Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Critique My Query!

Okay, so I'm actually putting two query letters up, and I'm hoping it won't bite me in the butt. I'm still dithering between my contemporary YA and the dystopian for Daisy's contest, although the contemp is in the lead with the most votes, so I'm leaning toward it. Anyway, here are my query letters for both manuscripts.

Gone Missing Girl:

Dear Ms. Lawrence,

Ansel Whitetree isn’t the sort of guy to go looking for excitement. Being albino causes him plenty of turmoil as it is. But when he discovers a raggedy runaway hiding in his family’s book shed, he daringly offers to help her. And promptly finds himself tangled in a maelstrom of aftereffects.

Faced with a girl who won’t tell him anything about herself, Ansel gives her the unorthodox, if fitting, nickname of Catskin. Prone to panic attacks and acts of defensive violence, Catskin turns out to be as dangerous as she is fragile but Ansel knows instinctively that he can help her regain her sense of self. And since Catskin is terrified of hospitals, Ansel is her only chance for recovery. Although she remains secretive about her past, Catskin’s outlook begins to brighten and the bond she and Ansel already share blossoms into an attraction neither of them can deny.

Then an accident leaves Catskin hovering between life and death. Ansel is forced to make a hard choice: risk Catskin dying in anonymity or notify the family she’s been running from. Pressured by doctors, Ansel contacts Catskin’s estranged parents. But by doing so, he provokes a violent collision between the world Catskin was born to, and the one she now shares with him. And Catskin is the only one who can save both Ansel and herself from the fallout.

A lyrical Contemporary YA inspired by the fairy tale Catskin, GONE MISSING GIRL is complete at 97,000 words.

I have had five poems published in the anthology Poetry Pact 2011 (Volume 1) and several short stories published in the online magazine Underneath the Juniper Tree. In addition, I have had two non-fiction short stories published in the magazine ‘laJoie.

Thank you for your time and attention. I look forward to hearing from you.



Evernow:

Dear Ms. Lawrence,

Evernow is a girl with more balls than sense, grimly determined to live life on her own terms. For however long she can live in what’s left of the world. In a place where Fey creatures walk the land and humans hide in ramshackle settlements, things like survival are a gamble at best.

But lying low and having babies to repopulate isn’t on Evernow’s to do list. Neither is warring with the mysterious Fey folk. So she treads a deadly line between who she is, and who other survivors think she should be. Until the day she finds the one thing she didn’t know she was missing: a real friend. Clara changes everything for Evernow.

Then tragedy sends Evernow fleeing into the Wild where she would perish if not for the kindness of strangers. Fey strangers, who offer her refuge. A home. Although she misses Clara, Evernow can’t deny the happiness she finds among the Fey, nor the bonds of friendship and love that soon entangle her.

Trouble is, Evernow has never been very good at loving people. When she finds herself in a romantic quandary, she falls on old habits, again fleeing the confines of friendship and family. Her choice to run results in a confrontation between humans and Fey that Evernow could never have imagined. But sometimes within destruction, lies renewal. The chance for a new beginning. That’s if Evernow survives the mess she’s gotten her friends and herself into.

A dystopian YA, EVERNOW is complete at 87,000 words. It is the first book in a trilogy.

I have had five poems published in the anthology Poetry Pact 2011 (Volume 1) and several short stories published in the online magazine Underneath the Juniper Tree. In addition, I have had two non-fiction short stories published in the magazine ‘laJoie.

Thank you very much for your time and attention. I look forward to hearing from you.

12 comments:

  1. Hi! I think you have two really unique and interesting premises. Your 'query voice' has an almost movie trailer quality to it, which I think works really well. My advice to everyone today seems to be about trimming. I took the query and just cut out lines here and there, and I still think it works. Hope you find this helpful!

    Ansel Whitetree isn’t the sort of guy to go looking for excitement. Being albino causes him plenty of turmoil as it is. But when he discovers a raggedy runaway hiding in his family’s book shed, he daringly offers to help her.

    Faced with a girl who won’t tell him anything about herself, Ansel gives her the unorthodox, if fitting, nickname of Catskin. Prone to panic attacks and acts of defensive violence, Catskin turns out to be as dangerous as she is fragile. And since Catskin is terrified of hospitals, Ansel is her only chance for recovery. Although she remains secretive about her past, Catskin’s outlook brightens, and the bond she and Ansel share blossoms into an attraction neither of them can deny.

    Then an accident leaves Catskin hovering between life and death. Pressured by doctors, Ansel contacts Catskin’s estranged parents, provoking a violent collision between the world Catskin was born to, and the one she now shares with him. And Catskin is the only one who can save both Ansel and herself from the fallout.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  3. So, I wondered which I would "vote" for after reading both queries. I still like GONE MISSING GIRL, but EVERNOW gives it a run for its money! I think both are excellent premises, but I think G.M.G. feels more...focused, for some reason. Maybe because the set up is so clear. Also, and I think someone said this in your other post, I've heard that Dystopian is getting harder to sell. I haven't heard this from Tricia, but I haven't asked her. I write contemporary, so it hasn't been an issue for me. But around the web and at conferences, that's been the buzz.

    I agree with Laurie totally (seem to be agreeing with her wherever I go today!). There's definitely nothing missing from your query. But it needs to be trimmed. I like her version, but I have some other notes, too.

    I don't think you need to tell us that she's afraid of hospitals. It's a detail that isn't necessary for the query, especially since in the last paragraph you mention doctors. There's no room or need to explain that he must take her to the hospital, but leaving it out makes you seem inconsistent. And you don't want that!

    Also, watch how many sentences you begin with And or But. One or two flows nicely. For me, there were a few too many. I noticed because I do this ALLLLLLL the time and constantly have to check myself!

    I still like GMG, but you must go with your gut! Remember, if Tricia - or any agent - likes one, she'll ask about other projects you're working on. So choose the strongest of the two or the one you have the deepest connection with. Always lead with your best. If you really don't know, ask your CPs or betas who have read both fulls.

    You have a great problem - choosing between two amazing premises! Can't wait to see which one you choose!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. P.S. The link from my blog to yours is broken in the Linky List. I think it's because you typed http. If no one else stops by, that's why. You may want to relink in the linky list so you don't miss out on more betas!

      Delete
  4. Hey Artemis,

    Both your stories seem nice and wonderful but I am going to buck the trend by saying I like the dystopian better.

    The queries however leave me a tad confused.

    In GMG, the first para can be trimmed a fair bit. Also, I am not sure as to what hell breaks loose when Ansel contacts Catskin's parents/family. While the query shouldn't give away the ending, it should tell me in clear terms what the problem is. Also, while told largely from Ansel's perspective, the end suddenly leaves the control with Catskin.

    The EN one is a retelling of the story. It needs sprucing and polishing. It needs a hook, and dilemma. I am sure you know already know that.

    The stories are awesome.

    Hope this helps!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for the input everyone! Queries are the bane of my existence, for that synopsi IMO so I'm grateful for any help.

    @Utsav You're right about EN, I've struggled and struggled with that one from the very beginning, while GMG came much more easily (although it still needs tweaking)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm a total fan for both. I prefer GMG based on your queries. I also agree with the feedback given. The agents I saw this past weekend don't want Dystopian and want short and to-the-point queries. So excited for your opportunity!!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I really liked the second one! But both seem to capture your voice nicely. Perhaps just a bit of trimming to tighten them and then they'll really sparkle. :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Okay, here's my latest version:

    Dear Ms. Lawrence,

    Ansel Whitetree isn’t the sort of guy to go looking for excitement. Being albino causes him plenty of turmoil as it is. But when he discovers a raggedy runaway hiding in his family’s book shed, he daringly offers to help her.

    Faced with a girl who refuses to talk about herself, Ansel gives her the unorthodox, if fitting, nickname of Catskin. Prone to panic attacks and acts of defensive violence, Catskin turns out to be as dangerous as she is fragile but Ansel is determined to help her face her lingering demons. Although she remains secretive about her past, Catskin’s outlook begins to brighten and the bond she and Ansel already share blossoms into an attraction neither of them can deny.

    Then an accident leaves Catskin hovering between life and death. Pressured by doctors, Ansel contacts Catskin’s estranged parents provoking a violent collision between the wealthy world Catskin was born to, and the starkly average one she now shares with him. And Catskin is the only one who can save both Ansel and herself from the fallout.

    A lyrical Contemporary YA inspired by the fairy tale Catskin, GONE MISSING GIRL is complete at 97,000 words.

    I have had five poems published in the anthology Poetry Pact 2011 (Volume 1) and several short stories published in the online magazine Underneath the Juniper Tree. In addition, I have had two non-fiction short stories published in the magazine ‘laJoie.

    Thank you for your time and attention. I look forward to hearing from you.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Very interesting, and I like the revisions. Your voice is smooth and flowing, which makes the query easy to read.
    What more can be added? Nicely done:)

    ReplyDelete
  10. I like the revision. It fixes up the vagueness that was in the first version, but keeps it interesting. The plot and idea behind this is just great. Good job and good luck!

    ReplyDelete