Mar 9, 2010

QUERY - MAKIN' LOVE - young adult

For seventeen-year old Annie Winters, finding the perfect guy is simple science, if only she could keep from falling for an incompatible subject.

Maintaining her Harvard bound image while being the daughter of two famous folk singers in a band called Smokin' Grass (both a name and an act they practice daily) is complicated enough without Kyle Williams butting in on her efforts to win the National Science Fair.

Her potential blue ribbon project involves a complex scientific formula, ninth month's worth of data and a compatibility test guaranteed to score her the right man, or so she thought. Until Kyle, an incompatible subject, locks them in an office and lures Annie into a few hours of impulsive fun.

Her emotions spun out of control while in the arms of an incredibly hot guy, but that doesn't mean her test is invalid.  As if she would give in to his half-British charm and fall instantly in love- even if his kissing score is double that of all the compatible subjects. And even if she can't stop obsessing over all things Kyle.

Annie may be the girl who pushed and shoved her way to number one in her class, but lying about the test results, cheating on her project are two things she could never do, no matter what is at stake. The problem is, being honest with herself is more difficult than anything she's had to learn in school.

MAKIN' LOVE is a 54,000 word young adult novel. When I'm not writing, I am a Gymnastics Program Director for the YMCA and have recently published a short story in International Gymnast magazine for the April, 2010 issue. Thank you for taking the time to consider my novel.


folksinmt said...

There is a lot to like about your query, but unfortunately, the title is not one of them! No way would I let my teen read a book with this title, even though the book may be innocent enough. I can see how it makes sense with the plot, but NO! I think it would turn more heads than it would grab.

Your first sentence doesn't make sense: it's a run on. At that point in the query, we don't know what an incompatible subject is.

The next paragraph, I wouldn't use "Butting in" after just talking about smoking weed...that was a little confusing.

The fourth paragraph you shift to past tense with "spun".

I think that your query is a little long: try to trim it to three paragraphs about the plot and one about you. Also, I think 54,000 is too need to be at 60,000 for YA (your length would be ideal for middle grade).

It sounds like a cute story, but I think you could be more specific in your query. Why is Kyle incompatible? How does her test work? How did he lock her in an office?

I like your second to last paragraph: I think it ties everything in nicely. Good luck!

Lynn Colt said...

I love the idea, but I agree with folksinmt that the query needs pruning. I took a stab at trimming some of the extraneous details:


Seventeen-year-old Annie Winters is at the top of her class, and she plans to stay there. This means winning the National Science Fair, and Annie's got a project she knows will win first prize: a complex scientific formula, nine months worth of research and a compatibility test of unparalleled accuracy. There's only one data point that disagrees: Kyle Williams.

Kyle is incompatible with Annie according to the test, but when he challenges her results she finds out his kissing score is double that of any compatible subject. Refusing to declare her project invalid, Annie fights her attraction to him, but ***. In the end she finds that being honest with herself is more difficult than anything she had to learn in school.


Rough, but you get the idea. The *** is where some kind of stakes need to go. Does Kyle make Annie choose between winning the science fair and love?

I also agree that while the premise is cute, the title is a turn-off. Maybe something using science, equations or numbers? Scientific Method, maybe, or something along those lines?

Hope this helps. Good luck!

Amy said...

I also agree with the previous comments. I don't think 54k words puts you out of the YA market, though. I've seen 40-60k as appropriate for length.

I feel like this is probably a really cool story, but I'm not excited about it. I think maybe it's your tone - the plot sounds fun but the query lacks the same spunk. Take Lynn's revision to heart - it needs to come from your voice but her selection of details is more on point.

Keep working and spunk it up!

Vicky said...

I know that titles are not always very relevant, however, if I saw a YA book called Makin' Love, I'm not sure what I would think. I definitely wouldn't pick it up. I agree, also, that it's a little long. I like the idea of this girl basing her love life off of some scientific formula, but that cute plot is almost lost in there. I'm not gonna bug about the length because YA can be from 45 to about 75 K, for mainstream. Sometimes books are just short. Look at Laurie Halse Anderson's work. Use as many words as it takes to tell the story.

Julie said...

Thanks everyone for the great feedback!

folksinmt said...

This is your query Julie? Holy many books are you working on? Is this the third that I've seen on here? That is way impressive! Don't you ever sleep?

Julie said...

I have five completed novels, I sleep 4 hours a night. Last night I got 6 hours, yeah me! :)

folksinmt said...

You make me feel like a slacker! And I stand corrected...50,000 is just fine for YA. I was thinking it was 60k +. But I don't usually pay attention to the minimum--I tend to always run over on my word count! Good luck!

RCWriterGirl said...

Just three comments.

--Makin' Love is a terrible title for a YA novel. I would never ever ever let my kid read a book with that title. If I were a bookstore owner, and I wanted parents to come back in and shop with their young adults, I wouldn't put a book with that title on my shelves.

--there are a couple of typos in this that need cleaning (ninth month's)

--it's not real clear what you're talking about in the fifth paragraph when you say "lying about test results and cheating on her projects are two things she could never do." That sorta came out of left field. Who asked her to lie about her test results or cheat on her project? If it refers to her interactions with Kyle, you should make it clear that Kyle is part of the study and that in order to get her project to work, she's got to fudge the results. Because, right now, that's not in the query. Also, based on my initial reading, I thought Kyle was a competitor with her for this National Science Fair prize. I thought that was how we was "butting in" on her efforts. So, if I've gotten the wrong impression, maybe it's a sign you need to add some clarity about Kyle.

As always, an interesting story you've got there. Good luck with it.

Emily said...

I don't have much to add aside from seconding those who have complained about the title. Please change. How about The Science of Kissing? Find a cute title that relates dating and science.