrible at that... Hence my submission at a query critique lol I've gotten some feedback but mostly been criticism rather than critiquing Haha. I have Ameir as 11-years-old for a reason. Teens are known to be emotional and mean. That isn't him. He's passive at first because he doesn't know what's happening. He's at school, boom soldier's trying to abduct him. Boom rescued. Tries to find his mom(yes I left some stuff out. We'll consider that point B. Imagine attempted abduction is point A and his mother missing is point C.) He's worried about her missing more than the fact he was almost abducted. He's clingy so to speak but as the book progress he shows himself and through plot growing and various events, he starts making calls for himself despite what he was told. I understand that it's 11 which can classify as midgrade, but the story isn't. Ameir is there but the action is around him with adults. Plus he's being built and doesn't know much about the world he's in(world I mean outside of his home planet. Ie space travel, superpowers, prison, serious crimes etc) like if you lived in the city your whole life and moved to New York. You don't know anything but as an adult you adapt. Now imagine an 11-year-old (that's with a group of adults.) he won't know what's happening.

    He does grow and yes this book can be a self contained novel. It has all the regular novel materials. It only feels like a book left open because the good guy's don't win. Every person and their family knows the good guys always win. Not here. So it does conclude. SPOILER BELOW

    They confront the warlord and learn who he is. But they fall into a trap he set and they can't save certain people and it blows up in Dulapes face. He becomes the face of the otherwise masked warlord. Essentially the real warlord frames Dulape now. Bad guy wins. Good looses. Ameir is a big part involved and I won't soil that part (yes soil not spoil).

    Plus (this is if it gets published. If it doesn't I don't have to worry but I will continue to pursue! But only if) throughout the series we see him grow and at 13-14, based on previous events in the current book, he is a 180 reflection (looses his path after learning something). I could bump it upto 12 or I'll take his age out of the query. His age is semi important but the being of a teenager takes a big part.

    Apologies for the short story. Hopes this helps comprehensive abilities.
     
  7. Vernalire
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    Vernalire Member

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    So should I write the query as mid grade when the targets YA? I can bump him to 12 possibly but I've seen lately a lot of books have YA with the age of 11 being involved. Plus the story revolves around Ameir but this story almost always places him with an adult, but it swaps sides so you get plot work from the warlords view?
     
  8. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    No one's saying you should change the age of your narrator. we're just saying it isn't YA.

    The YA audience generally wants to read UP. That is, 13 year olds want to read about 15 year olds, 15 year olds want to read about 17 year olds. So an 11 year old MC really doesn't fit into YA.

    So don't change your book, just stop classifying it as YA.

    Or, in case this is changing - Can you give an example of the YA books you've seen with 11 year old MCs?
     
  9. Vernalire
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    Vernalire Member

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    I could see it as mid grade. I can. I mean I am not concrete on this topic. You all advise, feedback, critique and I mend to the majority. I'll keep it as mid grade. And for the titles a lot are one's you'd have to look up! I just peep titles to assure myself that I am not subconsciously writing something that someone else has or someone else is starting.
     
  10. Vernalire
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    Vernalire Member

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    And as far as the query itself any recommendations for critiquing? Is it on the right track? I haven't hear much since revising... Minus the leave it hanging after they are incarcerated.. Which I'm working on... But any suggestions, or words of change? I do appreciate the mid grade suggestions. It all helps, even chickens comments!
     
  11. Vernalire
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    Vernalire Member

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    That really has me trying to reword this but I want to stick to the story. I mean the incarceration is before the middle point of the story, but it is a pivotal moment. Would you have any suggestions? I mean his uncle breaks him out ultimately. And afterwards his uncle kinda leads Ameir away from the original objective. (not gonna lie I'm about to rewrite some more! I just thought of something that would make sense.) but would you have any recommendations?
     
  12. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I could have a go if I'd read the book but I'm totally at sea here, I'm afraid. The "rule" is that a query should cover no more than the first third of the book, but it's more like a guideline. Mine covered 75% and it worked, but I could cover 75% of the plot AND get some charaterisation in. I don't think you can because your plot is much more complex than mine.

    Perhaps if you answer some questions:

    If you had to describe Ameir in three words, what would they be?
    What is his character arc (how does he change over the course of the book, e.g. starts out shy and ends up confident)?
    How is Gosus different from Earth?
    Why do the soldiers want to abduct Ameir and his mum?
    What are these abilities of his that might rival Abrasion's?

    And FWIW, this is what my agent says she looks for in queries:

    1) Give me the category and genre. Know what those words mean and have a firm grasp on where your book belongs on the shelf.
    2) Tell me the word count. Really. Please tell me the word count.
    3) Tell me who the main characters are. If I get to the end of your query and I can’t tell who the main characters are, that’s a problem.
    4) Tell me the main conflict. What are the characters trying to accomplish and what stands in their way?
    5) What are the stakes? What happens if the characters’ goals are not accomplished?
     
  13. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's hard to know if it's on the right track because I can't get a clear idea what the story is really about. Like, what it is at its heart. That's what I think you need to convey in a query, and I don't know if you've done it, here.
     
  14. Vernalire
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    Vernalire Member

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    If you had to describe Ameir in three words, what would they be?
    Ameir no mask: inquisitive, caring, forgiving

    What is his character arc (how does he change over the course of the book, e.g. starts out shy and ends up confident)?
    He starts out unsure of what's happening. Then he gets to about the middle and talking with his new friend(brash, straight forward, doesn't bs.) he realizes his opinion matters and starts disagreeing with majority Dulape. He becomes opinionated.


    How is Gosus different from Earth?
    Gosus is like earth. It's just named Gosus. It's one of the core planets to an alliance of solar systems. (imagine like each state being a clump of planets. Combined you have the United States.) Universe of inhabited planets and some uninhabited.

    Why do the soldiers want to abduct Ameir and his mum?
    The warlord commanded them to abduct him.

    What are these abilities of his that might rival Abrasion's?
    The main feature Abrasion has is a mask. The mask is exclusive to Abrasion and his second/third in command Abameirex( recently I've wanted to change his name?). The group Ameir is with learns he has the mask, which Ameir doesn't know because he blacks out (no memory). It unleashes it's own, vicious personality that is a rager (rush and kill). He has no control over it. It's literally like a separate person taking over.


    And FWIW, this is what my agent says she looks for in queries:

    I'll answer these as well lol

    1) Give me the category and genre. Know what those words mean and have a firm grasp on where your book belongs on the shelf.

    MID GRADE SCI-FI

    2) Tell me the word count. Really. Please tell me the word count.

    90k

    3) Tell me who the main characters are. If I get to the end of your query and I can’t tell who the main characters are, that’s a problem.

    I wouldn't say it like this but as for main characters imagine an avengers cast, but not all heavy hitters lol they kind of just so happen to work together and some don't! But in total their is 11 initially on the so to speak good side. Plus more. And bad focuses on about 5 or 6. But they end up separated quite often so it's mainly 5 or 6 good.
    4) Tell me the main conflict. What are the characters trying to accomplish and what stands in their way?

    The problem question:
    It starts with Ameir wanting his mother back. Then he learns(not in query didn't know how to incorporate and keep it running smoothly) his older brother joined Abrasion's side and the fact he's alive. Then after that he gets falsely arrested. Them Dulape tells him he should be focused on stopping Abrasion not finding Jean (Ameir starts to speak up now. Disagreeing) so his focus is finding his mom and later getting his brother back as well. As for what stands in his way is Abrasion throwing obstacles as the arrest. Different hit hunters(like a bounty hunter.) soldiers, and the military looking for them is the biggest problem. But all set up by Abrasion.

    5) What are the stakes? What happens if the characters’ goals are not accomplished?

    Well Abrasion's grand scheme is to kill off all the government officials in one sitting. Then conquer the system. But he has had a much deeper plan which is revealed at the end. Which is successful and explains other questions in the previous parts.

    I really hope this helps you understand. Writing a query is truly a nightmare lmao. I feel like I'm getting better?! I think!
    Hopefully this helps you as well. I deeply appreciate the both of you! You could have easily have said 'forget this guy' and stopped responding but you didn't... Or at least haven't yet and I appreciate it! Thank you again.
     
  15. Vernalire
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    Vernalire Member

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    I forgot to write it but the mask is described later on. It's not in this book because it doesn't fit in anywhere? Plus Ameir doesn't care or know about it and Dulape probably wouldn't tell him.
     
  16. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Whoa, there's the bit that makes me sit up! Especially if there's a conflict where he has to choose between his mum and brother, or choose between doing the right thing (in an objective, selfless way) and saving his family. That old question of 'would you save 10 strangers or one friend.'

    Personally, I'd write a query with that as the conflict.
     
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  17. Vernalire
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    Vernalire Member

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    That's where I love you (lol I never ever thought of that) (and love you in a genuine genius way). That never once crossed my mind. I mean later some crazy stuff like this happened. But I didn't do it that early. But I'll fiddle around with it. I appreciate the feedback and critiquing. I know it's becoming repetitive but I mean it, and that's why I type it. Thank you!

    And hopefully this clears up the plot a little. As I said the bad guys win in this so it feels like it's not a self contained. But it has a resolution.
     
  18. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with @Tenderiser that you can probably develop a compelling query around the idea of the MC being caught between his mom and his brother.

    And I've got to say it one more time - are you SURE this is middle grade? Most MG books are 30-40K, so you're running at more than double the typical length, and it seems like you're categorizing it based mostly on the age of your MC. Is this a book you can see a ten year old reading and enjoying?
     
  19. Vernalire
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    Vernalire Member

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    Like I said it's made for YA but it apparently classifieds as mid grade.? I'm stuck between them I literally cannot shorten the book. And I can increase his age by 1 year maybe?
     
  20. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    12 is better; 13 would be better still. You really can't have YA with an 11-year-old protagonist.
     
  21. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    What I'm saying is that there's more to mid-grade than the age of the protagonist. Yes, one of the requirements of MG is a protagonist of a certain age, but it's not the only requirement. See, for example, " Like when a query says, “I’ve written a 100,000-word MG novel about a seventh-grader who falls in love and has sex for the first time.” Or when one states, “In my 20,000-word YA novel, a 14-year-old holds her first sleepover and learns the meaning of true friendship.” Both queries would earn a swift rejection, based on both inappropriate manuscript lengths and on content that’s either too mature or too young for the audience they’re targeting." from http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/the-key-differences-between-middle-grade-vs-young-adult The age of the MC was fine in the first example, but the content and length weren't.

    Is it possible to be vague about the character's age? Not only in the cover letter, but the MS itself? I mean, "years" wouldn't mean much on a planet with a different orbit from ours, right? So maybe you can think of your character as being 11, but never really say how old he is?
     
  22. Vernalire
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    Vernalire Member

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    Most of the planets take hours not days or months. But outside of the system it takes longer depending (as well as how the planets are aligned at said time). I know this book is approaching 100k (double mid grade and high end of ya) but what is the mid grade fantasy word count? I keep finding things saying it extends. (I know not s other 40k lol)
    I do like the vague idea but I pretty much have to rewrite a good portion. I like the family ordeal but I'm trying to fit it in!
    And I know 13 still throws him at the younger age of the spectrum? I'm brainstorming haha
     
  23. Vernalire
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    Vernalire Member

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    So now I'm working on a stable query based on mother vs brother as well as his mother actually being abducted (before she escaped and had some other things to do before rejoining, but now I'm going full in abducted). I definitely like this story and now have to figure out wording on that as well as how to collapse it down to below 70k Haha. Do you know how descriptive mid grade should be? I've tried looking it up but their isn't much but making sure no profanity, minimal harsh language and etc. No talk on how descriptive to be ie. Like describing landscapes, city folk walking by, specific uniform details?
     
  24. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Afraid not, as I write for adults. If I were you I'd age him up a couple of years rather than reduce your word count (and 70k still seems too high for MG?) and change the tone of the book.
     
  25. Vernalire
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    Vernalire Member

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    Unfortunately I can't do any of those lol if I age him up it looses all context and the story would be completely different as he'd be very independent not needing the adults around him for help and support. And the tone? I don't know what you mean their?
     

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