Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Query Blogfest

Today is the Query Blogfest, how very exciting.    So this is my query:

Colin McCaffrey has his life all mapped out. Overachiever extraordinaire, he spends every spare moment training for his Juilliard audition because the last thing he wants is to end up a directionless slacker like his brother, Bryce.  

Bryce has his life mapped out too -- hitch a ride on his little brother’s coattails.  As long as Colin succeeds, there’s no reason for Bryce to face reality.  Responsibility sucks.

When the brothers form a band with their friends, Bryce gets a taste of success, and Colin gets distracted from his practicing. As their popularity grows, Colin’s past comes back to haunt him.  See, Colin and Bryce have a secret pact -- protect those who need protecting, and punish the bullies for their douchey behavior. Now his “victims” want to pound his spinal chord into dust.

Then Colin gets rejected from Julliard, and he’s forced to face something he never thought he’d have to -- deciding what he really wants from life.  His choices are going to college, or taking the band to the next level.  

And for the first time ever, Bryce will have to work to help make his brother’s dream a reality.  Turns out, the music industry is loaded with bullies and Bryce knows just what to do.

Told in alternating points of view between Colin and Bryce, NO SYSTEM AT ALL is a 65,000 word Young Adult contemporary fiction, much like SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD and THE MOCKINGBIRDS.   

I have been teaching middle school English for ten years. I work with teenagers on a daily basis and have a firm understanding of their humor, dramas and fears.

I look forward to hearing from you and thank you for your time,




Thanks for you feedback everyone. 


Be sure to check out the other entries here:




18 comments:

  1. This one sounds so original--I haven't seen anything like it, which has got to be refreshing for the agents. Thanks for sharing :)

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  2. Hi Erinn, hope this is helpful to you:

    I WOULD PUT HIS AGE HERE FOR THE REAL SMILE Colin McCaffrey has his life all mapped out. Overachiever extraordinaire, he spends every spare moment training WHAT DOES HE DO? I WOULD JUST SLIDE IT IN HERE 'PRACTICING HIS CELLO' OR WHATEVER for his Juilliard audition because the last thing he wants is to end up a directionless slacker like his brother, Bryce. EXCELLENT BEGINNING

    Bryce has his life mapped out too -- hitch a ride on his little brother’s coattails. As long as Colin succeeds, there’s no reason for Bryce to face reality. EXTRA SPACE? OR DO YOU ALWAYS DO TWO AFTER THE PERIODS; SORRY? I THINK YOU NEED A SHORT QUIP HERE ABOUT HOW HE FIGURES HE CAN DO THAT, HOWEVER DISTORTED THE THINKING. Responsibility sucks.

    When the brothers form a band with their friends, Bryce gets a taste of success, and Colin gets distracted from his I WOULD PUT 'IMPORTANT' HERE, OR, BETTER YET, A WORD HE WOULD USE practicing. As their popularity 'THE BAND'S POPULARITY,' OR DO YOU MEAN THE TEENS'? grows, Colin’s past comes back to haunt him. See, Colin and Bryce have a secret pact -- protect those who need protecting, and punish the DON'T THINK YOU NEED 'THE' bullies for their douchey behavior. Now his “victims” WHOSE? CONFUSING. IF YOU MEAN THE BULLIES AS VICTIMS, THAT'S TRICKY IN SUCH A SHORT SPACE want to pound his spinal chord into dust WHY JUST COLIN? AND THEY DO WHAT? I WOULD ROUND THIS OUT.

    Then I WOULD SKIP 'THEN' Colin gets rejected from Julliard, and he’s forced to face something he never thought he’d have to -- deciding what he really wants from life. His choices are going to college, or taking the band to the next level THIS IS EXCELLENT, BUT NOW I CAN'T FIGURE WHY THE SECTION ABOUT THE PACTS AND BULLIES IS IN HERE. I AM SURE IT ALL SNOWBALLS IN THE MANUSCRIPT. WOULD LOVE TO PULL IT ALL IN HERE WITH THE CHOICES AND CONSEQUENCES.

    And for the first time ever, Bryce will have to work to help make his brother’s dream a reality. Turns out, the music industry is loaded with bullies and Bryce knows just what to do THIS WILL HELP WITH THE ABOVE PARA INSTEAD, I BELIEVE, ALL TOGETHER.

    Told in alternating points of view between Colin and Bryce, NO SYSTEM AT ALL is a 65,000 word Young Adult contemporary fiction, much like SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD and THE MOCKINGBIRDS.

    I have been teaching middle school English for ten years TERRIFIC!. I work with teenagers on a daily basis and have a firm understanding of their humor, dramas and fears I HAD TO TAKE ALL OF THIS OUT OF MINE TO GET IN MORE STORY IN THE PRESCRIBED WORD COUNT. IN A WAY, WITH THE TELLING OF YOURS, THIS IS BEAUTIFULLY IMPLIED.

    I look forward to hearing from you and thank you for your time,




    Thanks for you feedback everyone.

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  3. I was with you for the first two paras, understood what was going on. Then the thing with the pact came in and I didn't get it. They used to beat up bullies? When? A long time ago? So why do the bullies want revenge now? If Colin was a fighter, why does Bryce need to protect him now? If they punished the bullies some other way, how? A lot of questions that don't really have answers so far, imo. Saying they used to 'punish' bullies is just too vague for me.

    It's an original idea, but that's why i think you need to be clear what's going on. And I didn't find that part all that clear.

    Hope that helps.
    regards
    mood
    Moody Writing

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  4. This is definitely better than the one we did a few weeks ago, its more polished. The third paragraph just doesn't fit with the rest of them. Can it possibly be moved to after they find bullies in the music industry then introduce that they take care of bullies? Its definitely getting better. Good luck!

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  5. I'm hooked until the band. What is colin's past? why are they all the sudden protecting people? What is Bryce's reality.

    Determine whether or not you GET what the novel is about.How is the sentence flow? Transitions?

    If I were an agent I would probably request pages as is, but def would with some tightening and clarification.

    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

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  6. This story sounds really intriguing!

    I think you should clarify a few things: what kind of audition does Colin have a Julliard? I assume it has something to do with music but does he play an instrument? Sing? Also, what does Bryce hope to get out of Colin's success? Does he expect Colin to take care of him if he gets rich one day, or something? I wasn't completely sure what you meant by that.

    I agree with the above commenters that the part about the bullying can be made clearer. Maybe you can hint more at the inciting incident that brought the bullies back into their lives?

    Good luck!! :)

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  7. I don't have anything to critique lol. I was going to say 'what does their past with the bullying have to do with anything' but you tied that back in at the end.

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  8. I think the line about there being bullies in the music industry sounds a little bit sinister, and if that's how the book played out then that's fine, but if not maybe a softer sentence might work better.

    That small point aside, this looks like a book that I would want to read. And there's a dearth of good YA fiction from male POV's. Best of luck :)

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  9. Colin McCaffrey has his life all mapped out. Overachiever extraordinaire, he spends every spare moment training for his Juilliard audition [I'd like to know what he does - dance, art, etc.?]. The last thing he wants is to end up a directionless slacker like his brother, Bryce.

    Bryce has his life mapped out too -- hitch a ride on his little brother’s coattails. As long as Colin succeeds, there’s no reason for Bryce to face reality. Responsibility sucks. [LOVE this.]

    When the brothers form a band with their friends, Bryce gets a taste of success, and Colin gets distracted from his practice. As their popularity grows, Colin’s past comes back to haunt him. See, Colin and Bryce have a secret pact -- protect those who need protecting, and punish the bullies for their douchey behavior. Now his “victims” want to pound his spinal chord into dust. [Why is this only coming back to haunt Colin? Why not Bryce?]

    Then Colin gets rejected from Julliard, and he’s forced to face something he never thought he’d have to -- deciding what he really wants. He must choose between college and taking the band to the next level.

    And for the first time ever, Bryce will have to work to help make his brother’s dream a reality. Turns out, the music industry is loaded with bullies and Bryce knows just what to do.

    Told in alternating points of view between Colin and Bryce, NO SYSTEM AT ALL is a 65,000 word Young Adult contemporary fiction, much like SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD and THE MOCKINGBIRDS.

    I have been teaching middle school English for ten years. I work with teenagers on a daily basis and have a firm understanding of their humor, dramas and fears.

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  10. Oops, let me preface my comment by saying, I think this query is very effective, just needs a bit of tightening. I edited some, and also put a few comments in brackets. Thanks for hosting this, Erinn!

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  11. Or rather, I MEANT to preface my comment with that paragraph. Grrr.

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  12. So, I'm reading this and I'm a little confused on how the bullying ties in with Colin/Julliard and Bryce/Slackerville. If you can transition into the bullying more, I think the query will be more streamlined.

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  13. Interesting.

    I was curious about their ages at first because I didn't think about them being very young until near the end. And I didn't see they were in a band until the line about the one character having to choose between college and taking it to the next level. Julliard brings up a few different options and I'd like to know what he does cause it could be dancing instead of music and I wouldn't know which he was auditioning for.

    There are definitely interesting elements to this story and I'd like to at least know more. I'd probably read the first few chapters to see what it's about.

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  14. First, I just wanted to mention how awesome Jousting Peeps has been. You should consider decorating marshmallows through the year and continuing this epic tradition. Imagine it Marshmallow Yoda v. Marshmallow Vader. Toothpick = light saber. :)

    Now for your query.

    Overachiever extraordinaire Colin McCaffrey has his life all mapped out. He spends every spare moment training for his Juilliard audition. The last thing he wants is to end up like his brother, Bryce.

    Slacker extraordinaire Bryce McCaffrey has his life all mapped out. Hitch a ride on his little brother’s coattails. As long as Colin succeeds, there’s no reason for Bryce to face reality. Responsibility sucks.

    (NOTE: the brothers who don't seem to like each other, though I may be wrong about that, start a band? Do they put aside their differences? I thought Colin spent every minute on his audition.) When the brothers form a band with their friends, Bryce gets a taste of success, and Colin gets distracted from his practicing. As their popularity grows, Colin’s past comes back to haunt him. See, Colin and Bryce have a secret pact -- protect those who need protecting, and punish the bullies for their douchey behavior. Now his “victims” want to pound his spinal chord into dust. (NOTE: this 'from the past' thing comes out of nowhere! :) I'm not partial to the word douchy, but if your age group uses it, it should be okay)

    When Colin gets rejected from Julliard, and he’s forced to face something he never thought he’d have to -- deciding what he really wants from life. His choices are going to college, or taking the band to the next level. (So, to clarify, is it the enemy's pounding his spinal cord or the band that keeps him from getting in Julliard? I assume the band)

    And for the first time ever, Bryce will have to work to help make his brother’s dream a reality. Turns out, the music industry is loaded with bullies and Bryce knows just what to do. (Smash spinal cords? I get the feeling that Colin is the primary MC and Bryce if the secondary MC, but that might not be the case. Oh, and did Colin decide to move forward with the band instead of going to college?)

    Told in alternating points of view between Colin and Bryce, NO SYSTEM AT ALL is a 65,000 word (piece of) Young Adult contemporary fiction, much like SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD and THE MOCKINGBIRDS.

    I have been teaching middle school English for ten years. I work with teenagers on a daily basis and have a firm understanding of their humor, dramas (need comma?) and fears.

    I look forward to hearing from you and thank you for your time, (period instead?)


    The story sounds fun. I even have a picture of nerdy Colin and brutish Bryce in my mind (that may not be the case, heh). Good luck, and thanks for sharing!

    Marie at the Cheetah

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  15. Very original story here, but you need to make it pop just a bit more. One of the biggest problems is I think you spend a bit too much time setting up the backstory and not enough on where the actual story is going. If the heart of your story is after getting rejected Colin has to decide what else he's going to do with his life, you need to get to that a LOT quicker, and you don't need a lot of the stuff leading up to it. All we really need to know is he's an overachiever, his brother's a slacker, but when he's rejected from Juilliard, he has to do what all his preparation never prepared him to do - come up with a plan B.

    I agree with others that the bit about the pact and the bullies is unclear and thus distracting - if its not the central conflict of the novel, either cut it from the query or streamline it to a sentence or two, because you need to make sure nothing hides the true conflict of your novel - which sounds like a coming of age tale rather than a revenge of the bullies story.

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  16. I like the conflict between the brothers, but that seems to soften when they form a band with their friends, they sounded so different before that I thought Bryce would have to really push his brother to be in the band. And them sharing friends didn't sound right to me.
    Also, I like the bit about the bullies, but not so won over on the bully pact. I would leave that out for the query stage.

    Interesting concept, good luck with it.

    Wagging Tales - Blog for Writers

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