Mar 22, 2009

Angel Undercover (Revisions 2 & 3, Please Compare)

This query has been revised once before, and the author requests feedback comparing the revisions 2 and 3, posted here. Click here to read the original query. Click here to read the first revision.

Angel Undercover (Revision 2)

Dear Mr./Ms. Agentperson

A heart of gold and shy as a mouse. That was Paige Moss before the adventure that led to her save her city and become the hero no one, leastwise herself, ever thought she could be. A real angel undercover.

Getting kidnapped turns out to be the best thing to ever happen to Paige. She is taken from her dangerous city to the relative safety of an exotic rainforest, full of myth, magic, and adventure. She is joyously reunited with her missing older sister, Savannah, who arranged the abduction. And best of all, she seizes the chance to be something she’s not – brave like her heroes.

But all is not well in the forest paradise. Paige can’t understand why Savannah is acting so aloof or why she’s training an army and upsetting the locals. When Paige discovers that Savannah is working for Maisen, an ends-justify-the-means visionary, she becomes a threat and a target. After enduring harm to body and mind, Paige exposes Maisen, who flees into exile.

Weeks later, an entire city is leveled overnight by rogues. Positive Maisen is involved, Paige returns home to defend her turbulent city, a shy girl no longer. With her sister at her side, Paige expects one final showdown with the person she fears most, but it turns out that Maisen has become the victim of one of his own plans. The rogue firestorm he sparked is out of control and it’s up to Paige and her allies to stop it.

Angel Undercover is a YA fantasy and is complete at 90,000 words. It is the first in a planned quartet.

Kind Regards,


and


Angel Undercover (Revision 3)

Dear Mr./Ms. Agentperson

A heart of gold and shy as a mouse. That was Paige Moss before the adventure that led her to save her city and become the hero no one, leastwise herself, ever thought she could be. A real angel undercover.

Paige doesn’t know it yet, but she’s exactly the sort of person the angels are looking for. After she gets kidnapped by her own sister, Paige decides to make the best of the situation by emulating her favorite hero, putting on an unnatural bravado. At great personal cost, she hunts down and exposes the villain who’s been using her sister for his own underhanded means, validating the angels’ choice in her. She already had will to do what’s best for others, and now even she can’t deny that she’s shown the courage to follow through. In her foray far from home, Paige learns that shyness is not a state of existence, but a choice; that her character is really the sum of her actions. When her city is threatened, Paige returns, a shy girl no longer, and leads her allies to victory. The angels invite her to become a fledgling and she accepts. A millennia of serving others suits her new view of herself perfectly.

Angel Undercover is a YA fantasy and is complete at 90,000 words. It is the first in a planned quartet.

Kind Regards,

5 comments:

Lady Glamis said...

Wow, you've done some great revisions from the very first time I read this. I like your revision 2 the best. I followed it much more easily. If you'd like in-depth critiques, as you know, go ahead and email me.

Good job! I hope you get some good comments here. :)

Rick Daley said...

I like revision 2 best, too. I think you should re-work the first paragraph in the present tense, though. The second sentence is passive, and I fear that may not sit well with some agents.

Judy said...

I like the second query better too.
I would make a third paragraph, starting at this sentence- In her foray far from home,....

Nice revisions.

Good luck

Marissa said...

A few things that I notice right off the bat in your query that I have seen on agent "do not do in queries" lists.

The first paragraph should, ideally, start with action, the opening event. I would, personally, cut out the first paragraph on either revision.

Also, using cliches (shy as a mouse and heart of gold) annoys some agents to no end. Cutting the first paragraph would fix that too.

Mentioning that this is the first in a quartet will certainly scare off certain agents. Many agents do not like hearing about series from new authors, at least not in queries, and especially not if the whole series isn't already written. If the book can stand alone and you aren't completely attached to the idea of publishing the whole quartet, I would drop that line and simply bring up the idea of a quartet once the agent says they want to take you on. A caveat: the agent may refuse to market the book as a quartet and you would lose the other three books or your agent. However, I do believe it would be more beneficial to you to bring it up after an agent has seen, and been wowed by!, your novel.

Another thing that will scare them off is your word count. 90,000 is a little long for a young adult fantasy. The general range is 50-80k. Still, I wouldn't worry about it much because an agent will likely ask for a full/partial anyway... and then ask you to edit out words if they feel it is necessary. You may want to preemptively begin trying to whittle down your word count though.

Finally, as to which version I like, I much prefer the first version minus the first paragraph. It has the basic information but it has a lot more action to it than the other, which, I think, will catch an agent's eye. The one bit I'd hate to lose from the second revision is "In her foray far from home, Paige learns that shyness is not a state of existence, but a choice; that her character is really the sum of her actions."

If I were you, I would paste that section from revision three (with learns changed to learned but that's just personal preference) as another paragraph before the title at the bottom.

Thus, my ideal revision would be:

"Getting kidnapped turns out to be the best thing to ever happen to Paige. She is taken from her dangerous city to the relative safety of an exotic rainforest, full of myth, magic, and adventure. She is joyously reunited with her missing older sister, Savannah, who arranged the abduction. And best of all, she seizes the chance to be something she’s not – brave like her heroes.

But all is not well in the forest paradise. Paige can’t understand why Savannah is acting so aloof or why she’s training an army and upsetting the locals. When Paige discovers that Savannah is working for Maisen, an ends-justify-the-means visionary, she becomes a threat and a target. After enduring harm to body and mind, Paige exposes Maisen, who flees into exile.

Weeks later, an entire city is leveled overnight by rogues. Positive Maisen is involved, Paige returns home to defend her turbulent city, a shy girl no longer. With her sister at her side, Paige expects one final showdown with the person she fears most, but it turns out that Maisen has become the victim of one of his own plans. The rogue firestorm he sparked is out of control and it’s up to Paige and her allies to stop it.

In her foray far from home, Paige learned that shyness is not a state of existence, but a choice; that her character is really the sum of her actions.

Angel Undercover is a YA fantasy and is complete at 90,000 words."

Hope this was helpful!

Anette J Kres said...

I want to thank everyone who took the time to comment on this and the two earlier posts for Angel Undercover's query.

I am really much happier with the query letter I have now. It's still "too long" but I think it could work. We shall see.

So thank you, again. You guys have been wonderfully helpful.