Jul 1, 2010

Query- Liquid Smoke

Twenty-one-year-old Jenna Reece is the most supernaturally protected person on the planet. And she has no idea why.

When she was too young to remember, Jenna was involved in a fatal car crash with her mother. She should have died. But her mother begged God to take her instead, to leave Jenna safe and protected. God upheld his end of the bargain as Jenna emerged from the fatal crash unscathed and continued to escape from countless close calls and near-death experiences. Now little Jenna is all grown up and bound by God to pay her mother's debt.

After her twenty-first birthday, Jenna returns from summer break to her junior year in college and instantly falls for Seth, a newly enrolled senior, but soon finds his troubling past may be too much for her to handle.

Jenna finds out Seth was transferred to Western Washington University through the Witness Protection Agency because his father witnessed a murder that took place twenty years ago. A car crash, made to look like an accident. The very car crash Jenna survived.

When his cover is blown, Jenna and Seth race against time to uncover the mystery surrounding the fatal crash and the key to Jenna's supernatural protection is revealed.

My novel, entitled Liquid Smoke, is a young adult fantasy complete at 75,000 words. I would be happy to forward the manuscript upon request.

Cordially,

Julie Huerta

5 comments:

Michelle Massaro said...

Your hook is pretty good! Here are a couple things that beg me to comment on:

* "God upheld his end of the bargain"= what bargain? What can be offered to God in a bargain? He's God. I don't think "bargain" is the right word choice here. Perhaps "God showed mercy and spared Jenna. She emerged unscathed... etc."

*It seems odd that Jenna would encounter "countless close calls and near-death experiences." Whaa? Is this because someone is trying to kill her? After all this time? Does this imply she was the target of the murder attempt when she was "too young to remember"? It just gives me pause is all.

*You can skip the details about her birthday and summer break and junior year. Just go straight for Jenna falling in love with Seth (it doesn't matter that he's a senior). I'd also scratch the word "instantly". There's no way to fall in love instantly. So perhaps:

"Jenna falls in love with the new guy on campus, Seth, but his troubling past may be too much for her to handle."

*It doesn't matter what college they go to. Condense, condense, condense.

"Seth is under Witness Protection because his father was a witness to a murder twenty years prior- a car crash, made to look like an accident. The very car crash Jenna survived."

* When his cover is blown, Jenna and Seth race against time to uncover the mystery surrounding the fatal crash and the key to Jenna's supernatural protection is revealed.

I would take out "is revealed" at the end of that last sentence. Instead of telling us the results, you leave us with the action. I think I'd also change "when his cover is blown" to "With is cover blown," or even just "His covenr blown,"

All in all, this looks like an interesting story and the query is pretty good. Just needs a bit of tightening up IMO. Good job!

Anonymous Author said...

Now, wait. Why is Seth "under witness protection"? It's his father who witnessed the crash, not him, and it was a very long time ago.

When I ask why... please don't tell me the answer. Your query raised the question. Your query should answer it. If something is too complicated to explain in the query, don't mention it in the first place. Because you can be sure that an agent or editor will wonder about this, and it will just make it look like your story hasn't been carefully planned out.

I'm not religious, but I had the same problem that Michelle had about God. He's not traditionally in the habit of making deals; that's more the Devil's bailwick. I think your best solution is to take God out of the query. He just confuses things.

Dan Ritchie said...

This is good but it needs fine tuning.

I'll suggest getting rid of the opening paragraph, because most of the information is redundant. being 21 years old isn't the most important thing we need to know, and that's listed later.

We know what you mean when you say she was in a fatal car crash, but it's easy to think, if it was fatal, she'd be dead.

RCWriterGirl said...

I agree with the others. The overall pitch is pretty good but it requires some tightening.

--It's too long. Cut details that aren't necessary.
--the God stuff doesn't make sense in the context of the query. It seems like the mother is bargaining with God and somehow does this in the split second before she dies. On a most basic level, that seems far-fetched. If there is a reasonable way to explain this, it takes too long for a query. Cut all the stuff about bargains/pacts with God out.
--Instead, go with: "When she was too young to remember, Jenna was involved in a fatal car crash with her mother. She should have died. She didn't. Instead, she was mysteriously protected. Jenna emerged from the fatal crash unscathed and continued to escape from countless close calls and near-death experiences. Now little Jenna is all grown up, but her mysterious good fortune may be running out."
-I agree with others. The name of the college and the year they are in school isn't necessasry. Go straight into she meets Seth and falls in love. Then she learns his father witnessed Jenna's mother's murder--which had been made to look like a fatal car crash.

Anyway, this sounds like a really interesting story. Keep the query to the most important details, and it will shine.

MitMoi said...

I like your first paragraph. It's a great hook.

However, 'involved in a fatal car crash with her mother' is a poorly constructed sentence. She didn't crash into her mother and kill her, did she?

Typically you'd write "the deer was in a fatal crash with a car".

A cleaner sentence is, "Jenna and her mother were in a car crash. Her mother begged God to take her life and let Jenna live." (which is still slightly awkward)

Best of luck!