Saturday, March 27, 2010

What's It All About?

So what does a query letter look like? I'm so glad you asked (channeling Sheldon from BBT):

Dear Agent Whom I Am Dying to Have Represent Me: (Okay, I don't really write that, but they all read the subtext)

Being able to hear the minds of those around you might sound like a good idea. . . but would you really want that ability? If you were a seventeen-year old girl, would you honestly want to know what your classmates were thinking? And what might happen if you heard something that wasn’t just annoying. . .but downright deadly?

This is the basis of my recently completed 120,000 word novel, Fearless. Tasmyn, a high school junior who has grappled with this dubious gift all of her life, moves to a new community. Her talent has isolated her, both by necessity and by choice, but here in the mysterious town of King, Tasmyn meets Michael, the high school’s golden boy, who amazingly seems to think that Tas is his soul mate. To her joyful astonishment, she soon has not only a boyfriend but also a group of friends who like and accept her.

But before Tasmyn can bask too long in the wonder of this change of events, she accidentally overhears some very troubling thoughts that hint at the darker side of King. Nell, another classmate, has been hostile to Tasmyn from their first meeting. Her unspoken--but horrifying--plans force Tas to make a choice that may save a life but could also expose her own secrets.

Fearless is the first of what I anticipate to be a three-to-four book series; I am presently almost half way finished writing the second book.

I have noticed that you are interested in representing young adult novels. If you would like to read my full manuscript, I would be happy to send it to you.

Thank you very much for your time and attention.

Very truly yours,

Like most authors DYING to get published, I belong to several groups that give info, support, encouragement and reality check to desperate--I mean, struggling writers. On one, you can submit your QL for critique and review, and when I posted the one above, I received a lot of very helpful comments. First of all, who knew that the term "recently completed" would send all agents running for cover? Apparently they read that as "unedited or revised". Hmm. Also, I was advised to reduce my word count dramatically. So I did go back and ruthlessly slash. . .words. I revised even more. And I think I brought it down a couple thousand words. But not enough to make a real difference. What I wrote is integral to the story, and until someone who reads it through tells me otherwise, it's all staying.

Based on the input from my fellow writers, this is my latest QL:

Dear Agent Who Would be Perfect to Rep My Book:

My 117,00 word young adult novel Fearless is an urban fantasy in the tradition of both the Buffy the Vampire Slayer franchise and Nora Robert’s paranormal offerings.

Like most teenagers, Tasmyn Vaughan doesn’t always agree with her parents. But Tasmyn’s differences are a little more complicated than the average high school kid. She’s struggling to come to terms with her unique ability—she can hear minds—even as she adjusts to life in a new school and the wonder of having her very first boyfriend. Tasmyn’s parents always try to protect her from the possible exploitation of her gifts, and they’re not sure that her new independence is a good idea.

To complicate matters, not everyone is thrilled to welcome Tasmyn to her new home. Nell Massler has been messing with witchcraft under the tutelage of her chemistry teacher, and when that teacher begins to show interest in what powers she suspects Tasmyn possesses, Nell’s jealousy compels her to some radical action—including a blood ritual that might cost Tasmyn and her friends their lives.

Although Fearless can stand alone, the book has series potential, and in fact I have completed the first sequel.

I write for an on-line parenting magazine. My short story Analine’s Pearls was awarded second prize in the 2009 Writers-Editors Network International Writing Competition.

I think at this point, never having to write another QL (I have many more variations than what I've shared here!!) will be reward enough for finally landing an agent and publisher.

But--forward! Onward and upward. Right??

1 comment:

  1. I like the 1st half of the 1st query and the 2nd half of the other. If I was reading the 1st half on the back of a book, I would certainly pick it up and buy it.