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Query - The Outlands
TerminalVerbosity
Posted: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 10:09 AM
Joined: 11/11/2013
Posts: 43


 

 

When a lightning strike destroys the wind turbine that provides crucial power to his village’s well pumps, twelve-year-old Elias Barros volunteers to journey south to find help. His only guide as he traverses the deserted landscape of southern Spain is a mysterious voice he heard on the short-wave radio. Will Elias find the answers he seeks on the mysterious island of Gib?

 

Elias inhabits a world decimated by disease, vulnerable to unstable weather, and lacking in the comforts technology, petrol, and civilization used to provide. His village, Graz, hidden in the desolate landscape of Andalusia, Spain, should have evacuated with its neighbors a decade ago, when rising seas and fear of infection left everyone scrambling north to safety. For a boy with tinker tendencies and a thirst for adventure, Graz is a prison he’s willing to escape, even if he must risk his life in the process. 

 

At 59,250 words, THE OUTLANDS is a complete middle-grade children’s novel about a young boy willing to risk his life to get answers.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

--edited by TerminalVerbosity on 1/16/2014, 3:32 AM--


Ian Nathaniel Cohen
Posted: Thursday, January 16, 2014 11:52 AM

Excellent second draft (much improved from the original version I didn't have the chance to comment on after reading it) - you've got my attention.  The flow from the first paragraph to the second could use some work - they're good on their own, but they feel disconnected from each other for some reason.

 

(Also, and this is kinda nitpicky, but I'm told it's not a good idea to put questions in your query.)


Julie Artz
Posted: Thursday, January 16, 2014 1:13 PM
Joined: 11/11/2013
Posts: 43


I spent the whole day on Query Shark and couldn't resist slipping a revision in there--I'm very happy to know you think it's improved. 

Is it just me, or is writing a query harder than writing any single part of the novel we're trying to pitch? Wow, I have never spent so much time on 200 words in my life and I still feel like I have a ways to go before I submit this one to any agents. 

Thank you for your thoughts--I completely agree that the question should go and that the flow is off. I'll post a new one here as soon as I have it ready...

Julie


Ian Nathaniel Cohen
Posted: Thursday, January 16, 2014 1:54 PM
It's not just you.
Jay Greenstein
Posted: Thursday, January 16, 2014 11:09 PM
TerminalVerbosity wrote:

(delete in blue, additions and comments in red.

 

When a lightning strike destroys the wind turbine that provides crucial power to his village’s well pumps, twelve-year-old Elias Barros volunteers to journey south to find help. His only guide as he traverses the deserted landscape of southern Spain is a mysterious voice he heard on the short-wave radio. Will Elias find the answers he seeks on the mysterious island of Gib? Never either ask the reader to answer a rhetorical question or try to tease them with an implied "to find out read my story!" The reader is backstage and has to know everything that matters. 

 

Elias inhabits a world decimated by disease, vulnerable to unstable weather, and lacking in the comforts technology, petrol, and civilization used to provide. His village, Graz, hidden in the desolate landscape of Andalusia, Spain, should have evacuated with its neighbors a decade ago, when rising seas and fear of infection left everyone scrambling north to safety. For a boy with tinker tendencies and a thirst for adventure, Graz is a prison he’s willing to escape, even if he must risk his life in the process. This doesn't track. Here he's desperate to leave. Above he was altruistically seeking help for the village he now sees as a prison.

--edited by Jay Greenstein on 1/16/2014, 11:10 PM--


Julie Artz
Posted: Saturday, January 18, 2014 4:36 AM
Joined: 11/11/2013
Posts: 43


Thanks for the feedback, folks! I really appreciate it.

Between your comments and Query Shark, I went in a very different direction and feel like it made the pacing snappier and more appealing:

Elias Barros is trapped in the Outlands, the ruins of what was once Andalusia, Spain. Trapped by chance. Trapped by tradition. Trapped by a village full of elders who expect him to apprentice as a healer and forget about his other dreams. But he can’t forget. Not about his mother, forced to evacuate with most of the rest of his village ten years ago by fear of disease and economic collapse. Not about his desire to explore, invent, and create a life better than the one his remaining family ekes from a desolate landscape. 

 

So when a lightning strike destroys the wind turbine that provides crucial power to his village’s well pumps, he is the first to volunteer to go in search of help. With a mysterious voice coming from his short-wave radio as his only guide, Elias finds possibilities he never would have imagined when he reaches the mysterious island of Gib.

 

At 59,250 words, THE OUTLANDS is a complete middle-grade children’s novel about a young boy willing to risk his life to know the truth.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

I think I'm going to submit it to Query Shark and see if she'll tear it up for me! 


Ian Nathaniel Cohen
Posted: Saturday, January 18, 2014 11:04 AM
MUCH better.  I do, however, advise against repeatedly using those short sentences opening with both "trapped by" and "not about."  Use one or the other, but using both is overdoing it.

 

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