Jan 10, 2011

Query - The Discovery of Lumina (revised, formerly The Paw Shake Portal)

Click here to read the original query.
Click here to read the first revision.
Click here to read the second revision.

Dear (Agent):

In the month of March, eleven-year-old Alex Locklin makes three significant discoveries. First, he learns that his family is moving in June. Then he realizes he’s growing apart from his two best friends. But his greatest discovery is a secret: the stray cat in his back yard and the new girl in his neighborhood are the same being.

Lumina reveals her half-cat, half-human identity to Alex in hopes that he can help her. She is a member of the royal cat family, and they are being threatened by an enemy army of cats called Alley Scratch. In order to gain the strength and endurance she needs to fight them, Lumina has to form a “bond of trust” with a human. The more their friendship grows, the stronger she will become.

Alex eagerly volunteers to form this bond, and as a result, he’s swept into the affairs of the far away Animal World. He helps Lumina investigate her sister’s suspicious boyfriend and attempts to make peace with aggressive animals. But the clock is ticking. Moving day is imminent, and so are Alley Scratch’s attacks on Lumina’s family. Although Lumina is energized by the bond, Alex refuses to stand idle. He will stop at nothing to protect his new friends… even if their days together are numbered.

THE DISCOVERY OF LUMINA is a middle grade novel complete at 30,000 words. (Reason for querying specific agent here.)

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,



(Author's note: I posted previous queries for the same book under its old title, The Paw Shake Portal. I realized that my last query didn't accurately reflect the most important points of my book, so this is a new angle on the same story. Any suggestions are appreciated!)

8 comments:

Anonymous Author said...

Hi. I'm the middle grades author who commented on your previous versions. It's a lot easier, in this version, to tell what the story is about.

Now I think you need to work on voice a little bit. An 11-year-old boy doesn't think he's growing apart from a friend, he thinks his friend is acting like a dork (or whatever the current word is).

Also, several things are stated more than once in your query. An example:

But the clock is ticking. Moving day is imminent, and so are Alley Scratch’s attacks on Lumina’s family. Although Lumina is energized by the bond, Alex refuses to stand idle. He will stop at nothing to protect his new friends… even if their days together are numbered.

In that bit, you say three times in different ways that time is limited. Once is enough.

You also mention things that don't seem central to the plot-- Alex's friends, who are never mentioned again, and the sister's boyfriend, who seems to come out of left field. Focus on what's at stake for your MCs, and make us see why it matters.

Also, can you tell us something more about the Animal World other than that it's far away? (After all, so's China.) And could you perhaps think of another name for it? What do the animals call it?

N. Blank said...

I love it! Half-animal people are a favorite of mine.
The only question I have for you is why does he want to help her so much? Because he's intrigued by her? Because he likes her? If so, you need to mention what about Lumina (great name by the way) is so special to him.
A good query not only tells you what the plot is (which you do a great job at) but also what the characters are like. Why does Lumina think Alex will help him? Maybe he feeds her all the time and is a huge animal lover?

N. Blank said...

I just realized I had more than one question to ask in my last post. Haha

Anonymous Author said...

I wonder why my comment disappeared. It was up for a few hours, then gone.

Rick Daley said...

@ Anomymous Author- Very odd. I didn't delete the comment. I had it in email, so I'm re-posting here...

Hi. I'm the middle grades author who commented on your previous versions. It's a lot easier, in this version, to tell what the story is about.

Now I think you need to work on voice a little bit. An 11-year-old boy doesn't think he's growing apart from a friend, he thinks his friend is acting like a dork (or whatever the current word is).

Also, several things are stated more than once in your query. An example:

But the clock is ticking. Moving day is imminent, and so are Alley Scratch’s attacks on Lumina’s family. Although Lumina is energized by the bond, Alex refuses to stand idle. He will stop at nothing to protect his new friends… even if their days together are numbered.

In that bit, you say three times in different ways that time is limited. Once is enough.

You also mention things that don't seem central to the plot-- Alex's friends, who are never mentioned again, and the sister's boyfriend, who seems to come out of left field. Focus on what's at stake for your MCs, and make us see why it matters.

Also, can you tell us something more about the Animal World other than that it's far away? (After all, so's China.) And could you perhaps think of another name for it? What do the animals call it?

Dominique said...

This is much better than the previous versions I saw. I really feel like I understand the story, the stakes, and the deadlines. Good work.

Shelley Sly said...

Hi all! Thanks so much for your feedback! As usual, your comments are a huge help. :)

I will take everything you all have suggested into consideration. The trouble is that my query is already on the long side, so explaining more is hard to do. Luckily, it seems there's a bit I can cut (I notice and agree that I have some repetitive phrases) so maybe I can squeeze some new information in there.

Thanks again, I'll start revising soon. :)

Teralyn Rose Pilgrim said...

It's perfect, except that I like the first paragraph you used in your original query better than the one you have now.

I don't think it's necessary to explain why he and the cat have a relationship. That needs to be in the story, but it's enough for us to know in the query that he wants to help her.