May 4, 2010

Query- Little Nightmares

Dear Agent,

I am seeking representation for my 70,000 word YA URBAN FANTASY novel Little Nightmares.

You’d think it would be safe to explore a haunted house when your two best friends are horror stories themselves. Seline Crier finds out differently.

All her life Seline Crier has been ostracized from her family and society because of one little ability. She’s a telekinetic. And when she meets Dmitri, a forty year old vampire trapped in the body of a twelve year old, and Omega, a fledgling werewolf on the eave of his first transformation, she thinks she might be able to pull her family back together again. She just has to brave the horrors of the Wickham House first.

Inside the Wickham House Seline’s life complicates even further as she’s almost scared to death by the House’s two friendly haunts, almost torn apart by Omega, and drawn into a plot to kill Dmitri that will change her life forever. Seline uses her powers to stop the monster threatening her friends, and earns its wrath when she proves unable to kill it. Now Seline must rush to her home before the monster can arrive ahead of her, and take away any chance she ever has of fixing her family and earning their love.
Little Nightmares will appeal to the fans of both paranormal and horror genres. I am a student of history at Concord University and have one prior publication with Concord University’s publication Reflexes.

I would be happy to forward the complete manuscript to you upon your request, and I thank you for your time and consideration.

Ryan M. Smith


Anonymous said...

While there are some language issues in the query itself that need work (e.g. "when your two best friends are horror stories themselves" is a bit vague), I think the biggest problem I have are the elements not adding up to YA for me. Or middle grade. I don't really know what to think, honestly.

Let me explain.

First, how old is Seline? If she's under 13, you've probably got a MG novel on your hands; the rule of thumb is that readers tend to read "up," and so they'll be most interested in a character older than they are.

Lets say Seline is 14; that still could leave you in lower YA territory, if age were the only consideration. Then you have a teen girl being best friends with a middle aged manpire stuck in a pre-pubescent body. That...doesn't work for me.

I know that you're not peddling a romance, here, but even if she just happens to have that 40-yr-old-manpire best still doesn't work for me. Since your plot absolutely reads middle grade to me (with the talk of monsters and friendly haunts and such), I'd recommend making Seline 13 at the oldest, and rephrasing the vampire BFF as "a 12 year old boy who has been undead for 40 years [or 100, or whatever], and then moving onto the language in your query. I think you have a good idea, here, and if you tweak those issues, could have something promising to query with. GL!

SJDuvall said...

I agree with Anonymous, but I'd like to add that the wording of "on the eave of..." should be "eve."

SJDuvall said...

Also, the genre doesn't need to be in all caps, but perhaps you should do that with your novel's title.

Ruth Donnelly said...

This sounds like an interesting story, but I found the query confusing. It left me with a lot of unanswered questions: How is exploring a haunted house going to bring Seline's family together? Is her family really torn apart, or is it just Seline who is ostracized? How old is she? If she's ostracized from her family, who does she live with? I also don't get why she's plotting to kill Dmitri if he's one of her best friends? I think you need to clarify the connection between the mc's motivation, the antagonist, and her actions.