Jun 29, 2010

QUERY: LYNETTE RAIN: THE RAIN LEGACY

Dear [Agent],


Lynette’s never benefitted from constantly breaking the rules set down by the strict religious Continent of Arydnea- until she eavesdrops on a conversation regarding a plot to murder her family. It may be too late for her father, but she grabs her sister, a sword, and a box she can’t open, and steals away in the night to escape the same fate.

But Lynette can’t keep running forever. As the female descendant of a hero of the Goddess, Lynette must take up the hero’s mantle. Never mind she’s thirteen. Never mind she doesn’t know how to swing a sword. Never mind the murderer is the king’s best friend, or he’s got the royal army with him. And never mind he has six hundred years of experience, because Lynette’s going to up the playing field.

If the Goddess expects miracles from Lynette, then the feeling’s mutual.

LYNETTE WALKER: THE RAIN LEGACY is a 40,000 word middle grade fantasy novel. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely
[My name]

5 comments:

RCWriterGirl said...

This sounds like an action-packed middle grade book, which is good.

The query left me a little confused. I feel like there's too much going on in it. You're trying to convey a lot of information in a few sentences, but it's too much. I think you'd do better with shorter sentences that say one thing, rather than these complex sentences I have to re-read to figure out their meaning.

You want to convey Lynette is a rule breaker. Just say that. "Lynette is a rule breaker. She overhears a plot to murder her family while eavesdropping." That's two sentences that convey the same thing that one very long sentence that has to be reread conveyed.

Then, in the next sentence, you say, "It may be too late for her father, but she grabs her sister..." This construction doesn't work. It doesn't follow. What would follow is: "It may be too late for her father, but it's not too late for Lynette." Then you would say, "She grabs her sister, a sword...."

In the second paragraph, you've got Lynette can't keep running forever--well, clearly not. The real question, is: would she be chased forever? Most people, you go into hiding and the people forget about you. It's not so clear from this what is so special about Lynette that people would keep chasing her. Or if you can't explain that, then certainly make it clear that these people who are chasing her won't rest until she's dead. So, she has to mount a fight.

Lastly, I don't know who the Goddess is, who the King is, or who the murderer is. These terms are meaningless and confusing if not explained. Was the King Lynette's father--was he murdered by his best friend? Is he a separate King who has the money and wherewithall to chase after Lynette? Again, why? She's 13. Why does he care if she lives or dies? What does he lose if Lynette keeps living?

Queries are tough because you have to give enough information for people to understand the story, but not so little that they are confused or don't care. That's not easy to do.

What you have here is just very confusing because there's not enough information to make sense of it.

I would suggest you ask yourself:
-what does lynette want?
-what obstacle is preventing lynette from getting that?
-what happens if lynette can't overcome that obstacle?

Answer those questions and those questions alone. Go back to your query, make sure it answers those questions. If there is information that doesn't relate to that, get rid of it. Then, see your query stands.

I feel like I don't know what's at stake for lynette. And that's the one thing I should come away from a query knowing.

Best of luck.

RC

Michelle Massaro said...

Your story sounds fun and exciting! But I think this query needs to be cleaner and more focused. There are some words you can definitely cut out. Here are my suggestions:

Dear [Agent],

[Your original opening confused me. Does Lynette usually break the rules or not?]

Lynette’s sneaking around at the strict religious Continent of Arydnea just might save her life when she discovers a plot to murder her family. Unfortunately, it may be too late for her father. But she grabs her sister, a sword, and a box she can’t open, and steals away in the night to escape the same fate.

Lynette knows she can’t keep running forever. Because of her ancestry, Lynette is expected to take up the hero’s mantle. Never mind she’s thirteen. Never mind she doesn’t know how to swing a sword. Never mind the murderer is the king’s best friend, or that he’s got the royal army with him. And never mind he has six hundred years of experience- because Lynette’s going to level the playing field. (She's about to XYZ).[you UP the ante or the stakes, you LEVEL the playing field. The phrases don't make sense when mixed. And you need to introduce the BIG THING that she's gonna do.]

If the Goddess wants miracles from Lynette, then the feeling’s mutual. [want is a feeling, expectation is not]
***
I still don't like the second line of the second paragraph. It's too much of a mouthful. But I tried to trim it somehow for example. I also would like to see the "Box" mentioned again as it seems important.

Hope this helps! Sounds fun!

Michelle Massaro said...

RCWriter,
I think the key to some of those questions lies with the sentence about Lynette's ancestry. It tells me that she is special, important to the Goddess, and therefore automatically has a target on her back.

I believe what she wants (initially) is simply to save her family. Her obstacle is being hunted by everyone (supposedly to keep her from fulfilling her destiny as the Goddess' hero). I agree this could be expounded on more though. If she fails she'll die and then perhaps the whole world (or her part of it) will fall into corrupt hands (again perhaps we could be clearer on what will happen exactly).

I see her character's story arc going from concern about her sister and herself, to the fate of her known world resting on her shoulders. I like that. And I think it's fairly clear.

What I see as problematic are some of the sentence structure and some missing detail- the box's importance, and how she plans to level the playing field. I do agree that the stakes could be a little clearer though.

Anyway, I just meant to offer my perspective on the questions you raised, not argue with you or anything. =)

Dan Ritchie said...

I got hung up on the first sentence, trying to figure of it "Lynette's" is possessive or a contraction of "Lynette is", and neither was right.

Rick Daley said...

Lynette has = Lynnette's