Oct 21, 2010

Query- Anti-Boys

Dear Agent,

America Van Roy has had enough of boys. After having her heart broken one last time, she decides to go without guys for a year, complete with a set of rules. However, after an accident involving a PE class and a flying football lands her in a very dizzy situation, America is rescued by a knight in shining armor. End of romantic story, right?

Wrong. Caleb Bartlette, the new kid in school, who everyone can't get enough of, tries every trick in the book to get America's attention, but she's not caving. Even though she finds him charming, handsome, and impossible to avoid, America won't show anyone what's going on inside her broken heart. Only when their new friendship is threatened by a stubborn parent, who wants to pick up and move away, will America be convinced to tell the truth.

In 63,000 words, my Young Adult novel, Anti-Boys, tells the story of a girl who has to learn to trust again, after many cruel heart breaks. Some of the best Young Adult novels are written by people who are young adults themselves. As a college sophomore, I find it easy to capture their emotions and tell a realistic story. Although this is my second novel, I am currently unpublished. I hope young adult readers will fall in love with the characters of Anti-Boys and find themselves able to relate to America's problems.

Thank you for taking the time to read my letter, and I hope I have captured your interest.


Anonymous Author said...

Okay, this is a pretty good start. I find the character's name distracting-- particularly in phrases such as "America's problems".

There are places where your language obscures what actually happened. Shoot for clarity. For example:

However, after an accident involving a PE class and a flying football lands her in a very dizzy situation, America is rescued by a knight in shining armor.

Do you mean she got hit on the head with a football, got concussion, and was dizzy? And then he helped her to the nurse's office? Better just to say so. Otherwise the reader is distracted by the need to figure out what you mean, and will expect to be doing the same with your manuscript.

As for your final paragraph, mm. I've said this before-- it seems not to be the done thing anymore to point out how young you are. When I submitted my first manuscript at 16, stating my age got me way more attention and much nicer rejections. But that was a much gentler world; one in which people gave a #$%&. I wish those days weren't gone. But many, many agents' and editors' blog postings on just this subject seem to indicate that they are.

(How'd that work out for me? Well, I sold my first novel at age 39. :p)

Oh, and don't capitalize Young Adult, unless you abbreviate it to YA.

Joy D. Fanning said...

I find the name America distracting too. I had to read it several times to make sure that was the characters name. As cool of a name as it is, it might not be the best for a novel. Or at least starting out your query with.

Also, I'm not sure you need to add the bit at the end. The "I'm a young adult so I can write for them." This makes sense and all, but it just kinda comes off as unprofessional to me. Maybe state what your majoring in and if it has any connection to your novel.

The Las Vegas Writer said...

For a first draft, this is pretty good.

I suggest editing your last paragraph a little though. Maybe try something like, "ANTI-BOYS is a completed work of young adult fiction at 63,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you soon." End it there. We already know what the novel is about from above if your query has done its job. The other fluff is a bit distracting. This is where you would insert credentials. If you don't have any, then don't put any.

I agree Anonymous and Joy. Your MC's first name can be confusing at times. Maybe give her a nick-name she goes by?

Good job :)

Hollie Sessoms said...

I hate to repeat what the previous comments have already stated, but the MC's name is extremely confusing. I had to re-read the first sentence a few times before I figured it out. I'm sure there's a good reason why that's her name, but . . . maybe it's not the best reason.

Also, I didn't understand the sentence, "End of romantic story, right?" because it seems like the beginning of a romantic story to me.

This may just be me, because I really, really like angst, but I would like to hear more about the broken heart that was so bad that she had to swear off boys for a year.

And I would ditch most of the third paragraph. You're telling about the story instead of showing the agent what the story is about. The bio is unnecessary, unless you have been previously published. As Janet Reid says on her Query Shark blog--you don't need credentials to write fiction.

This is such a great start. I wish you the best of luck!

Julie said...

I think this sounds really great and totally perfect for Contemporary YA, but I think you need to up stakes a little or if they are then somehow get that into the query to make it stand out. Every 15 year-old girl loves a good, "No way and I'm falling for him except I totally am," kinda story (me included!!).

"However, after an accident involving a PE class and a flying football lands her in a very dizzy situation"

You clarify this by saying, "After an incident with a flying football in gym class"

Great Job and keep writing and revising!!! :)