Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Workshop Wednesday

By repeated request we've started Workshop Wednesday. It will definitely play out through 2011, and beyond that we'll just have to see. We've received well over 200 queries at this point, but we are choosing at random, so don't be afraid to participate as per the guidelines in our original post.

For anyone wanting to comment, we ask that you comment in a polite and respectful manner, and we ask that you be as constructive as possible. If you can be useful to the brave souls who submitted their query and comment on the query, that's great. Please keep any anonymous tirades on publishing or other snarky comments to yourself. This is and should remain an open and safe forum for people to put themselves and their queries out there so that everyone can learn. I'm leaving comments open and open to anonymous posters, as I always have; don't make me feel the need to change that policy.

And for those who have never "met" Query Shark, get over there and do that. She's the originator of the query critique, the queen, if you will.


Ms. Jessica Faust:


Lexy’s not the type of girl to stand by and watch a fight—after all she’s been training all of her life to fight the infected. In her world there are two simple rules 1. Zombies are bad. 2. Werewolves are worse. But when a rogue zombie breaks into her family’s compound it sets off a series of events that challenge everything Lexy’s ever been taught.


I think this opening was spot-on. I knew from this that it was YA and you instantly grabbed my attention.


Her family moves to the city where Lexy meets up with long-time friend Jason. Their relationship heats up and Lexy’s sure she’s found her one and only—until Jason becomes infected. Stunned and reeling from the news Lexy runs away straight into a trap. She’s abducted by a kickass werewolf clan—turns out that they’ve been genetically engineered to combat zombies and protect humanity. Kaden, their leader, promises Lexy that they can save Jason if she’ll join them in their fight. The only catch is she has to change. Lexy has to choose between following what her family has taught her or following Kaden, a werewolf, for a chance to save Jason the boy—I mean zombie of her dreams.

I'm a little less enthused about this paragraph. The phrase "heats up" made me question whether this was still YA or a romance. Mostly though, I think you have a little too much information here. I'm not sure that we need to know that she's moved or just met up with Jason. I think you could probably start right in with the fact that her boyfriend is infected, and then I think I'd tie it back in to the first paragraph and suggest that now she's in for the fight of her life. I guess my other question is what does that rogue zombie in paragraph one have to do with this paragraph? I'm not seeing the connection and I would expect to.


DECEPTION, a young adult novel, is complete at 75,000 words. It will appeal to readers who loved the intrigue of THE SUMMONING by Kelley Armstrong and to those who enjoyed the paranormal romance of NEED by Carrie Jones.

This is a good, strong finish.


I am a graduate of Brigham Young University, where I studied English teaching with a focus on young adult literature. If you would like to consider DECEPTION, I would be glad to send you the complete manuscript at your request. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Despite my concerns about the second paragraph I would probably request this. However, I think you'll have many who won't, so I would work on making sure you tie in what you've started in paragraph one with paragraph two and keep on course with the voice you were writing in.


Sincerely,





Jessica

9 comments:

Kristan said...

I could be wrong, but I think the rogue zombie in paragraph 1 was what caused her family to move back to the city in paragraph 2, thus causing her to meet up with Jason again.

(Btw, how can he be a long-time family friend if she's been training in a compound her whole life?)

Anyway, I agree with Jessica's comments, except that I didn't know it was YA. Besides that, for me, this was one of the stronger query letters I've seen in this series. (And it's not even my type of story.) Good job!

Anonymous said...

Nice query. But the second paragraph makes me think of the book as a paranormal romance instead of YA book. But is there a difference anymore:)

The second paragraph almost sets up a love triangle with some action thrown in for good measure.

I'd tighten this up:

"Stunned and reeling from the news Lexy runs away straight into a trap. She’s abducted by a kickass werewolf clan—turns out that they’ve been genetically engineered to combat zombies and protect humanity."

Does she run into a trap or is she abducted? Does she have to be both stunned and reeling? Saying that the werewolf clan is kickass is cool since it gives me some idea as to the character's voice.

I'd make this a little more clear:

"Lexy has to choose between following what her family has taught her or following Kaden, a werewolf, for a chance to save Jason the boy—I mean zombie of her dreams."

I like the fact that she has to make a decision. But I have no clue what her family has taught her, so I'm not super clear on the stakes and her choices. What are the consequences of joining this werewolf pack? How can this werewolf pack help her save her zombie of her dreams?

However, there is enough good stuff that I would want to read more.

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Kelly Shire said...

This is a pretty strong query and I agree with Kristan above - it is probably the strongest query I've seen in your series thus far.

Work on tightening the second para. I'd request a full.

Good job!

Rebecca Kiel said...

This query has a great first paragraph. I got a little lost in the second. Tighten it like the first and you are bound to get some nibbles! Nice work and thanks for sharing it!

Mim said...

Thanks for the critique on my query. I will definitely work on tightening up the second paragraph before I begin querying the project.

Kristan you were right about the rogue zombie being the reason they moved.

Thanks for all of the comments!

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I think it is a good request! I will follow it

Lillie McFerrin said...

I see this is as a very strong query, like the others who've commented. It's interesting from the first paragraph. Great work!

http://lilliemcferrin.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

You would request this . . .?

OMG!