Sunday, September 9, 2012

GUTGAA: My Query and #Writemotivation

Go HERE for #writemotivation check up!

I know some of you have probably already read through my query and maybe even the first page or so of my manuscript. I have edited and changed a few things. I'm not for sure if you will noticed the difference just by the first 150 words, but then again, you never know.

So please let me know your thoughts. I would appreciate ANY advice:) And the title is not 100% set in stone. If you have a suggestion, I am open to your opinions!




QUERY

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River Morgan received an extraordinary gift for her sixteenth birthday. Her grandfather gave her a Memory Book and taught her how to erase memories from those tormented by the past. To keep the memories from becoming her own she must write them in the Memory Book. When the Book is stolen and her Grandfather disappears, River is no longer able to tell the difference between her memories and those she's wiped away. Unless she finds the Book, her memories will collide with those she's written down and her identity will be lost forever.

The Book steals memories when placed in the wrong hands. Shae Conniers thought she had swiped a cool looking journal but instead she got nothing but trouble. The powers of the Book intrigue Shae. But when the memories swirling in her head turn sinister, she's glad they lead back to River so she can rid herself of the nightmares. Their personalities clash. Big time. But they must unite to fight the book. And solve the biggest problem. Why haven't River’s memories returned?

Underground forces claim they have the answer River needs to unlock the Book and regain her memories. But when they learn Shae is the daughter of the missing Queen Rose, the underground realm promises to help River only in exchange of little Miss Princess. Now it’s up to River to protect the Princess while finding her own memories. If it’s not too late.

Memories of Me is a YA Historical Fantasy mash-up of Sleeping Beauty and The Shadowy One, a Celtic myth, and is complete at 70,000 words. 


First 150 Words:

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River tore a piece of material from the hem of her petticoat and wrapped it around her hand, clenching the cloth between her teeth. The white linen turned red before she finished tying the knot. Her stomach tightened and for a moment she thought she would be sick. Taking in a long breath calmed her enough to stop the shakes in her hands. An image laced in pink swirled through her mind, yet River didn’t recognize it.
            I have to get away. How did they find me?  Oh God! What am I going to do? Where can I go?
            Staggering to her feet, River leaned against the side of the wagon. She strained her ears for any noise, any movement. Nothing. She had to hurry, before they came back for her. No time to think, no time to waste. They would return once they knew their assassin had failed. She stared past the dried up, yellowing plants of the garden towards her house.

25 comments:

  1. I don't feel like I'm very qualified to critique queries yet, as I've procrastinated writing my own, but here goes...

    Firstly, grammar:

    "Why hasn't River’s memories returned?"

    This should be "why HAVEN'T River's memories returned?" Don't want anyone to reject you over something simple.

    In regards to content, I think you ought to devote another line or two to the Memory Book. It erases memories? And they're not her memories, but will become so if she doesn't write them down? So whose memories are they? Why would anyone do this? What's the line between "erasing" and "stealing" in the wrong hands? This is all rather mysterious, and there's no clue for the reader of this query to know whether you've simply summarized too much, or if this fantastical element is poorly constructed--I don't expect that's the case at all, but you wouldn't want an agent to think that, do you?

    Lastly, I would suggest you set the scene of your world earlier in your query. There's nothing in the first two paragraphs to indicate that this isn't some sort of contemporary fantasy--today's world, just with this magic book involved. Then we're suddenly hit with royalty and a mysterious underground realm, and I don't know where I am or what I'm supposed to be imagining.

    I hope some of this helps. Thanks for stopping by my blog for the Meet and Greet. Good luck with the rest of GUTGAA!

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  2. Oh, you changed it to Memories of Me. I like. ^_^ And I can see the improvements. Much better show of conflict.
    I'm still intrigued how it's a "mash-up of Sleeping Beauty and The Shadowy One" as I didn't get an impression of either story from the query.

    And may I say I can see some improvements in the beginning 150 words too. ^_^
    There's one piece though, a typo: Her stomach ktightened ...

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  3. I think I missed it the first time. You start off with a bang!

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  4. This sounds so intriguing! Your first 150 definitely drew me in.

    Also, I've tagged you in the Next Big Thing Award here: http://thetypewritersjourney.blogspot.com/

    Best of luck and nice meeting you!

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  5. An intriguing premise. I'd read it.

    I gave you a Shout-Out on my blog today. :)

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  6. I LOVE this concept! I think the first two sentences could be combined into one and pack more punch. Best wishes in all things!

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  7. I loved the concept. But much like Eileen, I don't feel qualified to give advice in this matter yet, as you could probably tell from my not so stellar first query. Thanks for the input, by the way. I really appreciate the time you took to write your opinion on it.

    I don't know what The Shadowy One is, but Sleeping Beauty is like, my favorite fairy tale of all times. How is your story like it? Does it have something to do with Shae? And what kind of trouble4 did she get into because of the book?

    Is the story told from both girls' perspective? It was a bit unclear to me. And I have this same thing questioned at my own pitch. It's like they're missing query-twins or something (only yours is better written;D)

    Also, what underground forces? And how do they learn that Shae is the missing Queen's daughter? Is that something you should mention at the query to make it clearer?

    Well, I would totally read it. It's a very original concept. Best of luck ;)

    XOXO,

    Johana

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  8. I'm splitting this into two comments because I talked a lot. Sorry. haha

    River Morgan received an extraordinary gift for her sixteenth birthday. Her grandfather gave her a Memory Book and taught her how to erase memories. To keep the memories from becoming her own she must write them in the Memory Book.

    This sounds like a cool concept, but I'm also confused by it. I assume she's erasing other people's memories, or else how could they become her own? But why would she want to erase other people's memories? Isn't that kind of a crappy thing to do that might screw someone up? Or do people want her to erase their memories by putting them in this book. I think you need to address some of these points to make what's happening a little clearer.


    When the Book is stolen and her Grandfather disappears, River is no longer able to tell the difference between her memories and those she's wiped away. Another confusing sentence because, if they are wiped away, how is she still remembering them?

    Maybe just: River is no longer able to tell the difference between her memories and the ones she's taken from other people.

    Unless she finds the Memory Book, her identity will be lost forever.

    The Book steals memories when placed in the wrong hands. Shae Conniers thought she had swiped a cool looking journal but instead she got nothing but trouble. The powers of the Book intrigue Shae. But when the memories swirling in her head turn sinister, she's glad they lead back to River so she can rid herself of the nightmares. Their personalities clash. Big time. But they must unite to fight the book. And solve the biggest problem. Why haven't River’s memories returned?

    I've heard that it's important to keep the query in one voice. You only have 250-300 words to get an agent interested in one character, so if you're trying to get them invested in two different people, you're making your job twice as hard. I'd keep this whole thing in River's perspective. IE:

    River's book gets stolen. She finds out mean girl Shae has it. Shae somehow realizes the power of the book. When Shae begins having nightmares, River gets her to return the book, but River's memories still don't come back.

    I also didn't understand in this part why they had to unite. What does Shae get out of helping River get her memories back? I'd touch on that in this paragraph as well.

    Underground forces This is kind of vague. I'd put exactly who these forces are.

    claim they have the answer River needs to unlock the Book and regain her memories. But when they learn Shae is the daughter of the missing Queen Rose, the underground realm promises to help River only in exchange of

    that feels like it should be: only if she exchanges little Miss Princess. Now it’s up to River to protect the Princess while finding her own memories. If it’s not too late.

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  9. I want to know more about who is in the underground realm and how their princess ended up in River's world. I also want to know if River ends up liking Shae, otherwise I'm not certain why she doesn't just let Shae go be a princess. It doesn't seem like a bad life for Shae--it's not like they're threatening to kill her. They just want their princess back. Does Shae not want to be a princess? Does she have to stay underground or something if she is? I think it's important to address those questions in the query.

    Sorry. I know that's a lot to take in, but I'm just trying to help. Right now, you have a really cool sounding concept, but it's getting a little muddled up.

    I really liked the first 150. The only thing I would take out of there is:

    She had to hurry, before they came back for her. No time to think, no time to waste. I'd change that to. I'd lose the first line, since the second just restates it. I'd just start out with: She had no time to think, no time to waste. They'd come back etc...

    Anyway, hope this helped. Queries are such a pain, aren't they? It took me about a billion tries to get one I really like. You have a great beginning to the book though and I think it's an awesome idea. I love fairy-tale retellings. Good luck with GUGTGAA!!

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  10. That sounds fascinating and very original.

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  11. River Morgan received an extraordinary gift for her sixteenth birthday. Her grandfather gave her a Memory Book and taught her how to erase memories. To keep the memories from becoming her own she must write them in the Memory Book. When the Book is stolen and her Grandfather disappears, River is no longer able to tell the difference between her memories and those she's wiped away. Unless she finds the Memory Book, her identity will be lost forever.

    I'M CONFUSED BY THIS FIRST PARAGRAPH. WHOSE MEMORIES IS SHE ERASING? HER OWN? IF HER OWN MEMORIES HAVE ALREADY BEEN ERASED, HOW DOES SHE EVEN KNOW THER EXIST WHEN THE BOOK IS STOLEN? AND AREN'T THEY ALREADY HER MEMORIES? HOW WOULD THE LOSS OF THESE MEMORIES CAUSE HER TO LOSE HER IDENTITY? IF THEY'RE THAT IMPORTANT, WHY DID SHE ERASE THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE?

    The Book steals memories when placed in the wrong hands. Shae Conniers thought she had swiped a cool looking journal but instead she got nothing but trouble. The powers of the Book intrigue Shae. But when the memories swirling in her head turn sinister, she's glad they lead back to River so she can rid herself of the nightmares. Their personalities clash. Big time. But they must unite to fight the book. And solve the biggest problem. Why haven't River’s memories returned?

    SO DID SHAE HAVE MEMORIES THAT WEREN'T HER OWN AFTER STEALING THE BOOK? STILL CONFUSED.

    Underground forces claim they have the answer River needs to unlock the Book and regain her memories. But when they learn Shae is the daughter of the missing Queen Rose, the underground realm promises to help River only in exchange of little Miss Princess. Now it’s up to River to protect the Princess while finding her own memories. If it’s not too late.

    WHAT ARE UNDERGROUND FORCES IN THIS WORLD? CRIMINALS? REVOLUTIONARIES? FREEDOM FIGHTERS? I THINK YOU COULD BE MORE CLEAR ABOUT THE ANTAGONIST(S).

    Memories of Me is a YA mash-up of Sleeping Beauty and The Shadowy One, a Celtic myth, and is complete at 70,000 words.

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  12. Hi, I'm a fellow GUTGAA bloghopper. I like the query a lot. My only two little crits are that 1) I want to know who the underground forces are, and 2) I think the word 'for' should be used instead of 'of' in the sentence about exchanging Shae with the undergrounds forces (exchange for little Miss Princess). Great concept! Good luck!

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  13. I didn't know that this was set in a fantasy world starting out so you may want to state genre at the beginning or somehow otherwise hint that this is not a fantasy set in modern times.

    Love love love the concept. I'm very interested in fairy tales and I've never heard of The Shadowy One. Love the idea of a book that can steal memories or keep them. An evil photo album.

    I was confused about the sudden royals showing up, but clarifying the genre won't make it seem like as much of a jump. I love that River doesn't know what's real anymore and you also have the other character, Shae, learning about a magical object.

    "...promises to help River in exchange for the princess." I get the resentment you're trying to implant with 'little miss princess' but you could show it by saying they see the world differently or don't get along since they grew up in other circumstances. I'd like to know more about their circumstances, but you have to be careful not to let the query run too much longer.

    There's a lot here, and I don't have any more constructive comments. Hope that was helpful. Good luck!

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  14. Ooh, I really like the 150 words! I would read more.

    The query is a little confusing for me though. I am wondering who's memories she is trying to erase and why.

    I've heard you should pick one point of view for a query and stick with it. It looks like this paragraph could be pulled out and replaced by one sentence.

    "The Book steals memories when placed in the wrong hands. Shae Conniers thought she had swiped a cool looking journal but instead she got nothing but trouble. The powers of the Book intrigue Shae. But when the memories swirling in her head turn sinister, she's glad they lead back to River so she can rid herself of the nightmares. Their personalities clash. Big time. But they must unite to fight the book. And solve the biggest problem. Why haven't River’s memories returned?"

    Could be, "But when the thief, annoying Shae, realizes the book is something more like a curse and tries to return it, River realizes she has a bigger problem." Okay, not that, but something like that.

    I hope this helps. Good luck!

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  15. I did stumble a bit in reading the query, but I was mesmerized by the 150 words!I want to read more right now!

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  16. What a great imagination you have! I haven't seen anything like this. Your first 150 pulls me right in & makes me want to read on. But I wish your query told me more about the underground forces. Good luck with this. I'm pulling for your success.

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  17. I really like it! Can't wait to read the whole book!

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  18. The query's a little confusing. I'm not sure what the full extent of the Memory Book's full powers are, or what limits them. The first 150 is very engaging, though.

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  19. What an awesome concept! I like your pitch and think you got it right but I think you can stop after 'Why haven't River’s memories returned?' Remember that you only want to entice the agent to want to read more. If you decide to keep the last paragraph I didn't liek "Little Miss Princess" it sounds smarmy. Overall great job!

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    Replies
    1. I have some things regarding the 150, email me at kardaen at gmail dot com if you would like to discuss them.

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  20. This is SO much better than the original query. I didn't really understand the first paragraph before, but now I followed it with no problem at all. I think you cleaned this up really nicely.

    The only suggestion I still have is this part:

    But when the memories swirling in her head turn sinister, she's glad they lead back to River so she can rid herself of the nightmares. Their personalities clash. Big time. But they must unite to fight the book. And solve the biggest problem. Why haven't River’s memories returned?

    The two first sentences here felt like they were missing something between them. Maybe just something like the word "But" IE: "But their personalities clash. Big time" Since you use "but" in the next part, you could try changing that to "Still--they need to unite to fight the book. And solve the biggest problem. Why haven't River's memories returned."

    Also, I'd like a little more about why Shae is uniting with River. When she gives the book back, I'm assuming Shae continues having problems with sinister memories and that's why her and River have to unite? Is there any way to get something like that in there? Maybe just: But giving the book back to River doesn't stop the memories that have taken hold of Shae. Even though the girls clash--big time--they realize they must unite to fight the power of the book."

    Or something like that--but a little smoother. haha

    Those were the only two things. Again, I think this is much better than the original and you've done a really good job with it!! :)

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  21. Hi,
    I was hooked while reading the Query. The 150 words left me wanting to know more about River and what happens. Very intriguing story. Good luck!

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  22. Very impressive you stopped by all of the blogs in this blog hop!! I LOVE your first 150 - very intriguing, fast paced, makes me want to read more. No wonder your first rejection letter was such a positive, personal one!! Great voice!

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  23. Awesome job! The query has improved so much. It sounds like a great book. :)

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  24. You ROCK for stopping by all the blogs in the hop... wanted to give you some feedback.
    The last paragraph of the Query got a little confusing to me; just a lot of information and it's getting late in the day, I think. The writing seemed to get 'better and better', with the best part being the last paragraph, and certainly the last sentence. I am eager to see who the assassin is, and I'd like to see the house, too!

    Dr Margaret Aranda, Author
    From Menses to Menopause: A Journey through Time
    http://drmargaretaranda.blogspot.com/2012/09/from-menses-to-menarche-journey-through.html

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