Apr 1, 2010

QUERY - LOST ANGEL

Dear OpenQuery/Rick,

Some people wonder. They wonder what happens to stillborn babies, or how in the world God manages to listen to millions of prayers a day, or what, exactly, is an angel, and what they look like.

Precocious twelve-year-old Angel Trainee Evangeline Blackwell doesn't need to wonder. She knows it all (or almost). One thing she doesn't know, however is who her parents are. But she intends to find out. And then she does. And it turns out, the truth does hurt, especially when you aren't officially allowed to know. And especially when your best friend is a practiced rule-breaker [troublemaker] and you're the youngest in a group of intelligent and, more importantly, insubordinate friends who insist on dragging you along on their journey along the dangerously fine line between mischievous celestial defiance and open rebellion. When they are caught red-handed breaking yet another rule from God's List of Things an Angel is Not Allowed to Do, things take a turn for the worse and Evangeline and her friends must choose between what they think is right, and what the all-knowing God says is right.

LOST ANGEL, complete at 100,000 words, is a Young Adult Fantasy novel. I am a student currently residing in France and have been writing as a hobby for over five years.
Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

[Name]

8 comments:

atkogirl85 said...

I love it. Congrats, that sounds like a really great book! Original and interesting :)

Guinevere said...

I think this section would be stronger with more specifics -- I found it a little vague:
"One thing she doesn't know, however is who her parents are. But she intends to find out. And then she does. And it turns out, the truth does hurt, especially when you aren't officially allowed to know. And especially when your best friend is a practiced rule-breaker [troublemaker] and you're the youngest in a group of intelligent and, more importantly, insubordinate friends who insist on dragging you along on their journey along the dangerously fine line between mischievous celestial defiance and open rebellion."

(OK, so I love the last bit about the "dangerously fine line between...", but overall, I found this a little vague and lengthy for so little information). I'd like to know what happens when she finds her parents, why it hurts. What's the connection between her parents and her group of mischievous friends -- it sounds like there is one, but it's not really clear.

It sounds like you have a wonderful concept - just tighten this up a little and you'll have a wonderful query to go with it!

SJDuvall said...

I agree with Guinevere and I would also like to say that it's probably not a good idea to mention you write as a hobby and for how long. That doesn't matter. What matters is your work and if you've been published somewhere (if not, don't mention it).

N. Blank said...

I love angel stories and I think the world needs more of them. :-)

you might want to start off by saying:
"All people wonder. But only some wonder what happens..."
OR
"Some people wonder what happens..."

And congrats on your word count. 100,000 is a beautiful number in the literary world.

Rick Daley said...

This query has voice to it, and the story concept seems fresh. There are a few things I would tighten up, though.

The hook is 50/50. Some people do wonder, but some may not. It's cloe to opening with a rhetorical questions. I think you should use the hook to set to the true conflict of the story, not the philosophies that underlie it.

"what...is an angel, and that they look like" shifts from singular to plural.

"Precocious twelve-year-old" sounds cliche to me. I think dropping the precocious and using the story description to show me her spunky side would be better, otherwise you have too many adjectives strung together to introduce your MC.

I agree with Guinevere that some more specifics would be nice, there's a lot of vague plot points referenced, and it raises a lot of questions.

Who are her parents?
Why can't she know?
Why does it hurt?
What journey is she drug along on? Is this journey the focus of the book? If so, that should be the focus of the query.

I think this shows a lot of promise!

Aimless Writer said...

I think you have a good premise here but your query has so much in it I'm losing the gist of the story.
Evangeline is the main character so I don't care her bff is a troublemaker or she's youngest in the group. All that I'll find out when I read the story.
Give me her goal (finding her parents or the journey with her friends?).
Motivation - why is this important to her? Why does she have to move forward?
Conflict? What she stands to lose or what terrible thing will happen to her. Will she be kicked out of heaven?
I think you have a great story here but its hard to find the forest for the trees. Agents get hundreds of queries a day. If you can't grab them quick they move on.
And don't call your writing a hobby. It's a job. You go to it everyday. Agent's really don't want a one-hit-wonder. They want a writer.

Working Rachel said...

I think this is a great concept, but I think what you've really got here is a very long middle grade novel, not a YA. The main character is very young, and even though she's rebellious and hanging out with older kids, the conflicts sound more appropriate to middle grade than YA. If it really is middle grade or even on the younger side of YA, you've got some cutting to do. I'd suggest going over your manuscript one more time with a careful eye towards what's necessary, with a goal of more like 60,000 words than 100k.

Just my take from the query--might be that it's working as a long YA, but I'm afraid an agent might balk.

Amanda said...

Thanks everyone for the quick and precise answers. Very useful, I'll work on my query.