1. dreamersky1212
    Offline

    dreamersky1212 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2015
    Messages:
    136
    Likes Received:
    124
    Location:
    New York (State Not City)

    Query: THE ENDLESS IN BETWEEN

    Discussion in 'Query & Cover Letter Critique' started by dreamersky1212, Nov 22, 2015.

    Okay, so this is the body of my query. I hope to start sending it to agents soon, but would appreciate any advice you can give on how to improve it. I am very....very..nervous...



    Skylar Brayden never thought much about dreams, until the night she fell out of her own and straight into someone else's.

    To make matters worse, she soon finds herself trapped in a nightmare that seems to be feeding on her fear. Whatever is controlling this nightmare, Skylar knows that it is much more than one person's disturbed mind. It is during one of these nightmarish visits that she first connects with others who can do what she can. They call themselves Dreamwalkers and it is they who finally put a name to the fear that she has been sensing in so many others.

    They are the Mara, and they can pull energy from a person through their dreams. However, the terror does not end upon waking, because the Mara can pull energy from their host day and night until the person has nothing left to give. Each Dreamwalker has a skill that aids them in fighting the Mara, but to truly stop these evil creatures they all must work as a team. High school band geek by day and Mara hunter by night; Skylar soon learns that trying to juggle too much with such high stakes has only one inevitable outcome.

    THE ENDLESS IN BETWEEN, a Young Adult Fantasy novel complete at 98,000 words, is a cross between the film INCEPTION and Cassandra Clare's novel CITY OF BONES. I believe it will appeal to fans of Rachel Vincent's MY SOUL TO TAKE and Kami Garcia's BEAUTIFUL CREATURES.
     
    GuardianWynn likes this.
  2. BayView
    Offline

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    5,674
    Likes Received:
    5,165
    I like it, overall.

    A few quibbles - I'd find something other than "To make matters worse" to open the second paragraph. It's cliche, it wasn't all that clear that things were bad to start with (it could be kind of cool to be in someone else's dreams) and I don't think it adds anything. Even the "she soon finds herself" is pretty vague and I think it could be punched up.

    And then I'd look at the "They are the Mara" line as well. It's not immediately clear that "they" refers to "the fear that she has been sensing in so many others." Grammatically, the antecedent seems to be "so many others" and intuitively I thought you were giving another name for the Dreamwalkers. Could be tidied up.

    I'd use something other than "However" in the middle of the first line of the third paragraph - you're not really contradicting the earlier statement.

    The semi-colon in the last sentence of that paragraph should be something else - a colon, or an em-dash? Probably a colon, because you don't know if an em-dash will show up properly on the agent's computer screen.

    I like the last paragraph, although you could leave the "complete" part out.

    Story sounds intriguing!
     
  3. dreamersky1212
    Offline

    dreamersky1212 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2015
    Messages:
    136
    Likes Received:
    124
    Location:
    New York (State Not City)

    I agree with you on the vagueness, thanks for your help.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2015
  4. ToDandy
    Offline

    ToDandy Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2013
    Messages:
    338
    Likes Received:
    208
    Location:
    Bozeman Montana
    Skylar Brayden never thought much about dreams, until the night she fell out of her own and straight into someone else's.
    -Fantastic opening line. I really like it and it instantly drew my attention.

    To make matters worse, she soon finds herself trapped in a nightmare that seems to be feeding on her fear (whoops. And you slip. This sentence sort of awkwardly followed the first and the part about "feeding on her fears" feels like a "duh" moment. When does a nightmare NOT feed on your fear? Isn't that what all nightmares do?). Whatever is controlling this nightmare, Skylar knows that it is much more than one person's disturbed mind (This just confuses. I have no idea what this means or how she could know this). It is during one of these nightmarish visits that she first connects with others who can do what she can (What is it she can do? Dream? Everyone can do that? Or do you mean going into other peoples dreams? Because it wasn't clear that she was the one doing that...she could have been pulling into the dream by someone else). They call themselves Dreamwalkers and it is they who finally put a name to the fear that she has been sensing in so many others (So many other what? Dream walkers? Other people? Friends? Too vague).

    They are the Mara, and they can pull energy from a person through their dreams. However, the terror does not end upon waking, because the Mara can pull energy from their host day and night until the person has nothing left to give. Each Dreamwalker has a skill that aids them in fighting the Mara, but to truly stop these evil creatures they all must work as a team. High school band geek by day and Mara hunter by night; Skylar soon learns that trying to juggle too much with such high stakes (what are the stakes. We don't know them. We only know she is hunting Mara) has only one inevitable outcome (which is what?).

    THE ENDLESS IN BETWEEN, a Young Adult Fantasy novel complete at 98,000 words, is a cross between the film INCEPTION and Cassandra Clare's novel CITY OF BONES. I believe it will appeal to fans of Rachel Vincent's MY SOUL TO TAKE and Kami Garcia's BEAUTIFUL CREATURES.
    -Good clean ending, but you may also want to thank them for their consideration.


    OVERALL IMPRESSIONS:
    You have a VERY strong opening sentence. It instantly hooked me and made me read the rest of it. The concept of Mara and sharing dreams are also interesting.

    Your issue with this query is you are WAY to vague. Not all queries need to follow the same structure, but there is one that works best. Let the reader know these three things.

    -Who is the story about
    -What are the stakes
    -What happens if the protagonist fails

    This works because it makes us want to know what happens next. Right now you've got a great opening line but then a jumble of different concepts that don't really tell us that much about the story.

    I recommend another pass on this. You've got a great start and clearly good ideas in here, but I have no idea what the story is, and that's your biggest problem.

    If you want to learn more about writing queries, I cannot recommend Query Shark enough. One of the best blogs out there.
     
  5. ToDandy
    Offline

    ToDandy Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2013
    Messages:
    338
    Likes Received:
    208
    Location:
    Bozeman Montana
    Mostly, I kinda want to trade some chapters with you because I am also working on a book about dream walkers (called The Dream Walker Trials).

    Kind of funny how people get similar ideas. I wonder how similar our projects really are.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2015
  6. J.J. Olivier
    Offline

    J.J. Olivier New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2015
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Japan
    Skylar Brayden never thought much about dreams, until the night she fell out of her own and straight into someone else's.
    I agree with ToDandy. This opening sentence has a good punch and works well getting the reader enticed to keep moving forward.

    To make matters worse, she soon finds herself trapped in a nightmare that seems to be feeding on her fear. (The question I would ask here is a grammatical one and I may be incorrect, but you switched from the past tense to the present from sentence one to sentence two. I feel like it should read, "... she soon found herself trapped". Also, I would avoid using the word 'seem'. My editor always kills me for that word. To quote her, "It's your story and your character. Decide what is happening and tell me." Seem makes it sound unsure. I also agree with the first poster as well, I don't know that matters strictly got worse. I think if you dump that and the 'seem' from the sentence you now have a punchy follow up to sentence one.) Whatever is controlling this nightmare, Skylar knows that it is much more than one person's disturbed mind. (Nicely written.) It is during one of these nightmarish (not strictly necessary as we know she is visiting people in nightmares. "...during one of these nightmares." "...during one of these visits." You also used a variation of nightmare in the previous sentence as well.) visits that she first connects with others who can do what she can (As said above, what can she do? This is a bit too vague. I know you are trying to hold some of the surprises back but you have to give up a bit more than you do here. You might consider dumping the sentence after 'connects' and attaching it to the following sentence. "It is during one of these visits that she first connects with the Dreamwalkers.). They call themselves Dreamwalkers and it is they who finally put a name to the fear that she has been sensing in so many others. (Here my question is when did we address the idea that she senses fear in others? I know she can travel into other people's dreams. What other things can she do? I think that is what needs to be laid out a bit more here, then move on to who the Dreamwalkers are.)

    They are the Mara, and they can pull energy from a person through their dreams. (I like this sentence but I would dump the 'can' and just leave it at this is what they do. It's stronger.) However, the terror does not end upon waking (I would go with a period here. Punch them with that sentence. The comma makes it more of a jab and it doesn't have to be.) , because (if you use the period then dump the 'because') the Mara can pull energy from their host day and night until the person has nothing left to give. Each Dreamwalker has a skill that aids them in fighting the Mara, but to truly stop these evil creatures they all must work as a team. High school band geek by day and Mara hunter by night; (I wouldn't use the semi colon here. Go with a comma or an em dash. The comma is your best best. I know it doesn't look as sexy but the first part of the sentence is a fragment without the second and it doesn't flow right in this particular case.) Skylar soon learns that trying to juggle too much with such high stakes has only one inevitable outcome.

    THE ENDLESS IN BETWEEN (stylistically, you might want to consider hyphenating the In-Between part. That is a style choice though I feel) , a Young Adult Fantasy novel complete at 98,000 words, is a cross between the film INCEPTION and Cassandra Clare's novel CITY OF BONES. I believe it will appeal to fans of Rachel Vincent's MY SOUL TO TAKE and Kami Garcia's BEAUTIFUL CREATURES. (I am curious if you picked these novels from the agent/publisher you are pitching or if you plan to use them in a blanket manner for all pitches. I only ask because from what little I know of querying it is best to find a niche from within the publishing house/agent's own roster to serve the double purpose of showing that you have done your homework and that you appreciate/have read their writer's works.)

    Overall I think you have a great concept and much of your pitch is very good. I wrote a lot but I would definitely be interested in reading more of the work which shows that it did the job. Like has been stated, clear up the vagueness and really own your story. Don't be afraid to really pull the trigger.

    Great start and I can't wait to read the next pass! Keep writing!
     
  7. dreamersky1212
    Offline

    dreamersky1212 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2015
    Messages:
    136
    Likes Received:
    124
    Location:
    New York (State Not City)


    Thank you all for the well thought out critiques. They were very helpful.
    So here is my round two...



    Seventeen-year-old Skylar Brayden never thought much about dreams, until the night she falls out of her own and straight into someone else's.

    If that wasn't disorienting enough, she soon finds herself trapped in a nightmare where something is feeding on her fear. Whatever is controlling this nightmare, Skylar suspects that it is much more than one person's disturbed mind. It is during another one of these frighting visits that she first connects with others who can travel the world of dreams. They call themselves Dreamwalkers and it is they who finally put a name to the terrifying beings that Skylar has been sensing in so many others: The Mara.

    Though the Mara exist entirely in the dreamworld, they can pull energy from a person through their dreams, draining the energy from their host day and night until the person has nothing left to give. Before Skylar can regain her balance in this new world, the Mara begin acting erratically, feeding in packs and leaving their latest victim drained in a single night.

    With another attack imminent, Skylar fears the Mara will soon be coming for someone she loves. So she decides to join the Dreamwalkers in their quest to stop these evil beings. High school band geek by day and Mara hunter by night, Skylar soon learns that trying to juggle too much with such high stakes has only one inevitable outcome.

    THE ENDLESS IN-BETWEEN, a Young Adult Fantasy novel complete at 97,000 words, is a cross between the film INCEPTION and Cassandra Clare's novel CITY OF BONES. It is the first in a planned trilogy. The follow-up novel is in progress. I believe it will appeal to fans of Rachel Vincent's MY SOUL TO TAKE as well as Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl's BEAUTIFUL CREATURES.



    Thank you very much for your time and attention.


    Sincerely,

    Me
     
  8. dreamersky1212
    Offline

    dreamersky1212 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2015
    Messages:
    136
    Likes Received:
    124
    Location:
    New York (State Not City)
    Sorry, I somehow missed your post when I was doing the 'quote' thing. But you were included in the aforementioned thank you.
     
  9. Cave Troll
    Offline

    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    3,829
    Likes Received:
    2,427
    Location:
    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    Now I am a little confused. I didn't know that a query letter and a synopsis were basically the same thing. I wonder if someone can answer this inquiry into this conundrum of what I see as a redundancy. So is there a difference between a query and a synopsis? :confused:
     
  10. BayView
    Offline

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    5,674
    Likes Received:
    5,165
    A standard query contains a few paragraphs outlining the story. It's usually written in a more dramatic way than a synopsis - big ideas rather than point-by-point plot events, and it may have a more ambiguous ending, but both a synopsis and a query letter should give the reader a pretty fair idea what the story is about.
     
    ToDandy and Lifeline like this.
  11. Cave Troll
    Offline

    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    3,829
    Likes Received:
    2,427
    Location:
    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    Ok, well that clears up part of it. But it still sounds a little redundant. Though I suppose if that is what is demanded for getting an attempt to be read. Then I guess nothing more should be said. :p
     
  12. dreamersky1212
    Offline

    dreamersky1212 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2015
    Messages:
    136
    Likes Received:
    124
    Location:
    New York (State Not City)

    I've written both for this story and from what I have learned, the query is to get the agent's interest, while the synopsis is a way for them to quickly determine if you can keep it. In the synopsis they want specifics, chapter by chapter what is the plot of the story. They want to know if the story carries through with the 'promise' of the query without having to actually read the full thing first.
     
  13. Cave Troll
    Offline

    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    3,829
    Likes Received:
    2,427
    Location:
    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    @dreamersky1212 Thank you for the breakdown, much appreciated. So yes, after a fashion it is a form of redundancy. Again thanks, now I know. :)

    Not sure how in the hell, I can spin a linear, non chapter based, multi POV into a traditional breakdown like the common fellow. Time to sit and figure out that particular conundrum. :(

    Again, because you have been so kind. Thank you. :)
     
  14. ToDandy
    Offline

    ToDandy Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2013
    Messages:
    338
    Likes Received:
    208
    Location:
    Bozeman Montana
    Seventeen-year-old Skylar Brayden never thought much about dreams, until the night she falls out of her own and straight into someone else's.
    -Still like this opening and I'm glad you kept it.

    If that wasn't disorienting enough, she soon finds herself trapped in a nightmare where something is feeding on her fear. Whatever is controlling this nightmare, Skylar suspects that it is much more than one person's disturbed mind (this part feels tacked on and is confusing. What is much more than one person's disturbed mind? The wording makes it hard to follow). It is during another one of these frighting visits that she first connects with others who can travel the world of dreams. They call themselves Dreamwalkers and it is they who finally put a name to the terrifying beings that Skylar has been sensing in so many others: The Mara.


    Though the Mara exist entirely in the dreamworld, they can pull energy from a person through their dreams, draining the energy from their host day and night until the person has nothing left to give. Before Skylar can regain her balance in this new world, the Mara begin acting erratically, feeding in packs and leaving their latest victim drained in a single night.
    -Okay, good. Here you added some stakes. Now make us care about them. Why would Skylar care about people being attacked by Mara beyond being just a nice person?

    With another attack imminent, Skylar fears the Mara will soon be coming for someone she loves (How does she know this and why would they do this?). So she decides to join the Dreamwalkers in their quest to stop these evil beings. High school band geek by day and Mara hunter by night, Skylar soon learns that trying to juggle too much with such high stakes has only one inevitable outcome.

    THE ENDLESS IN-BETWEEN, a Young Adult Fantasy novel complete at 97,000 words, is a cross between the film INCEPTION and Cassandra Clare's novel CITY OF BONES. It is the first in a planned trilogy. The follow-up novel is in progress (Don't try to sell them on future books, sell the one you have now. If they read it all the way through and choose to represent it, they'll have figured out that it is one of a series all on their lonesome.). I believe it will appeal to fans of Rachel Vincent's MY SOUL TO TAKE as well as Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl's BEAUTIFUL CREATURES (You'll probably want to choose one or two similar books, not four).



    Thank you very much for your time and attention.


    Sincerely,

    Me


    Okay, so this is better than the first, but it still needs some work. You now have who is the main character is and what the stakes are, but you are still missing, what happens if the protagonist fails. Sometimes it is also good to include difficult choices that the protagonist will have to face.

    You are also explaining to much about the Mara and it could all be condensed. For example:


    Seventeen-year-old Skylar Brayden never thought much about dreams, until the night she fell out of her own and straight into someone else's.

    It is during another one of these frighting visits that she first connects with others who can travel the world of dreams. They call themselves Dreamwalkers and they have only one mission- defeat the life-sucking dream parasites known as the Mara.

    But Before Skylar can learn to control her new powers the Mara begin hunting erratically, leaving their latest victim dead after only a single night. bla bla bla. exc. exc.


    ^This is simply a quick example of how the Mara background can be condensed down to the essentials. This makes it less tedious. All we need to know is Mara are dream parasite-thingys that suck the life out of people over time. Don't get too complicated in the query. You can save the juicy bits for the actual book.

    You still have too much background and not enough story. I'd recommend another round. Keep at it, it's getting better!
     

Share This Page