Jun 25, 2011


Dear Agent,

To escape the blame surrounding the death of her high school love, seventeen-year-old Jillian takes the ultimate bribe from her manipulative mother: Come to Scotland, survive senior year alone, and ‘heal’.

But Jillian doesn’t go to Scotland alone. With her she takes a mysterious voice that spews cryptic nonsense. Even with The Voice Jillian feels more alone than ever. Her solitude ends only when a different voice coaxes her into drinking an elixir labeled ‘drync’ the old English word for drink and sends her to a world that could have been drawn with side-walk chalk.

It is there she meets Grimace: a gargoyle she pulls straight from his own purgatory and back into her own world. At last Jillian believes she has a friend she can relate to but Grimace has unfinished business on earth and to keep Jillian safe he must first put her life in great danger.

GRIMACE is a paranormal YA complete at xx,xxx words.

Thanks in advanced guys and thank you so much Rick!!


Rick Daley said...

This query has a lot of good things going for it: an interesting conflict, good word count, and it's precise.

I think it could start with a different hook. As I read it, I want to know more about the tragic death and why Jillian is to blame. Those questions cloud the rest of the query for me, because I'm expecting more details to emerge.

Does Jillian take the voice with her willingly, or is it something that follows her? The way I read it she purposefully takes it along. If that's not the case, consider revising that part for clarity.

I don't think you need to say "the old English word for drink..."

The last sentence of paragraph three hints at what I think would be the heart of the story...Grimace keeping her safe by putting her life in danger. I like this kind of conflict, but it's tacked onto the end too loosely. I think it could be re-purposed into an effective hook.

Good luck, and thanks for participating!!

Mark said...

I agree with everything Rick noted- nice work-

You have a great premise and strong query- some ideas-

1- As Rick noted- different hook- just a thought but how about starting out with something like "It wasn't her fault. Seventeen year old Gillian knew that. Her boy friend had been..."- Your first sentence is very good in that it is complete as a well-written sentence that gets me interested- but only after I read it the second time- make sense?- Anyway just a thought

2- did you intend to leave your word count blank? I have seen very good feedback from others on correct word count for genre- don't be afraid to post the real thing as you will get feedback on that- good or bad- and if your word count is off for your genre then I think that is a quick kiss of death for anyone considering your query-

Hope this helps, best of luck!

Anonymous Author said...

Anglo-Saxon (or Old English) is a tough language... full of inflections we no longer use. So various forms of "drynce" are nouns, but the verb would be some form of "bedrincan". Best left alone, especially since in Scotland, they didn't speak it.

I'm confused by "survive senior year alone". The word "come" suggests her mother lives in Scotland and that she'd be staying with her. "Senior year" suggests she'll be attending school. So it's not really clear what "alone" means in the context of the query.

Also, who died to set off events and what does it have to do with the voice and Jillian's later situation? What do you mean by a world that could've been drawn with sidewalk chalk?

Try to be as precise as possible in the rewrite.

Mara Daniel said...

Thank you all for the feedback so far. I'm compiling a list of notes based off your posts. I left out the word count because I'm at the editing stage and it changes daily. I estimate my manuscript will be anywhere from 63k-70k words when completed. In my experience that wouldn't be a deal breaker but thank you so much for mentioning it.

Anonymous said...

Um. It seems odd that I'm the first person pointing this out, but... Grimace? Yeah?

Otherwise, I think Mark and Rick have got good points, but I would stop reading at Grimace.