Jun 7, 2010

Query-A Troll Wife's Tale

Dear agent (snip name)

I took stock of my injuries. I hadn't even been on the job a month and I had 14 bruises, a concussion, multiple cuts and abrasions, a broken bone, and now, a gunshot wound. Being a tooth fairy shouldn't be this hard.

So opens my 95,000 word urban fantasy novel, A Troll Wife's Tale.

When Troll Wife first becomes a tooth fairy, all she can see are the good things. She has a steady job. She's making friends. Best of all are the tooth fairy wings and flying.

After a few days, she starts to see the problems. She's racking up an impressive number of on the job injuries. Her friends only accept her because they can't tell she's a troll while she's wearing the wings. The wings take away her troll ability to smell a person's character and emotions.

She notices that going even a day without wearing the wings makes her irritable. Are the wings addictive? If so, why?

It seems that tooth fairies also have enemies. Oubliette, the most efficient soldier in the human/fae war hundreds of years ago, hasn't given up fighting the war against the humans.

Tooth fairies keep the peace pact with humans and Oubliette wants to end that pact. Oubliette seems determined to convince Troll Wife of the dangers of humans. If Oubliette is right, is the peace pact actually destroying all the fae?

When a homeless boy that Troll Wife has befriended loses his first tooth, Troll Wife has to make sure he keeps the pact before Oubliette catches up to him.

(snip reason I'm submitting to this agent)


Piedmont Writer said...

I totally love the opening paragraph! And truthfully I think you should do the whole query in this voice.

Opening paragraph...(and then)

My name is Troll Wife. When I first became the tooth fairy I could only see the good things, a steady job, a few friends, and best of all, the tooth fairy wings and the flying.

But after a few days, I began to see the problems. Etc. etc.

I would also move the sentence...
A TROLL'S WIFE'S TALE is a complete 95,000 urban fantasy. down to the end, and then closing remarks.

Now to me, it also sounds like it's MG or YA so you might consider putting 'adult' urban fantasy.

Also, I would also take out the questions. "Are the wings addictive?" and instead say, "I think the wings are addictive."

"If Obliette is right, the peace pact could be destroying all the fae."

Grat job. Best of luck with this.

Suzi McGowen said...

@Piedmont Writer

Thank you for the kind words and the advice. I have to admit, originally I had planned on writing the whole (story part) of the letter in character.

However, when doing my research on query letters, that seemed to be a pretty common "no no", so now I'm torn :)

Maybe I'll send it out both ways, some agents will get in character and some won't.

Piedmont Writer said...

Suzi, if you're going to switch the queries up, I would send out to my B-list agents first, to see which ones grab it. IF you get more interest in the ones in 'character' I'd send those to my A-list agents. Play them all against each other. Who knows, you might have an agent fight.

I really like this character a lot. and as for what the industry blogs say, I think, as with everything else, it's just a matter of opinion. However, I know, the first thing that caught my eye on the blog roll was the 'voice'. If I were an agent, I would so want to read more of this. Good luck.

Jolene said...

Fun premise. I was absolutely intrigued after the first paragraph.

Suzi McGowen said...

Jolene, thank you. I think it's a good hook, I just hope the book lives up to it :)

Suzi McGowen said...

Piedmont Writer, excellent idea! Thank you!

Dan Ritchie said...

I'd probably request chapters on the strength of the opening hook, I only skimmed over the rest.

John said...

Excellent! I would totally read on. Just one question: What age group are you shooting for? The inclusion of the homeless boy suggests that he could be a tie-in to young readers. But kids often lose their first tooth around age seven, which is probably too young for a text with words like concussion, abrasion and Oubliette. Kids tend to read about kids the same age as themselves or older, but not younger, so featuring a character that age might make it hard to interest older kids. And PW points out the 95K, which might be long if it is in fact geared towards middle grade or younger.

Anyway, I think you've got something really good going here, and I urge you to keep at it.

Suzi McGowen said...

Hi Dan,
Thank you for the kind words about the opening hook. I'm glad you told me you skimmed over the rest. I'll work on making that more compelling :)

Suzi McGowen said...

Hi John,

Good question. I think of it as an adult novel, but I know the whole tooth fairy thing instantly makes people think YA or even MG.

It may end up being a deal killer, in which I'll just to have to live with my choices. Next time I'll include "who's my audience" before I start writing :)

Falen said...

i love the voice in the first paragraph and agree the voice needs to be carried throughout the rest of the query.

However you are right in that a query written in the character's POV is typically a death sentance.

BUT all that said, it's a common (and useful) technique to write the whole query in 1st person and then just go through and change it to third. So you'd end up with something like:

Troll Wife hadn't even been on the job a month and she had 14 bruises, a concussion, multiple cuts and abrasions, a broken bone, and a gunshot wound. WHo would have thought being a tooth fairy'd be so hard?
Troll Wife thought the new, steady job would lead to new friends, fairy wings and flying...

Problem solved, voice intact

If that makes sense

Suzi McGowen said...

@Falen That's an elegant solution! Thank you :)