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Writing Advice & Discussion > Grammar help!

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message 1: by Molly (last edited Jul 30, 2016 04:31PM) (new)

Molly Mulligan Can anyone take a quick look at my query letter just to make sure there are no grammar mistakes I've overlooked? Its only 275 words. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!


message 2: by Annette (new)

Annette Abernathy | 158 comments Since you're reading my book I can look at your letter. Just send it to me.


message 3: by Martin (new)

Martin Rinehart Post it here, Molly. You've got 12k characters. Just make sure you're unambiguous about your genre in the post title so we know whether to skip over it.


message 4: by Molly (new)

Molly Mulligan Thanks Martin! I've pasted what I've got so far. This is my first time writing a query letter so any advice is much appreciated.



I'm seeking representation for WENDY, an 85,000 word magical realism young adult novel and re-imagining of the classic Peter Pan story. I'm submitting to you because I noted that you were seeking magical realism and stories featuring unique female protagonists, and hoped that WENDY might be of interest to you.

Twenty-two-year-old Wendy has recently graduated from college with a bachelor's degree in biology. Her life has always been explainable by science.....Until now.

While traveling through New Zealand to heal from the untimely death of her parents and seek adventure, Wendy's logical world is turned upside down when she finds herself transported to an alternate universe.

Trapped in Neverland, the vast sea in an archaic world full of pirates and mermaids, Wendy must grapple to come to terms with the inexplicable while turning the tables on a devious plan set out by Captain Hook. She teams up with Peter, a roguish young sailor, to outwit Hook at his own scheme and find the means to return to the world that's familiar to her. Faced with countless obstacles in her quest to find her way home, Wendy doesn't foresee what will eventually become the greatest challenge of all. How will she bring herself to leave her life of adventure with Peter behind?

WENDY is set in a re-envisioned Neverland, inspired by my current life in the magical South Pacific archipelago of French Polynesia where I reside on my sailboat.

Wendy is the first of a planned series.


message 5: by Martin (new)

Martin Rinehart Warning: this post from an old dude who is sometimes grouchy.

I always try deleting words. Let's start at the end of the first sentence. "and re-imagining of the classic Peter Pan story."

Need that and? "re-imagining of the classic Peter Pan story."

Need of? "re-imagining the classic Peter Pan story."

Need to tell me it's classic? "re-imagining the Peter Pan story."

Come to think of it, the ... story might not tell me much I don't know. "re-imagining Peter Pan."

Got it?

Sorry. People who live on sailboats in French Polynesia make me insanely jealous.


message 6: by Pam (last edited Jul 31, 2016 11:33AM) (new)

Pam Baddeley | 14 comments I think it should be 'to' seek adventure

Is Neverland the world or just the sea within it - reads as if it's the sea. Also, repetition of some words such as world, and also in this case to mean different ones, ours and theirs.

"grapple to come to terms" sounds clunky. either she struggles to come to terms with the inexplicable or she grapples with the inexplicable and leave the terms out of it. Always check the meanings of words in a good dictionary as you quite often find by using the word with the exact nuance of meaning you can say things more succinctly and also elegantly/with fewer words.

'turning the tables' might be a bit too much of a cliche.
does Capt Hook literally set out the plan - I mean, he sends them a letter telling them exactly what he's going to do? Doesn't sound likely. so maybe something along the lines of 'while trying to thwart the devious plans of Capt Hook' - a bit feeble, but just trying to give an idea. If the plans are devious, they won't be straightforward by definition.

'the world that's familiar to her' seems a clunky way of saying 'her own world' or whatever, or say 'to return home' and reword the next bit more succinctly. Stop that bit at 'quest' - you don't need the whole return home bit. So it would read "find the means to return home. Faced with countless obstacles in her quest, Wendy doesn't foresee what will become the greatest challenge of all."

I would drop eventually (as in my recap above)

Also I don't like that sentence ending 'behind' - it should be 'leave behind her life' etc. Putting behind on the end isn't grammatical though I'm not technical enough to tell you the term for it, but what I do know is it sounds like it's Peter's behind if you get my meaning.

I don't think you need the whole bit about re-envisioning in the early part if you are repeating it as the last but one para. And I would just say 'It is part...' and put that on the end of that last but one para. Not one para on its own at the end.

Hope that's OK, not too nit picky.


message 7: by Molly (new)

Molly Mulligan Martin and Pam, thank you so much! Some great suggestions here


message 8: by Lise8 (new)

Lise8 | 29 comments 'to leave something behind' is, I believe, a split adverbial.
It works for me the way it was a it is very speech like, and this work is aimed at young adults, which genre is generally very speech like.

I agree with all other recommendations made by Pam and Martin, less wordiness is very often better.

Lise


message 9: by Martin (new)

Martin Rinehart A split adverbial, Lise8? What is this? And is it a good or bad thing? Thx.


message 10: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tsipouras | 103 comments It's not a split adverbial but a stranded prepositon. And it isn't incorrect.
Look here:
http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/20...
or here:
http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/educ...


message 11: by Lise8 (new)

Lise8 | 29 comments Indeed! I stand corrected! should not try my hand at grammar late it would seem. Since when is 'behind' an adverb? I chide myself ;-)

And I agree still that it is indeed not incorrect.

oh, and a 'real' split adverbial is, I believe and wait to be corrected here, when the adverb is separated from its verb. Actually it is called a misplaced adverb, so I self-correct here, I just muddled split infinitive and misplaced adverbs together... maybe I should never make any grammatical comments in the future ;-)

she crawled on the ground slowly.
Which strictly speaking should be
'she crawled slowly on the ground.'

but this is what I love about grammar, authors can bend the rules as they wish, it is their writing, it is just sometimes interesting to know the rules and why we bend them for effect.
(here of course 'slowly' is rather redundant as crawl gives the idea of slowness anyways, but that's another discussion altogether)

right, this is probably as clear as mud, I shall check my facts in the future before going on my grammar high horse!


message 12: by Martin (new)

Martin Rinehart One trouble with grammar, Lise8, is that it is so seldom incorrect. As Churchill said, "This is the sort of nonsense (or 'bloody nonsense' or 'arrant pedantry'?) up with which I will not put."


message 13: by Lise8 (new)

Lise8 | 29 comments like that quote, Martin!


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