Apr 15, 2009

QUERY - ANGEL UNDERCOVER (Revision 4)

Click here to read revisions 2 and 3.
Click here to read the original query.
Click here to read the first revision.

Dear [Agent name],

I chose to submit to you because [personalized tidbit about agent].

Fourteen year old Paige Moss is a bleeding-heart humanitarian optimist held captive by her own timid nature. But when she is kidnapped by a deranged visionary, Paige must get past her shyness in order to save her sister’s integrity, her friend’s happiness, and her city’s existence from his manipulating grip. A much bolder Paige exposes the visionary’s ruthless game, follows him into exile to retrieve a precious belonging, and leads a team of allies to save her city from his vengeance. Through her oft-dangerous, yet light-hearted adventures, Paige is accompanied by a diverse cast of unforgettable friends. She learns that shyness is not a state of existence, but a choice – that her character is really the sum of her actions – and becomes the hero she never expected she could be.

ANGEL UNDERCOVER is an 84,000 word YA fantasy. It is my first novel and it sets up for sequels.

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

Kind regards,

6 comments:

splatter said...

I think you've got too much description about Paige in that first sentence. "bleeding-heart humanitarian optimist" - I'd cut at least one of those, probably optimist.

In fact, I think that's a problem all around. You have a lot of description in here, but I feel like it's about the wrong things. I'd like a bit more detail as to the plot, which is only hinted at. Further, there's nothing in the query that makes me think this is a fantasy book. You need to let the reader know right here what makes this story fantasy. It almost feels, reading this, that you're saying the fantasy aspect of the story is too minor to be mentioned in the query - something that will turn off an editor.

I do really like the end of the query though - the line about being the hero she never thought she could be is a powerful way to end your description.

All in all, I think I preferred your last revision over this one. Just my two cents!

The Screaming Guppy said...

I think splatter makes some great points.

Another note, I think you should open with your hook, not the agent tidbit. The agent tidbit, to me (if added at all), should be an extra treat at the end, not what you use to get the agent's attention.

Good luck.

Rick Daley said...

The agent tidbit can change based on the agent's preferences. I know Nathan Bransford likes a brief bit of personalization at the beginning, Janet Reid likes the hook right away.

One commenter who is a published author said that starting with the title, genre, and word count is an effective way to set the expectation for the plot summary - is it thriller, romance, humor, etc.

I think the bottom line is to research your prospective agents and know their preferences.

I agree with splatter that there are too many adjectives in the first sentence.

Be careful when you use multiple descriptions. For example, "oft-dangerous, yet light-hearted adventures" seems to be contradictory.

You could trim it down can capture the essence with this:
Fourteen year old Paige Moss is held captive by her own timid nature. But when she is kidnapped for real, Paige must get past her shyness in order to save her sister’s integrity, her friend’s happiness, and her city’s existence from the manipulating grip of a deranged visionary [use different description of the antagonist].

Paige learns that shyness is not a state of existence, but a choice – that her character is really the sum of her actions – and becomes the hero she never expected she could be.

Lara said...

There's a lot of attention paid to her shyness. Is that an integral part of the story? What is it keeping her from doing if it holds her captive? That may be the hook.
Bleeding-heart and humanitarian are very similar, I'd cut one.
I agree that there is little about fantasy here, maybe some description of the time/place that makes it fantasy.
The big chunky paragraph needs to be two paragraphs.
I also like the last line "the hero she never expected to be".
Don't say it's your first novel.
My two cents....

Anette J Kres said...

Thanks guys!

I've been struggling to decide which adjectives to keep, so your points are right on.

I tried so many different ways to fit "lives in Ralyn, a world packed with magic and myth" somewhere in there, but no matter where I put it, it doesn't sound right. Or something like it.

The thing I keep trying to do is present the main struggle in a way that makes it LOOK like the main struggle.

Paige is driven by her bleeding heart nature and held back by her shyness. That's the internal struggle through the whole book. The external conflict is driven by the deranged visionary (who I've used a hundred other descriptions for and none have really worked).

Maybe I should just say that. "Fourteen year old Paige Moss is driven by her bleeding heart and held back by her timid nature." Yeah, I like that. Do you think it's clearer?

Thanks for all your suggestions! I like the way Rick split the big paragraph into two as well. You guys are awesome.

Kez said...

I wondered why she got kidnapped. Randomly? Or something to do with her personality/background? It seems a bit disjointed.