Jan 2, 2010

QUERY - SECOND SIGHT

Seven years ago,a frightened five year old escaped from his kidnapper, hid in the woods for days, and finally surrended to the Hawthorns who found him scavaging from their cafe trash cans. He's known as MICK HAWTHORN today and the most frightening thing that's happened to him lately is kissing JULIE RAINWATER at a summer Band picnic.Then the nightmares begin.
A new preacher has come to Jasper, Arkansas, population 500. As his generic prayer for a safe sports season rolls over the students at the first school pep rally, Mick is shocked to recognize the voice he feared as a child. But PASTOR RICHTER is charismatic and the community flocks to join his congregation.
Mick confronts Richter, who laughs and tells him that no one will ever believe his story. When Julie and some of the other girls begin attending extra study sessions at the church and plan a trip with Richter to present a play at other churches in St Louis, Mick knows that the man has chosen his new victims.
Mick joins the drama group, persuading Richter that he holds no grudges for his mistreatment. During a storm, the students are abandoned at a cabin on the way to Missouri. Waking from a drugged sleep, Mick forces Richter into releasing two of the girls, but nearly loses Julie as the preacher attempts to drive away.
The final solution to stopping Richter is up to Mick. Even though he is smaller, he attacks the man, drives him into the woods, and contacts the authorities. Sometimes even a boy has to summon the force within himself to be the hero.

Second Sight is a 40,000 word novel for middle grades.

5 comments:

Holly said...

Your query is well written.

My one suggestion: break it up into smaller paragraphs. That will make it easier on the eye.

Good luck to you!

The Generalissimo said...

There's a lot going on here. It actually feels more like a synopsis than a query (which means you're well on your way in that respect), but it lacks focus. Also, you've given us the ending, which doesn't entice us to want to read the whole thing.

I'd say boil this one down to a few simple sentences. He was kidnapped as a boy, and now a mysterious preacher has come to town. Everyone loves this man of the cloth, but Mick knows something the others don't: The preacher is his former abductor.

This has potential, it just needs to be pared down. Good luck.

Working Rachel said...

I wasn't getting "middle grade" from this query. I think you might need to tweak a few things so the voice of the query is closer to the voice of the novel. For instance, would 12-year-old MC think of his kidnapping as happening when he was "a child," or would he think of it as "when he was little" or "when he was a little kid"? Would he use words like "charismatic" or "mistreatment"?

You might really have a young YA here--it sounds pretty intense for MG. There are definitely intense MGs out there but this MC sounds pretty sophisticated.

Overall a good query IMHO. Good luck!

Donna Hole said...

An excellent synopsis, and one you should keep in the wings for requests from Agents.

I really think you could narrow down a couple major points - disclose what the main plot is, without giving away the exact ending. Show his obstacles to exposing the kidnapper and what is at risk for Mick (or the town) if Mick doesn't succeed.

I wasn't envisioning a young boy while reading this. I think YA is even stretching it. You may want to check not only the voice of the query, but the voice in the novel also to insure it is MG.

A good start though. Good luck.

..........dhole

jasonamyers said...

This sounds more of a mature YA or "New Adult" story. But you do tell a compelling story here. I do agree, it sounds more like a synopsis. Don't give up the ending!

Some questions:
Seven years ago,a frightened five year old escaped from his kidnapper, hid in the woods for days, and finally surrended to the Hawthorns who found him scavaging from their cafe trash cans.

Okay, so where were the kid's parents? Did the Hawthorn's not look? If I find a 5 year old digging in my trash, I'm gonna find his parents.

Then the nightmares begin.
Literal nightmares, or figuratevely?

A new preacher has come to Jasper, Arkansas, population 500. I like this sentence, a lot! But I don't know if you need the population AND the city name. One or the other. It's such a great sentence, but it's weakened because it's too long. Could you say something about the preacher being creepy or something?

As his generic prayer for a safe sports season rolls over the students at the first school pep rally
They're still allowing prayer in schools? Is that the "generic" part because it's non-religious?

Mick is shocked to recognize the voice he feared as a child. Can you just add here, "Mick is shocked when he hears the man's melodic voice." or some such? :the voice he feared as a child: seems weird. He doesn't still fear that voice? And that's some memory--after seven years. But I guess it was pretty intense Hell, what does the preacher do when he abducts them?

Mick confronts Richter, who laughs and tells him that no one will ever believe his story. Yeah, this sounds MG here. The kidnapper laughs and says no one will believe him? I am sure there's more that happens in that scene. This sounds too "yeah right." to be real.

... Richter to present a play at other churches in St Louis, Mick knows that the man has chosen his new victims.
How does he know this?

Mick joins the drama group, persuading Richter that he holds no grudges for his mistreatment Once again, the "yeah, right" comes out. Why would the pastor believe him? The preacher would not, unless he was a ninny...now, once again, I am pretty certain you did this in the story in a way that doesn't sound contrived, but here it, does sound that way.

Waking from a drugged sleep, Mick forces Richter into releasing two of the girls, but nearly loses Julie as the preacher attempts to drive away.

Drug induced sleep? From what? how does he force the guy to release girls? He's a kid himself? Confusing.

The final solution to stopping Richter is up to Mick. Even though he is smaller, he attacks the man, drives him into the woods, and contacts the authorities.

never give up the ending!!!