Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Face-Lift 622


Guess the Plot

Elemental

1.Mad scientist Mungo Murphy blasts neutrinos into Jane's ear in an effort to change her mind. The frightful result is dominated by helium, hydrogen, and lithium.

2. Being clinically insane is really tough at any age, but for Kitty Larson, who is mentally unsound and getting worse every day, it's going to be next to impossible to make it through first grade.

3. At first, she thought mercury was the answer to everything, but then she switched to cobalt. Now ace homicide detective Zack Martinez knows he must find Pretty Poison -- before she kills again!!!

4. Abriel has powers beyond those of normal humans. Government bounty hunters are after her, so she leaves high school and takes a job babysitting child elementals at a camp run by vampires.

5. Heiress Lily Water finds herself falling in love--with Henry Lithium, scum of the Mafia. Some things, however, just weren't meant to be.

6. Fifth grader Tim Whirloo loves his bicycle more than anything, so it really annoys him when the new girl borrows it and -- flies it over the treetops! But when she returns at midnight with a map to the island where her sister is imprisoned by an evil wizard, Tim agrees to help.


Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

When everything feels like a secret, who can you trust? [That can go. It's vague, and I don't know what "everything feels like a secret" means, anyway.]

Abriel Jones, the protagonist of Elemental, is an average teenager. [I hate her already.] Her days are plagued by conceited boys and disloyal friends; her nights are riddled with insomnia and a mysterious visitor. On her seventeenth birthday, however, this relative normality is left behind [Are you saying the average teenager's nights are riddled with mysterious visitors? That this is normal?] when she sends her boyfriend flying across the room, and Drei—her mystery visitor—rescues her from two drunken thugs. [I knew there was a reason I never invite drunken thugs to my birthday parties.]

Once Abriel’s somewhat recuperated, [From what?] Drei explains that she’s an air elemental, [What is an air elemental, besides someone who can send her boyfriend flying across the room? Did she throw him across the room? Cause a sudden wind to blow him across? Think him across?] gives her reason to believe her parents are keeping a secret from her, and, after witnessing her carelessness, warns against the governmental bounty hunters. [Are we talking about the U.S. government?] After her own close encounter with a bounty hunter, she attempts forsaking her elemental gift. This results in her losing control at school and eventually taking the out Drei has offered her.

Thus, Abriel ends up babysitting at his vampire-run safe camp for young elementals, as she is the oldest. [I'll take my chances with the bounty hunters before I'll sign on to babysit at any kind of camp.] What she didn’t expect was the loneliness overwhelming her, that is, until Nick appears. His presence creates a rift, separating her from almost everyone else at the camp. Nick isn’t supposed to be there; he’s not an elemental, and having his family murdered by the government doesn’t help his case. [If he's not supposed to be there, why don't they throw him out?] But when she’s around him, Abriel isn’t so lonely, and her unknown future is as distant in her mind as it is in her life.

Nick has a secret, though. One that could ruin everything. With so many people and emotions on the line, can he find the courage to share it? [You've gone vague again. What's the secret, and what's on the line?]

The answer lies in Elemental. [Now I know what you meant by "everything feels like a secret."] While Elemental is the first in a proposed trilogy, it can also be a stand-alone novel with a few loose ends. Instead of focusing more on the characters as vampires and elementals, my novel explores the characters as people, [Actually, I'm much more interested in vampires and elementals than people, but maybe that's just me.] thus investigating the confusion found in finding oneself and falling in love, or trying not to.

May I submit this 50,000-word Young Adult novel for representation? Thank you for your time and consideration.

All the best,


Notes

What does the government want with Abriel, what's the purpose of the camp, and why is Nick there? Give us some details so we know what's going on and what's at stake.

Vague phrases like "investigating the confusion found in finding oneself" and the others already pointed out don't help your cause. If it's worth mentioning, it's worth being specific.

34 comments:

nn Angel said...

Thank you for your critique, Evil Editor. I'll take it to heart and work on my query some more.

Dave F. said...

I like this. However, two things bother me. One, why you just don't say that this is the story of Abriel who suddenly discovers she has powers and those powers get her into strange and dangerous situations. How does she grow up and what lessons does she learn?
And two, Vampires have to be very well written in this day and age. Lots of vampires out there.

Sarah from Hawthorne said...

You've got a good start here but to be brutally honest, I think you're playing up the negative emotions too much. From the first paragraph Abriel seems completely defeated by her problems. She's "plagued" by normal high school life, moves on to "carelessness" and attempting to "forsake" her powers, and then is "overwhelmed by loneliness." The emotional dial is up so high you don't give yourself anywhere to go.

When you rewrite, ask yourself what positive qualities of Abriel will people relate to? Why will people want to read about her? How is she the one person who can deal with this problem?

V. Dunn said...

Never admit to having "loose ends" in your novel. That's a bad thing.

Ideally, you could tie up the loose ends, but if that's impossible, then describe the novel as "stand alone with potential to expand into a series".

Also, bringing in the vampires, who seem to have no role in the actual plot, seems like extra baggage to me. Make this proposal about elementals and young people in love. Tighten your focus.

However, your book sounds like it does have potential. It's just the kind of book my 13yo loves to pieces. And which I mock. But with affection, because I read the same stuff when I was her age.

nn Angel said...

Thank you all for your comments. This is really helpful.

Margaret Taylor said...

The cool bit, the schtick, is that Abriel's an elemental, right? Start off with the cool bit. Maybe something like,

Abriel has just discovered she's an air elemental after a tumultuous evening that left her boyfriend in traction and her narrowly escaping assassination.

Condenses the whole first paragraph into a sentence, so you can start talking about the good part.

BuffySquirrel said...

So she can fling her boyfriend across the room, but can't rescue herself from a couple of thugs? Does she only attack those she loves?

lackofagency

Author said...

Revised Version:


Dear Evil Editor,

Abriel Jones didn’t know what she wanted for her 17th birthday. She did know it didn’t include discovering she was an air elemental.

Not long after this discovery, a vampire finds and encourages her to explore her newfound power over air. Though at first hesitant, she does begin to experiment and comes to accept her new talents. With it, however, comes information she wasn’t expecting and isn’t sure she wants. The vampire warns her about bounty hunters and implies her mother is not only an air elemental, but is also a prisoner of the government. She refuses to believe him; then a bounty hunter shows up at her school.

When she loses control of her gifts in public, her hopes of a bright future at college vanish, as does her sense of safety. Unable to see any other options, she turns to the vampire for help. He takes her to his safe camp, a place to protect those the government would use as weapons. There, she is the oldest and quickly pushed into a babysitting position. While she enjoys the company of the earth and water elemental children, she can’t help but feel lonely.

Until Nick stumbles across the camp, that is. Nick doesn’t belong at the camp, though. He’s not an elemental and the vampire doesn’t trust him. But when Abriel fights for Nick to stay, she soon convinces a majority of those in charge and the vampire has been overruled. Though infuriated by this, he allows it so long as no one reveals who they truly are to Nick, including Abriel.

Nick erases her loneliness and finds his way into her heart within weeks. The price is her relationship with everyone else at the camp, especially the children—to whom she has become a kind of temporary mother figure—and the vampire. There’s something Nick hasn’t told her, though. He’s a bounty hunter, and not by choice; but he’s determined to keep it secret. With both Abriel and Nick housing secrets from the other, how long will it be until their secrets come out?

Elemental is the first in a proposed trilogy, but can stand alone. May I submit this 50,000 word Young Adult novel for representation?

All the best,

Anonymous said...

Does the vampire have a name? It would make him seem like more like an individual character and less like a generic, randomly-chosen-because-they're-hot-right-now "monster."

_*Rachel*_ said...

This feels vague. I think the best part of your last query was the boyfriend flying across the room. Specific action, not airy (hah) dillemmas.

Phoenix said...

Hi Author:
Both versions are a bit long and windy (that's windy with a long i). I'll focus my comments on the revise, where I'm seeing lots of logic problems.

P1: How could she know she didn't want something she didn't know she was?

P2: What connection is there between vampires and elementals? As written, Abriel is hesitant about her powers but appears to accept the vampire as easily as if you had said "a Native American finds and encourages her."

The vamp implies her mom is an elemental and a prisoner? Why implies? If she refuses to believe him what does she think happened to her mom? Has her mom just gone missing or has she been gone awhile?

How does she know the bounty hunter is a bounty hunter? Does he announce himself? Apparently they don't have any distinguishing characteristics or Nick couldn't go unnoticed later on.

P3: Now the government is after elementals, too. Is the government training and paying the bounty hunters, or are they separate?

P4: Is there a compelling reason Abriel fights for Nick to stay? Especially when she goes against "those in charge"? How MANY are there in charge, and are they all vamps? If the MC vamp is overruled, how can he still be the one to "allow it" and be the one setting the conditions?

P5: So Abriel is smitten and spending all her time with Nick to the exclusion of the kids and the vamp? And this is a bad thing? A wrong thing?

If Nick knows the camp is full of elementals, won't he guess Abriel is one, too? It seems like a one-sided secret to me. And if he's there for "weeks", well, that's a heck of a long time for gifted kids to hide their powers (especially when in the first version you say that when Abriel tries to forsake her powers they bubble out uncontrollably anyway).

For me, the query just doesn't hang together, and I'd be afraid the manuscript wouldn't either. It might well be a nice, tight story, but just from reading these queries, I can't be confident that it is.

So tighten it up, give us some more concrete details that don't invite questions about the logic of the story, and let's see the result!

Min Yin said...

With the revised version, I do have a much clearer picture of your plot. Thanks for posting it.

batgirl said...

Today I am power-mad, and I'm going to mess with other people's words.

Abriel Jones 17th birthday present was a real surprise: she found out she wasn't human. She is an air elemental, like her (long-lost? unknown?) mother. Worse, her mother is a prisoner of government bounty-hunters, and the same hunters are after her, to use her powers for themselves.When she loses control of her gifts (be specific) while evading a bounty hunter at her school, she turns to the mysterious (give his name, but skip the vampire stuff), who hides her at a wilderness camp. There she finds other younger elementals, and a place for herself as their 'big sister'. (if it's important that she's the only air elemental, say that here, along with her being the oldest). But with her newfound responsibilities comes loneliness, worry about her mother, and grief for the bright future she hoped for among normal humans.Then Nick, (something about Nick, since he doesn't start off saying he's a bounty hunter) stumbles across the camp, embodying the safe, normal life she misses, and she argues fiercely for him to stay. Reluctantly, the (mysterious guy, I don't see any reason for the vampire thing to be mentioned in the query at all) agrees, on the condition that the elemental children--including Abriel--keep their nature secret. (If Nick charms the kids as well, so that they want him to stay, you might want to mention it) What she doesn't know is that Nick has his own deadly secret. He has been forced (how?) to become a bounty hunter. (does he know they're elementals?) When the truth comes out, Abriel must choose (something dramatic)

nn Angel said...

Batgirl: Thank you for your suggestion. I was just about to post a comment asking how it would be possible (in others' opinions since I don't see how) to include all of the information I think is necessary but they want in answer to their questions, without making my query extensively long. So thank you for the outlined suggestion. I'll use it as a model for when I rewrite it.

talpianna said...

I wonder what happened to MY brilliant comment...

batgirl said...

tal, your comment was eaten by the same lurking force that ate my paragraphing (which showed up just fine on Preview, dammit).

talpianna said...

Batgirl, could it be the zombie meerkats©?

batgirl said...

I thought zombie meerkats subsisted entirely on plot bunnies?
Oooohhhh noooo.....

Author said...

Revised version:


Dear Evil Editor,

Abriel Jones’s 17th birthday just couldn’t go right. There was the unbearable school dance, her boyfriend trying to force himself on her as a birthday present, and, to top it off, her powers as an air elemental finally came in. With the mysterious Drei’s aid, she learns answers to her questions (such as being an elemental doesn’t make her less human), and some answers she never wanted to know—a mother she never knew about is prisoner to the government for also being an air elemental.

Abriel tries to forget about it, but that proves impossible when she loses control at school when one of her “friends” turns abusive at a tidbit of gossip. Unable to even imagine trying to rebuild her life, Drei takes her to a safe camp hidden in the woods. There, she meets the children—all of them either earth or water elementals—and is quickly dropped into the responsibility of babysitter. She wouldn’t mind it so much if she didn’t feel so lonely.

Then Nick stumbles across the camp, weak from wandering and tattered from the fire his family died in. Drei doesn’t want Nick to stay—he’s not an elemental and they don’t know much about him. Abriel argues her way to a majority for Nick to stay. Even only after a day, he makes her feel safe and less lonely, and she’s not willing to let that go. Drei reluctantly backs down, on the condition no one—not even Abriel—reveals their nature to Nick.

What Abriel doesn’t know is that Nick is the threat Drei feared he was. He’s a bounty hunter, forced by the government to track elementals for experimentation. When the truth about both of their unique natures comes out, she has no choice but to tell Drei. But what will she do? After endangering the entire camp, she’s certain she won’t be included in any solution Drei finds, and she’s not quite ready for a reunion with a mother she’s never known.

Elemental is complete at 50,000 words. While Elemental can stand by itself, it is planned as the first installment of a trilogy.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

writtenwyrdd said...

The revision is far more clear, but you keep adding more information instead of starting with the gist and selling that to us. The letter thus reads more like a synopsis.

To me, the main thread is that your character discovers she has powers, they endanger her and she needs to learn to use them. Choices are forced on her because of this, and then the new life is screwed up by her defense of a new guy who is a bountyhunter. But the crux of the story is that when this is discovered, she has to resolve the problem.

It almost sounds like the main story starts in the final paragraph when Nick shows up.

Some plots are more difficult to clarify than others. Don't worry about being literal; just make whatever you tell us about the story makes us want to read it. That's the important part.

So my suggestion is to keep streamlining and begin from the main problem and what she's aiming for.

Ruth said...

1. Tense issues in second sentence. (Boyfriend trying, powers came...) You need to be careful about tenses/grammar in a query letter - triple check everything!

2. "such as being an elemental doesn’t make her less human" - sounds clumsy to me, I'd rewrite the "questions" sentence.

3. I think the first paragraph has too much detail in it. In a way it's good as it gives us a mental picture of the character, but it turns the whole query into what's becoming a long-ass letter. Out of the various incarnations of this query, I actually prefer batgirl's - it's succinct, it sounds really interesting and it condenses everything into just what we need to know.

4. "Abriel tries to forget about it, but that proves impossible when she loses control at school when one of her “friends” turns abusive at a tidbit of gossip." when - when. Not great sentence structure; too repetitive. Again, you need to be really careful with your sentence structures.

5. "Unable to even imagine trying to rebuild..." sounds clumsy to me. As does "Even after only..." Simple sentences often do the job much better, especially in queries. Try to cut out words like "even" and "just" in queries (and your novel) - they're often unnecessary.

6. The paragraph about Nick reads a lot better to me. I would change the middle bit to: "Drei doesn't want Nick to stay - he's not an elemental and they don't know much about him. But Abriel insists he stays* - he makes her feel safe. Drei reluctantly backs down..."
*Probabaly a different word than "stays" since that's repetitive, but you get the idea. I don't think we need to know that there's a majority vote, etc - again, it seems like too much detail (though I know other commenters will disagree with me on that).

A lot of this query is better than the first two incarnations, but it still seems too long, with a lot of unnecessary details. Good luck!

Matthew said...

I agree with the the others. The query often gets bogged down in details and batgirl wrote the best one so far.

Kings Falcon said...

The queries are improving. But, like most of us, you are still getting bogged down in details that can be left out.

- Abriel Jones’s 17th birthday just couldn’t go right.

It isn't a bad start but it also doesn't grab my attention.


There was the unbearable school dance, her boyfriend trying to force himself on her as a birthday present, and, to top it off, her powers as an air elemental finally came in.

- You lose the impact with this list. Also, by saying her "powers as an air elemental finally came in" you make it sound like she knew all along she was an elemental. Trim this down to something like:

"She discovers she's an air elemental when her boyfreind thinks date rape is an appropriate present and she flings him across the room."


With the mysterious Drei’s aid, she learns answers to her questions (such as being an elemental doesn’t make her less human), and some answers she never wanted to know—a mother she never knew about is prisoner to the government for also being an air elemental.

- Gawd, that's a long sentance with a lot of information. Try to break it down a bit.
Like:
"She learns Drei, the school's lone wolf, knows more about her powers than she does."

Abriel tries to forget about it, but that proves impossible when she loses control at school when one of her “friends” turns abusive at a tidbit of gossip.

- this is vauge and I'd cut it. The point is she leaves home with Drei and gets to the camp.

She wouldn’t mind it so much if she didn’t feel so lonely.

- Hu? Last two versions she liked being the "mom" figure. I'm still not sure how she's lonely. If she's missing Nick, just tell us that and his relationship to this.

Then Nick stumbles across the camp, - The camp's that easy to find? -



Abriel argues her way to a majority for Nick to stay.
- WHY? She wants a stranger to stay? We need to know the Abriel/Nick connection for this to make sense. AND with names like Abriel and Drei, Nick seems a lot like "John." Boring and a bit out of place.



What Abriel doesn’t know is that Nick is the threat Drei feared he was.
NICE


He’s a bounty hunter, forced by the government to track elementals for experimentation.

HOW is he forced? Someone just killed his family in a fire. What can they use as leverage?

When the truth about both of their unique natures comes out, she has no choice but to tell Drei. But what will she do? After endangering the entire camp, she’s certain she won’t be included in any solution Drei finds, and she’s not quite ready for a reunion with a mother she’s never known.

I'm a bit confused by this. You say she has to tell Drei that Nick's a bounty hunter, but then you say "what should she do?" What's the climax? What's the stakes? Does Drei try to kill Nick and she has to stop him? How does her mother fit in? Wouldn't she have to be rescued? You probably can cut mom from the query since it doesn't seem central to the main conflict. Which is what, exactly?

Keep trying.

Author said...

Revised version:


Dear Evil Editor,

On Abriel Jones’s 17th Birthday, she comes into her powers as an air elemental, a side of her she didn’t know existed. This gift brings more than a threat to the way she lives her life; it also poses a danger from the government: bounty hunters.

By her 18th birthday, Abriel is living at a safe camp—an attempt to forsake her gifts destroying any security her life possessed—where she is the oldest, the only air elemental, and babysitting. Not long after turning 18, though, she’s given Nick, a boy who shouldn’t be at the camp, but is because of her.

Then a month before her 19th birthday, Nick reveals his identity as a bounty hunter, just as Abriel has a break down revealing herself as an elemental. Because Abriel is responsible for Nick, and therefore responsible for endangering the camp, she doubts she’ll be welcome in any plans to relocate.

The question remains, will Abriel’s 19th birthday be spent in captivity or in hiding, where she still has some shred of freedom?

Elemental is a Young Adult novel, complete at 50,000 words. While it can stand alone, it is intended as the first installment of a trilogy.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

_*Rachel*_ said...

Good things: the chronological order makes sense and there is a sense of conflict.

However, I'm iffy about some of your sentence structure.

On Abriel Jones’s 17th Birthday, she comes into her powers as an air elemental, a side of her she didn’t know existed [powers she didn't know existed]. This gift brings more than a threat to the way she lives her life; it also poses a danger from the government: bounty hunters [I don't like those sentences joined that way. Maybe: Even worse, elementals are in constant danger from government bounty hunters. Something like that.].

By her 18th birthday, Abriel is living at a safe camp—an attempt to forsake her gifts destroying any security her life possessed[that phrase made no sense]—where she is the oldest, the only air elemental, and babysitting [Say something like: ...safe camp, trying to ignore her powers so she doesn't get caught and babysitting _____]. Not long after turning 18, though, she’s given [given? I hope you mean given charge over or something like that] Nick, a boy who shouldn’t be at the camp, but is because of her [explain, briefly].

Then a month before her 19th birthday, Nick reveals his identity as a bounty hunter, just as [, just as=when] Abriel has a break down [one word, I think] revealing herself as an elemental [which comes first?]. Because Abriel is responsible for Nick, and therefore responsible for endangering the camp, she doubts she’ll be welcome in any plans to relocate.

The question remains, will Abriel’s 19th birthday be spent in captivity or in hiding, where she still has some shred of freedom?

Elemental is a Young Adult novel, complete at 50,000 words. While it can stand alone, it is intended as the first installment of a trilogy.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

The camp confuses me. Is it for elementals? If so, why doesn't Nick figure it out more quickly? Are they going to fall in love? And why is a young kid like Nick a bounty hunter?

I actually prefer the one you posted right before this. Keep working! Have you tried the QueryShark?

Evil Editor said...

Whoa. Suggesting that someone who has sought query help from Evil Editor go elsewhere is not only bad advice, but grounds for immediate loss of minionhood.

Matthew said...

I liked the new one the best so far. Although it does need some tweaking, I would consider buying it for my nephew based on that query alone.

Speaking from the perspective of a reader, (I am not an editor or anything like that, so I can't correct your letter word for word) it feels to me like your trying to fit too much information into each sentence. Spread it out so that the reader has time to digest what is happening before moving on to the next plot point.

Rachel gave you some sound advice...except for the part about Query Shark.

I have not been a minion for very long, but I've come to learn that there is no better place to prove yourself as a budding writer than here.

It teaches you to laugh at your work, giving you the power to look at it objectively. It also takes courage to submit your work with the knowledge that it will be ridiculed mercilessly, helping you develop the thick skin that every writer needs. And if the monotony of re-writing the same letter over and over again is tiring you out, you can stretch your creative muscles by writing continuations and GTP's.

Though Query Shark does dole out good advice, she takes awhile to get to your letter (Query Shark just cracked one hundred and Evil Editor is at 640--That's not including Cartoon's and New Beginnings).

And if anyone thinks I'm fawning...Slag off. (Evil Editor doesn't buy work from his minions anyway, so what would be the point?)

So keep sending those revisions here, Angel. I think a little tweaking will be all it takes to make your letter sing.

Author said...

Revised Version:



Dear Evil Editor,

On Abriel Jones’s 17th Birthday, she comes into her powers as an air elemental. But this surprise brings more than a threat to her monotonous life; it comes with a danger posed by the government: bounty hunters. People recruited to track elementals and turn them into labs for testing. And one lucky run-in is enough to make Abriel want to forget there’s anything unique about her.

She’s not so lucky. By her 18th birthday, Abriel is living at a safe camp because, months earlier, she lost control of her gifts in public. She’s the oldest and the only air elemental at the camp, and quickly dropped into babysitting. Not long after her 18th birthday, Nick arrives at the camp. He shouldn’t be there because he’s not an elemental. But after swaying opinions in his favor, Abriel is given responsibility for Nick and ensuring their secrets stay safe until his are uncovered.

A month before her 19th birthday, though, Abriel has a breakdown. When her and Nick argue, more than her secret is revealed. Nick is a bounty hunter—the youngest anyone has seen. Because she’s responsible for him, that makes her responsible for endangering the camp. And she’s certain she won’t be included in any moving plans.

The question remains, will Abriel’s 19th birthday be spent in captivity or in hiding, where she still has some shred of freedom?

Elemental is a Young Adult Novel, complete at 50,000 words. While it can stand alone, it is intended as the first installment of a trilogy.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Matthew said...

I like it. I would probably feel comfortable submitting that one.

But, if you don't mind, I took the liberty of editing it...(I know, I know, last time I said I couldn't edit it word for word. But since no one else did, I thought I would give it a shot.)--

Dear Scottie Pippen

Abby Jones discovers her powers as an air elemental--someone who can control tornados and hurricanes--on her seventeenth birthday. But this surprise does more than just interfere with her normal life, it brings with it bounty hunters--Ruthless people recruited to track elementals and turn them into government labs for testing. One unlucky run-in with these savage abductors is enough to make Abby wish that there is nothing unique about her.

Around the time of her eighteenth birthday, Abby loses control of her powers in public. With her secret out, she must go into hiding and is approached by a group of fellow elementals who wish to protect her. Though heartbroken for having to leave her old life behind, she agrees to follow them and is brought to a hidden elemental safe camp.

Since she is the oldest camp attendee, the councilors often have her look after the other elementals, despite the fact that she does not have any more control or understanding of her abilities than the rest of the kids.

Life is hard for Abby and she spends her days dreaming of a normal life...until eighteen year old Nick arrives at camp. He is not an elemental, but he was wounded while hiking and needs help. Abby convinces the councilors to allow him to stay so that she can take care of him and she quickly grows fond of him. They fall in love and he brings her the happiness she thought she had left behind...Too bad Nick is a bounty hunter.

Elemental is a 50,000 word novel for young adults.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


--I don't know that mine is any better but feel free to use it if you like. As I said earlier, I would by your novel already based on the description you have given.

Good luck!

Ruth said...

No no no no no! I mean, not in general. I much prefer your new query letter, Angel - I think it reads heaps better. BUT:

When her and Nick argue, more than her secret is revealed.

She! SHE and Nick! If you don't know that, it worries me about what the grammar in the book will be like! When SHE and Nick argue!

Other than that, to me this is a much better query than your previous ones. I prefer your latest one to the one Matthew just posted, too (sorry M).

I would still make a couple of teensy changes (I suggest you delete the words in bold):

On Abriel Jones’s 17th Birthday, she comes into her powers as an air elemental. But this surprise brings more than a threat to her monotonous life; it comes with a danger posed by the government. Bounty hunters: People recruited to track elementals and turn them into labs for testing. And one lucky run-in is enough to make Abriel want to forget there’s anything unique about her.

She’s not so lucky. By her 18th birthday....


You could leave in "She's not so lucky", although I prefer it a little more without that.

Also:

A month before her 19th birthday, though, Abriel has a breakdown....

Though is often an unnecessary word. Like "just" or "but" or "really". Often, you can take them out, and it doesn't change anything - just makes the writing that bit tighter. And:

The question remains, Will Abriel’s 19th birthday be spent in captivity or in hiding, where she still has some shred of freedom?

Obviously the question remains. And it's in question format, we don't need to be told it's a question. Just ask it, plain and simple.

I'm not sure about the last paragraph - I share Nathan Bransford's aversion to rhetorical questions, but that's a personal taste thing. I would phrase it like: "Now Abriel must decide..." but that's your call.

In fact, I think your query's got to the stage where it's good enough that people like me and Matthew will just start picking at it, but everyone's opinions will be slightly different just due to personal taste. This query's much better than previous incarnations - well done!

It's up to you whether you decide to make the suggested changes or not - the changes may not alter the query that much.

The only thing you MUST change is her --> she.

NOW.

:)

_*Rachel*_ said...

Go with Ruth's edits. I like this one.

Matthew said...

Yeah, if you go with Ruth's edits yours will be much better than mine.

nn Angel said...

Ruth: Thanks for catching that. I do know that rule and I guess my mind was elsewhere when I was reading through it. And I'll take the suggested cuts.

Matthew: Thank you for your help and the compliment. :)

Rachel: Thank you. And to your earlier comment, I had submitted this to Query Shark, though it was an older version than even what the first one here was. And as Matthew said, she does take a while to get to things. And when I found out about Evil Editor, I figured why not. And so far it's really helped me.

To everyone who has commented on any revisions to this point: Thank you. This has been a learning experience and I'm extremely grateful for all the help and advice.

Ruth said...

Angel: Hehe, sorry - I may have been a little over-vehement before. :) Fair enough about not catching it - I frequently make basic grammatical errors that I only realise after I've handed in the essay/sent the article to my editor/printed and stapled fifteen copies of a twenty-page document. *sighs*