Friday, October 02, 2015

Feedback Request


The author of the query featured most recently here has submitted the revision below, and awaits your response.


Although sixteen-year-old Theia Bryar believes she is being abducted, she is actually being taken home. On an island inhabited by the Naturae, people who can control earth, air, fire or water, Theia learns why the sun has always shone when she’s happy, while thunder answers her cries of anger. She is the daughter of Mother Nature, and controls [has power?] over all four elements. 

With humans ravaging the Earth, the Naturae have been drained of their health and their powers [devitalized? weakened?]. But Theia remains strong, her father’s human blood keeping the illness that grips the pure Naturae at bay. She is the only one who can stop the devastation, and has been brought back to the island to do just that. Immersed in a new world, Theia is thrilled at the chance to get to know her birth mother, develop friendships and explore a budding romance. And learning to harness the elements proves to be easy for her, from controlling the tides to conducting lightening [lightning]. [Is that conducting like conducting an orchestra or like conducting it to a specific place? Or is there a better word?]

But soon Theia discovers that life on the island is not as perfect as it seems. Not all of her friends can be trusted, the romance she longs for is forbidden, and she misses the father and half-sister she left behind. And then Theia stumbles onto a terrible secret. Mother Nature doesn’t just want to heal the Earth- she wants to eliminate the threat of humanity completely. And she intends to steal Theia’s powers to put her plan into action. Now Theia must figure out how to unite the Earth and it’s [its] people before she finds the blood of all humanity on her hands. [Not clear how "uniting the Earth and its people" prevents Mother Nature from killing us. A few tsunamis and earthquakes, and we'll all be running around like headless chickens.]

EARTH EYES is a paranormal YA novel, which puts a dark twist on the usual perceptions of Mother Nature. It is a standalone novel with series potential complete at 52,000 words.


[This seems to me to be in pretty good shape.]

12 comments:

InkAndPixelClub said...

A few additional little things you could tweak:

I'd split the second sentence of paragraph one into two and make the first of them connect with the idea that this is Theia's home. Something like "Though she never knew it before, she was born on and island inhabited by the Naturae, people who can control earth, air, fire, or water. There, Theia learns why..."

"Ravaging the earth" isn't bad, but something more specific could work better.

Theia was brought to the island to stop the devastation. Presumably that involves using her powers. She's getting easy As in all of her elemental control tests. So why isn't she stopping the devastation yet? If there are other things she has to do before she's ready to stop the devastation that would allow her some free time to make friends and start crushing on a guy, that should be in the query.

I think you've got the space to tell us a little about the object of Theia's affections. Just a few adjectives about the guy would give us some insight into what he's like and what Theia values in a potential partner (aside from hawtness. It's YA; that's a given.) You could also briefly explain who's forbidding the romance and why.

What has to happen before Mother Nature can steal Theia's powers? I assume something is keeping her from doing it right away.

I don't know what "uniting the Earth and its people" means. Is Theia going to forge an alliance between humans and the Naturae to fight Mother Nature? Broker a treaty between the two sides? Do something with her magic elemental powers? You need to be specific about what options Theia has for stopping her mom, why they might work and why they might not.

This might seem like a lot, but it's mostly easy fixes that shouldn't add more than a few sentences total.

PLaF said...

You’ve done a good job outlining the problem and setting up the stakes, however, I have a little trouble with “stop the devastation,” “unite the Earth and its people” and it being easy for Theia to harness the elements.
You’ve already said humans were “ravaging the Earth.” I want to know something a little more specific than “devastation,” i.e. put an end to the poisoning of the Earth.
As for uniting the Earth and its people, I also want something a little more specific. Does she need them to come together for one mighty event or change their evil ways?
I also want her to struggle a little with handling the elements. The ability may be natural, but honing them should take practice, otherwise, I fear the story may lack the conflict needed to drive it forward.

Anonymous said...

Love the new title, still don't like the character being called 'Mother Nature.'

Content-wise, I think you're great. I'd suggest leaving off the last sentence or replacing it with something more specific.

I'd suggest tweaking the sentence structure a bit. If I counted right, only three sentences start with nouns/pronouns, five start with conjunctions. Direct noun-verb-object sentences are a bit faster/easier to read through for someone who's probably busy and distracted.

The first paragraph would change to something like:
Sixteen-year-old Theia Bryar believes she is being abducted. She is actually being taken home to an island inhabited by the Naturae, people who can control earth, air, fire or water. Theia learns why the sun has always shone when she’s happy, while thunder answers her cries of anger: She is the daughter of Mother Nature, and can control all four elements.

Maybe re-phrase a bit and do something similar for your other paragraphs. Good Luck querying. Let us know if you get any bites. ^.^b

Author said...

Thank you all! I will try to intigrate as much of your comments as possible. Does everyone think that I can just cut off the last sentence, so that it ends at "And she intends to steal Theia’s powers to put her plan into action." ?

Evil Editor said...

That's a better ending. Or perhaps:
Mother Nature doesn’t just want to heal the Earth- she wants to eliminate humanity completely. And to do so, she'll need to steal Theia's powers.

Author said...

Thanks EE, I think I will do something more like that for the end. Thank you all again so much for your help. Keep the advice/comments coming if you have any. I think I could tweak and adjust this thing for ever. I guess at some point I will just have to send it out and see what happens. I wonder if it's possible for a query letter to ever be truly PERFECT.

Anonymous said...

As long as you're addressing the irony, I can easily go along with Mother Nature being named Mother Nature -- and I'm the first minion to have suggested changing her name to Lilith or whatever it was I said.

I also like this version much better, and I second the suggestion that you add a line about Theia's love interest. I'm curious, does he play some eleventh-hour role in the battle for earth -- for better or worse? Theia does undergo growth and change when she realizes the island isn't heaven and humans aren't all bad. Does this help her see the boy for what he really is? Does that enable her to identify him as an ally or enemy at an important juncture in her effort to unite earth and its people?

Author said...

Some suggested reorganizing the beginning, is this better?

Although sixteen-year old Theia Bryar believes she is being abducted, she is actually being taken home. Unbeknownst to her, Theia was born on an island inhabited by Naturae, people who can control earth, air, fire or water. Upon her return, Theia learns why the sun has always shone when she’s happy, while thunder answers her cries of anger. She is the daughter of Mother Nature, and has power over all four elements.

Author said...

Or this version?

Although sixteen-year old Theia Bryar believes she is being abducted, she is actually being taken home. Brought to a remote island inhabited by the Naturae, Theia discovers that she was born among people who can control earth, air, fire or water. There, she learns why the sun has always shone when she’s happy, while thunder answers her cries of anger. She is the daughter of Mother Nature, and has power over all four elements.

Minion 621 said...

Being abducted and being taken home aren't mutually exclusive. I'd probably write something like "Theia's always been attuned to nature. Turns out it might be more accurate to say nature has always been attuned to her. Apparently her birth mom is literally Mother Nature."

But better than that, of course. :)

Evil Editor said...

Those aren't so different that it matters. I'd like to see one or two of the first three sentences begin with a subject rather than a clause + comma. Or all three:

Sixteen-year-old Theia Bryar thinks she's been kidnapped. She's right, but her abductors are actually taking her home. Theia was born on an island inhabited by Naturae, people who . . . .



SB said...

I agree with EE's comments on this query, but otherwise I think it's quite good. It certainly makes me interested in reading the book, so I guess I'd say it works for me.