1. Baka_Alchemist
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    Baka_Alchemist Member

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    Query: Clock Face Twelve (Steampunk YA)

    Discussion in 'Query & Cover Letter Critique' started by Baka_Alchemist, Dec 20, 2014.

    Tick-tock. Tick-tock. Kalen Holloway watches time slip away. She has waited years, weeks, hours, seconds for her 15th birthday—time’s an easy thing to keep in Oceanus, an underground world powered by clocks. Now a legal adult, she can leave the safety of Gear Train Five and search for her missing twin.


    Four years ago, Kalen’s orphanage burned to the ground. She lost contact with her twin as well as her surrogate brother and sister in the fire. Convinced her twin lives, Kalen enters the Free Lands to find her despite her friends’ concerns. A Twelfth Hour of Time’s Clock, Kalen can see the future—at least, impending death. Through eye contact, Kalen can tell if someone will die within the next twelve days. But her power comes with a price. It leaves her constantly cold, sick, and physically weak. Kalen can barely walk a mile without fainting, let alone run.


    Such physical limitations don’t let her get far. In the Free Lands, she stops at an inn to rest where a Hand—a henchman and assassin—tells her she must come with him to Clock Face Twelve. Thrown off her path and powerless to stop it, Kalen must follow the Hand to the place where her surrogate sister now rules. But Kalen cannot trust the girl who always feared and coveted Kalen’s powers.


    CLOCK FACE TWELVE, completed at 66,000 words, is a Young Adult Steampunk novel.


    I believe this story may appeal to you because [insert agents interests].


    I am majoring in English at the [Name of University]. I am an intern for Andrea Hurst and Rebecca Berus and work for the Creative Writing Institute as an editor and a writer. My short stories have won several contests, and Overruled: An Anthology published my short story, The Sworn Sword. I am currently soliciting multiple agents.


    The full manuscript is available upon request.


    Thank you for your time and consideration.


    NAME

    Phone number

    Email

    -----

    Obviously, I need help with a hook. Secondly, this is a series but I’m not sure how to put that in the query letter. The second book has a rough draft completed, and the last one I could start writing today, if I put my mind to it.


    Please post any questions you have about the world or titles. Suggestions are welcome.
     
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  2. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I got a bit bogged down by the end of the first part.

    I'd be tempted to leave the first paragraph out - it's atmospheric, I guess, but it's also a lot of words, and I don't know if you want to make it seem as if the most interesting thing about your novel is someone watching the clock and waiting to turn fifteen.

    It sounds like the action starts one your MC leaves clock-land, so maybe your query could start there, too? And then... I don't know, it's hard when there's clearly a lot of world building to get across, but I'd simplify however you can. For me, it was too much detail, and, as I said, I felt bogged down.

    In terms of a hook - I don't think you always need one, but surely there's something you can play with around time, or faces, or clocks... In a world powered by clocks, Kalen Holoway is running out of time. Or... something better.

    The series thing is tricky. When I queried a book that I hoped would be the first in a series, I used the ol' "Title is a standalone novel with series potential" in my closing paragraph, the same place I put the word count, etc. Would your book work as a standalone?
     
  3. Baka_Alchemist
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    Baka_Alchemist Member

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    The novel can stand alone, but, really, it's a series. It doesn't drop off the face of the world like The Name of the Wind. Major plot points are concluded, but a lot is left in the air too. Ah, well. I'll probably go with the "standalone with series potential" though.

    I understand what you mean about too much detail. There is a lot of world building (curtsey of usually writing fantasy . . .). I'll see what details I can cutout and what is needed.
     
  4. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Wait. Are you telling me The Name of the Wind is a cliff-hanger?!? I'm listening to it right now, and I'm not enjoying it too much, and if I'm putting in all this time and then it turns out to not even be a complete story... I'm gonna be pissed.

    Cliff-hanger or standalone? I need to know!!!
     
  5. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Well, regardless of agents, you've got me hooked personally. I wouldn't mind reading your book at all - it sounds pretty cool. (in fact, if you fancy a beta reader, PM me :D )
     
  6. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I'm not knowledgeable enough about query letters to give you much help. These two paragraphs really drew me in. I don't understand why the middle paragraph is needed.
     
  7. Baka_Alchemist
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    Baka_Alchemist Member

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    The Name of the Wind . . . uh . . . it has no real ending. It just kind of drops off. It's amazing though. I love the second book too. I read it (not a big fan of audio books). It is told in a very strange way, though. Sorry . . .
     
  8. Baka_Alchemist
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    Baka_Alchemist Member

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    Thanks for the feedback. Any is appreciated. :D
     
  9. Baka_Alchemist
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    Baka_Alchemist Member

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    Interesting. Let's see where this goes.
     
  10. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    I started skimming during the second paragraph and then skipped to the end because I quickly lost interest in the details. The opening seemed too verbose. The countdown at the start was too long.

    Open with the title, genre and word-count. It's an easier way to establish the style than building it through the pitch.
     
  11. Baka_Alchemist
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    Baka_Alchemist Member

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    Great! Thanks for your feedback. :D
     

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