Mar 19, 2009

YA Fantasy: The Mansion

A revision of this query has been posted. Click here to read it.

There's a statue in the gardens that used to be a girl.
When six teenagers learn that their parents participated in a dangerous experiment before they were born, the news is life-changing. But the experiment isn't over, and now these 16-year olds must live in a creepy mansion for a year, to undergo observation. They aren't sure who is observing them or why, but when Ward and Quita start sharing visions, and the voices in Sami's head keep leading her to strange diary pages, they know that something huge is going on. Between rescuing a girl that's somehow been turned to stone, and trying to figure out why they all seem to have special abilities, these six teenagers try to deal with life and high school when everyone around them is keeping secrets.

The Mansion vol. I: The Experiment is a 55,000 word YA Fantasy. It is the first in a 3-5 book series. The original rough draft was published one chapter at a time as a Sims 2 story. It was voted Featured Under Rated Story and also became Featured Story (for multiple chapters, as determined by reader ratings at thesims2.com). A series of Sims 2 machinima were created as a result of winning The Make My Movie Contest run by GospelSims.com. All of the videos are available on youtube, if you're interested in seeing them, though the current manuscript has changed a lot. I do want to point you to one of the promo videos that she did. It's about a minute long without the end credits and does a really wonderful job of capturing the feel of the book. It is here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D39suMxt9KM&feature=channel_page in case the link doesn't work).


Full manuscript, synopsis, and outlines of further novels in the series are available upon request. Thank you for your consideration.

8 comments:

lucy in the sky said...

I was interested right away, sounds like a good read. Suggest "There is" instead of "There's" at the beginning,it might flow better. I also think you could leave off the last sentence of the first paragraph.

A lot of time is spent in the second paragraph talking about the sims connection. Just my persective, maybe, but I would suggest not spending more than a sentence or two at the most on that.

lauren said...

I would suggest ditching the Sims stuff unless you have some solid numbers to back it up -- i.e., "Over the course of a year, nearly 70,000 unique visitors watched an early version of the story unfold on The Sims 2." That would demonstrate that you could attract a large readership, presumably of young people, through your writing and storytelling. Overall, though, that second paragraph goes on for far too long and consists of no publishing credits. Cut what you can.

Also, the novel itself should stand alone; you might mention that it has "series potential," but don't hint that its plot arc may not be complete within this particular manuscript.

In the hook paragraph, I suggest concentrating on one character if at all possible. I'm assuming this is sort of an ensemble-cast story, but for the purpose of the query, you want you reader (agent) to connect with one character enough so that he or she cares what happens to them. Right now, I don't feel connected to "these six teenagers," and there are a whole ton of things going on with them -- the creepy mansion, visions, voices, a weird diary, special abilities...goodness. Keep the focus to one character and one main plot arc.

Anonymous said...

The first paragraph is confusing, you start with a statue of a girl but then don't touch on it again. Why was it important? What is the statue about? Also, why do the teenagers have to live in the mansion for a year? Who is forcing them? I'm sure these items are addressed in the book but I think your query is too vague on these points.

I would leave out the sims stuff also, or maybe condense it down somehow.

Good job! I'd read this book!

Anonymous said...

"When six teenagers learn that their parents participated in a dangerous experiment before they were born, the news is life-changing."

You got me interested with this, even though the statue of the girl would serve a great warning for anyone in the group trying to escape.


"But the experiment isn't over, and now these 16-year olds must live in a creepy mansion for a year, to undergo observation."

Not enough at stake here. Observation? only observation? come on, where's the fright?


"They aren't sure who is observing them or why, but when Ward and Quita start sharing visions, and the voices in Sami's head keep leading her to strange diary pages, they know that something huge is going on."

I would think they already know because of your first part.

"Between rescuing a girl that's somehow been turned to stone"

Good, now you went back to the girl.


"and trying to figure out why they all seem to have special abilities, these six teenagers try to deal with life and high school when everyone around them is keeping secrets."

Hmmm. I thought they were in the mansion? What happens, do they go there after school? or is there a school in the mansion?
I'd take out "six teenagers try to deal with life and high school", but keep the "everyone around them _______" you fill in the blank with something exciting that sets your book apart.

Oh and I agree with losing the SIMS info that other posts suggested.

Maidenfine said...

I have a question about the series thing. You say I shouldn't say that the story arc isn't complete in this novel, and I understand that a series is harder to sell than a stand-alone. But what if the book really can't stand alone? I'd feel like a liar saying "series potential" when it's really "series essential." There are certain things that are wrapped up within the book, but there is a longer plot that's nowhere close to fruition at the end.

Rick Daley said...

It can contain the elements of a larger story arc that will span the series, but even in a series, each installment needs to have its own beginning, middle, and end.

Harry Potter has his battle with Voldemort that spans the series, but there are distinct plots that drive each of the seven novels.

Unless it is truly being released as a serial, like Stephen King did with THE GREEN MILE, that is...But for a new author to do that is a daunting task.

Maidenfine said...

I understand that the book needs to have it's own plot that finishes. And the statue plot does finish. But at the end of the book, it's fairly obvious that it's not the end of the story.

So, my question is, would I be misleading an agent if I said it had "potential to be a series" when really, it's one in a series? I understand wanting it to sound good to the agent so they'll ask for a partial or a full, but there's a difference between sounding good and being deliberately misleading. Which is why I left it in.

Rick Daley said...

Here is a link to an excellent post by agent Nathan Bransford about mentioning a series:

http://nathanbransford.blogspot.com/2007/07/how-to-mention-series-in-query.html