Aug 6, 2009

QUERY - A SCORPION'S NATURE - Revision #1

Click here to read the original query.

Dear Agent,

The other sunny idiots at YMCA Camp Powell could hold hands and Kum Ba Yah all they wanted. Thirteen year old Kyle Matusik would lash back against his evil Junior Counselor and a tyrant camper. Getting booted out was better than enduring their harassment or being pitied as the camp's misfit boy, tormented by his father's suspicious death.

A SCORPION'S NATURE unfolds in a rollicking summer camp with quirky songs and food so atrocious even the director's mutt refuses to eat the Cheesy Fish Tarts. My 55,000 word middle grade novel coalesced out of twenty years as a YMCA camper, counselor, and director.

The complete manuscript is available upon your request. Thank you for considering my work.

Sincerely,

7 comments:

C.J. Ellisson said...

First time I can say this (and I may be wrong) I think it's too short. yes, You do explain the book well, but you use a lot of adjectives and adverbs in that first paragraph.

That is a sign to an agent that your manuscript may look the same.

Take out weak descriptors and chose the ones that mean the most to you and keep them. List some info about yourself, the short bio is important.

List writing guilds and associations, any contests you've won and the like. List the reasons you are contacting this particular agent; where you saw them, who they represent, that kind of thing. Show them that you have researched them and why you think they'd be be a good fit for you.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I like it!!! Much, much better than the first one. And I don´t think it´s too short - Nathan recently featured a winning query letter that was of similar brevity but also showcased the voice similarly well to yours. Although I would try and fit the love interest back in somewhere, even as a hint.

One other change I would suggest: put the first two sentences into present tense - gives the whole thing more immediacy.
As in:
´The other sunny idiots at YMCA Camp Powell can hold hands and Kum Ba Yah all they want. Thirteen year old Kyle Matusik will lash back against his evil Junior Counselor and a tyrant camper. Getting booted out was better than enduring their harassment or being pitied as the camp's misfit boy, tormented by his father's suspicious death.

Good work.
Lots of luck, Gina

FictionGroupie said...

"Getting booted out was better than enduring their harassment or being pitied as the camp's misfit boy, tormented by his father's suspicious death."

The last clause on the sentence seems tacked on and doesn't flow. Maybe you can make the part about his father's death into its own sentence.

RCWriterGirl said...

I did not see the original query, so I'm going completely based on the one posted.

While brevity can be good, it's not good here. I have no idea what this is about or why I should care.

Calling others "idiots" is not a way to endear yourself to me, though maybe agents will feel differently. The nasty tone you give this letter is off-putting, and I don't know if that will sell well to middle grade or not. I do know it makes me not want to read more. It doesn't feel sarcastic; it just feels mean.

And the role of the father's death seems important to understanding the boy, yet it's mentioned almost tangentially. It seems like it would be better to start there, and then you could understant where this bitterness and nastiness comes from.

From the letter so far, all I see is a story about a mean and nasty boy who's lashing out at the world because his father died. Only thing is, he's been so mean and nasty, I hope he goes and rots somewhere. I have no interest in hearing his story from the little you've presented here. And to be honest, this seems unusually short, even for a query.

folksinmt said...

Sorry, but I think you were closer with your first query. The first one needed some tweaking, but all plot elements were there. This is too brief and is lacking punch. Why do I care about this book and your mc? I'm not feeling it with this query. But keep working on it...you'll get it!

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree strongly with above comments; I still think you have the bones of a very good query here, and it certainly has a far better impact on me than the first one where you DID start with the father´s suicide and impact of same on Kyle.
I think that far from making Kyle seem ´mean and nasty´, the first paragraph conveys his alienation very well and is a great example of ´show not tell´. It draws me right in.
I do, however, feel that you could subsequently drum up some more sympathy for him. I previously suggested that you might bring the love interest back in (although not too overtly, seeing as this is aimed at MG boys), and I agree with other commenters here that the father´s death seems kind of ´tacked on´ and should be given its own sentence at least.
You have a lot of room to flesh out the bereavement´s impact and the camp conflicts some more, but I think that starting, as you did here, by taking us straight inside Kyle´s head is great.
I´ve no doubt that you´ll get there, Gina

Anonymous said...

And a P.S. You´re not trying to ´endear´ yourself to an agent, you´re trying to show the agent that you can appeal to MG readers.