Saturday, March 2, 2013

Critique my query?

As one of my goals for this month, I would like to send off my query!  I've been working on revising it with the help of Jessica Montgomery and David King, but I'd like another set of eyes on my query.  I am happy with how it is going so far because I really love this book.  Still, I'd like another look!  I don't want to be a pansy and never send my query, so hopefully I can send it in the next week or so.

Here's my query for "Defiance":



Dear (Personalized name of agent),


Seventeen-year-old Kaela is a faerie who has never flown and is afraid of heights.


Kaela knows nothing of her past, since she is trapped in a place called the Center with all the other “freaks”.  All she wants is her freedom, and to know if she came from a family who loves her.  After she witnesses a wing removal experiment and the death of her best friend, Kaela can take no more of the Center’s lies.  With the help of a young warlock named Trent, Kaela escapes.


On the run from the Center’s henchmen, Kaela searches for a forest of mythical beings Trent lived with before the Center captured him.  Deceiving a kind old couple and grand theft auto isn’t exactly what Kaela had in mind.  To make matters worse, a tracker, strapped on Trent’s wrist, is starting to drain his life.


Once they reach the forest, Kaela meets Seth, the group leader, who makes it clear he doesn’t trust anyone from the Center.  When the Center’s henchmen track Kaela down, they set fire to the forest, which kills everyone inside.  The only way to stop the senseless killing is to destroy the Center, but to do that, Kaela has to kill the only person who can tell her why the Center stole her life and murdered her family.  She’ll have to open her wings and fight.


DEFIANCE is a YA Urban Fantasy complete at 50,000 words with a happy lack of vampires and werewolves.  DEFIANCE will appeal to fans of Victoria Schwab’s THE ARCHIVED and A.G. Howard’s SPLINTERED.  I have a minor in English.  (add quick personalization to agent)


Thank you for your time and consideration!


---------


This is about the fifth version and it's definitely much better with each revision and I love it even more!  I'm really hoping an agent will like the concept and request more to read. :)


Also, I wanted to let you know to come back on March 13th to celebrate the release of Christine Rains' The Harbinger with a fun interview!  And on March 18th I'll be participating in Alex Cavanaugh's Top Ten Movie Countdown Blogfest!  I'm definitely witty in both of those. :)

AND, also I want to let you know I signed up for my first 5K for April 20th!!  My sister and I are going to run together.  I've never done one, so hopefully I can get my butt moving! :)

What do you think?  I'd love your helpful comments!  Are you excited for Christine's new book?

15 comments:

  1. Sounds like an interesting story! I haven't read a fairy story in awhile :)
    My first comment is to reword the first line and paragraph to get rid of the 'is's. Give a feeling of her character in the first sentence, while saying she can't fly and such.
    I'd drop the vampire and werewolves at the end. Don't tell them what your book doesn't have (even if it's positive) but concentrate on what your story has.

    Good luck with this. Querying is always so nerve-racking!

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    1. Thanks! I can definitely reword the first line and get rid of the "is". And I can drop that line; I was trying to be coy, but it didn't really work.

      Thanks so much! :)

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  2. I am the worst when it comes to query letters. I swear my publisher read mine and took pity on me. Has Matthew at the QQQE seen it? He is a the query letter critique master.

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    1. I have not - but I will definitely check him out! Thanks Alex!

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  3. I like the uniqueness of the character. It really caught my attention that she is afraid of heights. I also like how you included the tracker, since it gives a sense of immediacy.

    "When the Center’s henchmen track Kaela down, they set fire to the forest, which kills everyone inside." <-- the last part felt just a little awkward. Maybe reword it to "killing everyone inside"?

    "...Kaela has to kill the only person..." <-- Maybe change "has to" to "must"?

    "She’ll have to open her wings and fight." <-- I think this is a good close to your description.

    I'm not that good at critiquing queries, but hopefully this helps :)

    Good luck with querying and the 5k! :)

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    1. Thanks Jameson! :) I'm glad you like her character; I like Kaela too. :) I did my first training for the 5k today and it went pretty well!

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  4. Thank you for the shout-out! It's almost time! :)

    I'm not the best with queries, but I'll offer up my two cents.

    Seventeen-year-old Kaela is a faerie who's afraid of heights. [I like the hook to have more punch. Making it shorter gives it more power. I think you can assume the reader guesses that Kaela has never flown because she is afraid of heights. This is a very good hook, by the way!]

    Trapped in a place called the Center, Kaela lives with all the other “freaks.” [Why is she in the Center? Because of her phobia? What is the Center's purpose?] She knows nothing of her past, and all she wants is her freedom. After she witnesses a wing removal experiment and the death of her best friend, Kaela can take no more of the Center’s lies. [Are they the same event or two different events? If they're the same event, saying the death of her best friend will have enough impact on its own.] With the help of a young warlock named Trent, Kaela escapes.[A cute warlock? How do they escape? Why is he helping her? Give some more action.]

    On the run from the Center’s henchmen, Kaela and Trent search for a forest of mythical beings he lived with before he was captured. Deceiving a kind old couple and grand theft auto isn’t exactly what Kaela had in mind, but they're desperate to find safety. To make matters worse, a tracker strapped on Trent’s wrist is draining his life essence.

    Once they reach the forest, Kaela meets Seth, the group leader, who makes it clear he doesn’t trust anyone from the Center. When the Center’s henchmen track Kaela down, they set fire to the forest. The blaze kills everyone.[Did it kill Kaela and Trent? Maybe you can say it kills everyone in the group, but I do feel that is a spoiler. You could leave out that line and make the reader wonder, want to read to find out.] The only way to stop the senseless killing is to destroy the Center, [Is that really the only way?] but to do that, Kaela has to kill the only person who can tell her why the Center stole her life and murdered her family.[I think perhaps we need to know of this betrayal before if she remembers it. I thought she didn't remember anything about her past? Did she find something out along the way?] She’ll have to open her wings and fight.[Great closing line.]

    DEFIANCE is a YA Urban Fantasy complete at 50,000 words.[Don't tell the publisher or agent what the story isn't.] DEFIANCE will appeal to fans of Victoria Schwab’s THE ARCHIVED and A.G. Howard’s SPLINTERED. I have a minor in English. (add quick personalization to agent)

    Overall, it's got all the right elements, and with a little more clarification and dynamo, you'll nail it. Good luck!

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    1. Thank you for the suggestions Christine! I can definitely use the help! :) Thanks! :)

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  5. Your letter sounds great.

    Here are my two cents; you can take them or leave them. :)
    My only suggestions are for the third paragraph that starts "Once they reached the forest." It really confused me when I first read it, although I'm not entirely certain why. I would suggest a clarification of what group Seth is the leader of; maybe that would clear up my confusion. Also, is she completely alone now that everyone has died in the forest? And why does she have to kill the one person who can tell her why she was at the Center?

    I love the last paragraph and that picture is so funny! :) You're fantastic. Good luck with your submission.

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    1. Thanks! I agree, the third paragraph is a bit confusing. I can fix it! :)

      I love that picture - hilarious! :) Thanks!!

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  6. I agree with Poisoned Rose. You really got me with the story - it seems so unique and wonderful. That third paragraph was a bit confusing, with the intro of Seth and the return to the Center. It seems at that point you are doing a synopsis, not a query - perhaps you can pull back a bit on the plotpoints and give out the most important one : Cool character with a flow (got that) reluctant partner (nailed it) and the problem they must confront (need to work on that a bit.)

    And take pity on me, for I shall be following your query with my own in a few months. I'm certain mine won't be nearly as bright and original as yours.

    Now, I'm crossing my fingers and toes for you! BEST OF LUCK!

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    1. It does sound a bit like a synopsis, oops! :) I can fix it. :)

      I bet your query will be great and very original!

      Thanks Alison!

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  7. Looking really good, Krista. T. Drecker, Poisoned Rose and Alison pretty much nailed everything I had to add. Keep at it. You'll nail that third paragraph in no time! :)

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    1. Thanks David! I'm not giving up yet! I will work on that paragraph and nail it. :)

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  8. LOVE the sound of this story! You should totally come join the fun over in WriteOnCon's forums. We're all shining up our pitches for the Luck O' the Irish Pitch Fest. (Which you should totally take part in)

    There are literally hundreds of YA and MG writers in the forum helping each other polish their pitches over the next few days. It's a beautiful thing. =)

    New follower BTW, hopping over from the Insecure Writer's Support Group =)

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