Apr 13, 2010

Query: Wilder Times / Genre: YA

Dear Agent,

Ben Wilder never really dreamt about becoming a rock star. It was more of a given—his throne to inherit.

Not that Ben doesn’t want to be the next “it” guy. And not that he lacks the necessary talent. He’s got what it takes—the voice, the charisma, the looks. For the most part, he’s more than happy to fulfill his destiny. To be a rock god. Just as long as he doesn’t become him: the legendary eighties rocker Ben calls dad.

For Kat Hayes, life is a bit more simple. She is just an average high school girl. And high school girls dream about rock stars. She dreams about one in particular: Ben Wilder.

Kat’s been in love with Ben ever since she was twelve, when his first teen pop album was released. Now, four years later, she finally has the chance to meet him. So what if it takes a tiny little lie—a lie that puts her best friend, Jackson, in jeopardy of losing his new job. To Kat, Ben is worth any risk.

What seemed like a one-time meeting quickly turns into romance and Kat finds that her lie is impossible to recall. Her once-simple life turns into a blitz of popularity and paparazzi—which is sorta cool. At first. Until a media-fueled competition for Ben’s attention erupts between Kat and a voluptuous swimsuit model—and Kat doesn’t see how her unaltered sixteen-year-old body can measure up.

But again, Kat’s problems are rather simple. She’s not the one having nightmares about her dead dad. Ben is. The more his life mirrors his dad’s, the more the ghosts from his dad’s past seem to seep through the cracks of Ben’s carefully constructed life, threatening to ensnare him with remnants of abuse and addiction. Unbidden memories of his dad—and his ill-fated death—dominate Ben’s sleep. And in his waking hours, Ben finds that he must face the music (clichĂ©-ish pun intended) and prove to the world—and himself—that he’s not plagiarizing dear old dad.

Wilder Times is complete at—take a deep breath—112,000 words. Ahem. You still with me? Wilder Times is intended to be a three book series drawing on the rock star phenomenon that continues to dominate teen culture, including TV, video games, and clothing—but seems to be a relatively untouched aspect of Young Adult Fiction.

Thank you for your consideration.



Lynn Colt said...

You know, I'm guessing, that 112k is long for a YA book. Length can be forgiven, but only if every word is meaningful. If the book is like your query, you need to go give it a thorough pruning :)

As for the query itself:
Basically, as I understand it the story is about Ben, a teen pop star who doesn't want to wind up dead from addiction like his dad, and Kat, who gets caught up in Ben's world.

Thing is, I don't see any stakes here, and there's a lot of vague language (the entire 'But again ..." paragraph, for example.) What exactly does Ben have to do? So far the only thing that seems to be happening is a love triangle and some angst over his dad. Give concise specifics. Also, is Kat a POV character? If so, does she have anything to do or choose besides hating her swimsuit-model rival?

Hope this helps you focus the query, and good luck! Also, I like the title :)

jessjordan said...

I'm super confused: Is this story primarily about Ben, or Kat? Because if it's about Kat, I don't understand why you'd start with Ben.

Beyond that: the first 2 paragraphs could be wrapped up in a sentence, and the third paragraph has very bland info as well. This is all I really need to know: Kat dreams about rock stars--one in particular: Ben Wilder. I'm not certain the relevance of anything before that.

Queries should be short and to the point. I'd work on narrowing down what you have, pinpointing the plot, and going from there.

On a personal note, I'm not crazy about the "take a break" and "ahem" comments. If it's 110+, don't start by apologizing about it. Own it! (Of course, I'm sure you're aware that this is a bit long for most YA, but hey ... you wouldn't be the first!)

Erinn said...

I would agree with the others have said. The query is too long. It seems like there is too much going on, between the love story.

Focus on one character over the other.

I"m not sure why Kat's dead father is haunting her, or why this is a subplot.

120 is long, but don't act like it's shocking. YA books are getting longer.

But if you know it's an issue while your writing the query and it's a concern for you, go back and revise.

Good luck with your query.

Aimless Writer said...

First three paragraphs are back story. Cut.
I am also confused as to whose story this is. Ben? (I'm guessing because you talked about him first) or Kat because there's more information on her.
Either way pick the main character and give me conflict, goal and motivation. The best way to do this is to do it in 3 sentences and then expand from there.
Good luck!

susie said...

A posted query has caught my eye. I am a Lit Agent, accepting new clients. How do I contact the author of the query entitled
"Wilder Times"
Thank you,

Rick Daley said...

Hi Susan,

I am the site moderator, thank you for stopping by. There's a chance that the author for this query (Wilder Times) has subscribed to comments on this post and will get an email with your comment. I will put up a special post, hopefully the author will be able to get in touch with you.