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Covers, Blurbs, 1st Line, Query > Please Help with my YA Fantasy Query

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message 1: by Ashley (new)

Ashley | 23 comments Here is what I have:

I am seeking representation for my 70,000 word YA Fantasy novel THE TEARS IN THE UNIVERSE.

Every time Zoe and her class go to the council, they pass a line of guards flanking an invisible line. That line, she soon learns, is a tear in their universe.

Long ago, a chosen one sewed tears like that closed. But their community hasn't produced a chosen one in over a hundred years.

Zoe impulsively steals the artifact needle used to close previous tears. She's not a chosen one, just a girl desperate for an adventure before the last person in her class turns seventeen and she's assigned to a job she hates. There's only one job she wants, and she has never heard of a girl becoming a guard.

With the tear guarded round-the-clock, Zoe struggles to find a way to try the needle without getting caught. Zoe finds unexpected help in the form of Hale, a notoriously unreliable elected. She puts her trust in him when he offers her a way to get close to the tear: by crossing through it.

THE TEARS IN THE UNIVERSE is like a third-person VAMPIRE ACADEMY with a lesbian Rose mixed with MOANA's subversion of the 'chosen one' troupe.

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Is it too wordy? Does it make sense or are parts confusing? Is it interesting enough (like do I focus on the right details if that makes sense??)?


message 2: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments It's a little 'long' in that the supposed sweet spot is 100-150 words and you have 164.

I kept seeing tears as that-which-drips-from-eyes vs a rip-in-something. Not sure it's worth changing, but just something to tuck in the back of your mind.

I don't get the significance of "before the last person in her class turns seventeen." If you mean, when she 'grows up' it might be easier to simply say that.

Since it appears that Hale is important to the story, you might want to explain a bit more than he's notoriously unreliable.

I never heard of your comps, but I assume any agent/publisher you approach would be familiar. Am I right in assuming 'lesbian Rose' is to reflect that Zoe is gay? If that's important to the story, you might want to mention it in the blurb. If it's not (important to the story), then I'm not sure the comparison is valid.

After reading it a couple of times, perhaps because of something in your comparables, I get the impression there's supposed to be a comedic element. If that's your intent, I suggest bringing it out more. If not, then it's probably something messed up in my head and safe to ignore.

My general impression of your blurb is I don't get it. Maybe that's because I'm not your target audience or it may be because you're too close and have left out some key elements.

If you like, PM me and I can send you a link to a blog post with thoughts for producing a blurb.

Good luck!


message 3: by Ashley (new)

Ashley | 23 comments The “before the last person turns seventeen” is Bc specifically that day they go to a ceremony then do interviews and are assigned jobs. But I figured that was too much to explain in the query.

Yeah it has humorous elements so Idk how but I’ve got to make that more obvious.

She is gay and gets a love interest but it’s definitely not the main plot of the story so I wasn’t sure how to include that information.
I guess I’ve got a lot of work to do! Thanks for your comments.


message 4: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments When the last person in their group/class? If so, perhaps all that's needed is to say 'before the last person in their class turns 17.'

Maybe you can handle several things (gay, humor, Hale) by saying something along the lines of "Hale really had his eye on Zoe. However, he was immune from her protestations of lesbianism, figuring she just needed the right man." Maybe, for humor, add something like "Zoe was always interested in sewing and felt repairing the universe a much better use of her time than fixing jeans."


message 5: by Ashley (new)

Ashley | 23 comments Does this one work better? It’s a little longer but maybe it explains the world better?

When the sun sets, we set. When the sun rises, we rise.

Zoe has spent her entire life in a utopian community. Raised by instructors since birth with seventeen other classmates her age, Zoe knows nothing beyond the single-story, no-window buildings and an endless grassy field used to travel between each.

In a few short months, everyone in her class will be assigned to one of six jobs to keep their utopia running smoothly.
There’s only one job Zoe wants, and with limited spots available she doubts she’ll get it.

Feeling caged in and angry about her future, Zoe impulsively steals an artifact needle once used to sew closed tears in the universe. More tears have appeared in recent years, but no one will use the needle, claiming only a chosen one can use it.

Undeterred, Zoe resolves to sew the tears closed herself, for the good of her community, and to satisfy her own selfish need for adventure. She finds unexpected help in Hale, a notoriously unreliable guy in the class above hers. He offers her a way to get close to a tear: by passing through it.


message 6: by Ashley (new)

Ashley | 23 comments The problem is she kind of hates sewing. She only steals it and wants to sew as like an F U to the universe.
And Hale...I guess I could add a sentence like that but he doesn’t really pursue her. So Idk if that would be misleading to say.


message 7: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments I think it provides a lot of useful information. I don't see the humor aspect, though, so don't think it works as-is.

I PMed you a link to my blog regarding ideas for blurbs, hopefully it will help.


message 8: by Tash (new)

Tash (nlwelch) | 4 comments I have one question. If Zoe is graduating soon, how is there a class above hers?

I think you should keep the fact that a girl can't be a guard not that there's limited jobs as it adds to the frustration and unfairness Zoe may feel.

Like Keith i kept reading it as tears - eye drops - maybe it could be worth finding a name for it and explain it as tears in the universe, if that makes sense.

Just to throw a spanner in, if Zoe is a lesbian would it work better if the partner that teams up with her is a girl and you could show how it blossoms from there. Of course you may have everything planned i'm just brainstorming a little.

It sounds like an interesting book. Good luck.


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