Friday, July 30, 2010

And Yet Another Version of the Query Letter. . .

A few posts ago I mentioned a website called Query Shark.  I've been reading it pretty carefully, which is required before I can submit one of my query letters for the Shark's brutal tearing apart.  There are over 160 entries, and very few of them are 'wins'.

And because querying is a highly subjective business, some of the letters that were hits struck me as not all that different from the ones that were misses.  It's hard to internalize the rules when they don't seem to apply all the time.

Still, the Shark is pretty open about this.  She admits that even if a letter isn't perfect, if it has voice, she likes it.  She wants us to lead with the hook of the story.  Keep it brief, keep the sentences concise, leave lots of white space.  Include the word count, but put it and other book info at the bottom of the letter.  Don't forget to include your contact info.

So I've spent a lot of time soaking up those rules, and I retooled my query letter for the umpteenth time (actually, I rewrote it two more times:  I like them both, but one is shorter and leads with the action of the story, while the other is a little longer).

I'm letting it sit and marinate for a bit, and then take a deep breath and submit it to the Shark.  I might even send it out to some agents, too, as the wait for the Shark can be pretty long, and there's no guarantee she'll actually print it on the blog.

So. . what do you think?

Tasmyn Vaughn just heard her classmate planning a murder.  The problem is that Nell Massler didn’t tell anyone that she intends to perform a blood ritual; she only thought about it.  It was Nell’s misfortune that Tasmyn can hear the minds around her.

Now Tasmyn has to figure out how to stop Nell without revealing her own secret.  Acting on what she hears in someone’s head is foreign to Tas.  Her parents have built their lives around guarding their daughter’s ability, to protect her from possible exploitation.  They’ve established very specific rules about not listening to anyone’s mind.  But Tasmyn is fairly certain that preventing murder should trump all those limits.

What she doesn’t know is that Nell has been messing with witchcraft under the tutelage of their chemistry teacher. When that teacher begins to show interest in the powers she suspects Tas possesses, Nell’s jealousy leads her to choose Tasmyn as her next victim.

While Fearless, complete at 114,000 words, can stand alone as a young adult urban fantasy, it is part of a planned quartet.  The first and second sequels are also complete.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you.

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