Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Query 2.0*

Let me preface this by saying that I really took everyone's comments from Query 1.0 to heart. So if you read this and think, "Wow, that girl didn't listen to anything I said!", you'll know that I just have issues. (Let's hope that's not the case!)

I'm just going to post the pitch and the query, since I haven't made any changes to my opening yet (still in first draft mode).

So here goes!

QUERY 2.0:*

Dear Mr. or Ms. AGENT:

Drew Cleary knows immortality spells are forbidden, but he figures the rules don’t apply when no one knows you’re a witch. What he doesn’t realize is that showing off his new ability with a knife trick at a high school party is a quick way to end the night with a hexed bullet in his chest.

Thanks to another probation violation, the suddenly not-so-immortal Drew is sent to a school for at-risk teens, his last stop before jail. The adjustment to a new town, a new school, and yet another foster home would be easier if Drew didn’t have to deal with a bunkmate from hell, a crush on a girl who knows just how to make him crazy, and a message from a guy claiming to be Drew’s father.

Apparently, Drew’s in danger, and he has to make a choice: trust the man who went out for ice cream ten years ago and never came back, or turn to the girl who seems to know more about Drew than she’s letting on. The choice Drew makes may cost him his power, his heart, and, ultimately, his life.

Completed at approximately ___________ words, [insert title] is available upon request. I have attended several Amherst Writers and Artists (AWA) workshops, and I maintain a blog at http://jess-jordan.blogspot.com. I am currently working on another young adult manuscript.

Sincerely,

ME

* After LiLa's very wise words, I made a couple of small revisions--namely, removing a reference to this being my first manuscript, and removing specific names mentioned in paragraph 2. I include this here in case anyone reads LiLa's comment and thinks ... "Huh? What are they talking about?"

PITCH TIME:

When Drew Cleary messes around with magic that he shouldn’t have, he ends the night with a bullet in his chest, violates his probation, and gets shipped off to a school for at-risk teens. As a foster kid Drew’s used to change, but that doesn’t prepare him for a bunkmate from hell, a crush on a girl who knows just how to make him crazy, and a message from a guy claiming to be his father. Apparently, Drew’s in danger, and he has to make a choice: trust the guy who abandoned him ten years ago, or turn to the girl who seems to know more than she’s letting on. The wrong decision could cost him his power, his heart, and, ultimately, his life.

4 comments:

Lisa and Laura said...

Wow!!! You nailed the voice and this line: The choice Drew makes may cost him his power, his heart, and, ultimately, his life. ROCKS.

The list of names in the middle might be problematic. The original query we wrote for The Kate Lowry Mystery had a list of characters in it and everyone who critiqued it said we had to get rid of it. So we did. I sort of like the way you phrased it in the pitch better. Maybe you can just use that instead?

And I'd delete the verbage about this being your first MS. If you don't write anything they'll just assume that's the case.

Awesome revision!

jessjordan said...

LiLa: Thanks! I made the changes suggested and included a little asterisk noting such. Seriously, you're the absolute best.

Weronika said...

Hola. I'm happy to be back. :)

QUERY -

I have a small problem with your first line. Who is "no one" referring to -- because someone out there knows, right? (Sorry for being so nit picky, but if I were an agent, I would want to see things to be very clear.) I also don't see the connection between the first and second sentence here: We don't know whether or not he's immortal or mortal, or what your first sentence had to do with anything.

The second paragraph is very well done. I'm still very curious about this girl -- maybe give a specific example of how she makes him crazy?

The third paragraph is good, too.

For all of them, I just recommend picking up some stronger verbs and making your sentences/phrases as concise as possible.

The last sentence is perfect, and I agree with LiLa's suggestion.

PITCH -

You need to be very, very specific in your pitch, I think. What exactly is the "magic," and what exactly does he do with it? The rest is okay, but I think (same in the query) that you need to be specific.

"Bunkmate from hell" can describe bunk/room mates in more than one novel, I'm sure, and "girl that makes him crazy" is very generic. How is it unique to you?

I think that you definitely made some fantastic progress here. No big changes -- just spicing up what you have.

jessjordan said...

Weronika: Are you like a query angel or something? Thanks, again, for your comments. I see what you're saying about the first paragraph. I've tinkered with it a few more times, but I'm going to hold off on posting again for awhile, until I get rid of my query-weary eyes. :)

With respect to the girl: she's a little difficult for me to talk about, because I'm worried about giving too much away. I'll have to toy around with that a bit more as well.

I've also gotten more specific, as suggested, in the query and pitch (with respect to the secondary character descriptions). Great advice :)

I know I sound like a scratched CD here, but thank you thank you thank you thank you!

You guys have been awesome.