Mar 26, 2009

REVISION 1-Query-Larkin Shift and the Hall of Two Truths

Click here to read the original query.
A second revision of this query has been posted. Click here to read it.

Agent information,

Larkin Shift doesn’t want to be different. She doesn’t want to develop her magical powers, but they seem to have a mind of their own. She feels like a danger to everyone around her and the one person that can help her, Mr. Amurat has disappeared into Duat, the Egyptian underworld, leaving it up to her and her three friends to get him back safely. But the rescue mission comes with an unexpected consequence—one of their deaths.

As the myth goes, Ra travels through Duat at night reviving the recently deceased to make their journey to final judgment. When Ra’s light temporarily revives Benny, Larkin’s deceased friend, he has only hours until his condition becomes permanent unless she uses her unique abilities to make it to the Hall of Two Truths where she must face an omnipotent nemesis, thwart a plot against her, and overcome an unexpected betrayal—all before the next sunrise.

“Larkin Shift and the Hall of Two Truths” is a 45,000 word middle grade novel. Thank you for your consideration.

Thanks to the couple of people who left comments. I would love to hear if you feel this is more clear than the previous version because I definitely don't want to lose a potential agent because of confusion. I'm really glad I posted.

As for the change from YA/middle grade, I am really targeting the early teens (12, 13) and am having a hard time differentiating. Some sources say the genre is based on the age of the main character (13, in my case), but, to me, the story feels like intelligent middle grade.


lucy in the sky said...

I got the idea that it was targeted more for 10-11 year olds, mainly because of the length and the fact that the adult is called Mister. Still don't know who Mr. Amurat is. If I had to guess, I'd think he was a teacher at Larkin's school. If you can work in a way to explain why Larkin has magical powers that would probably also help.

Unknown said...

He is a teacher at her school. Correct.

And the why isn't in there, because she initially doesn't know why. The truth about who she is, is something she has to figure out along the way.

I'd say that the reading level might be too steep for a 10-year-old. At least, that age group is younger than I have in mind while I'm writing.

Unknown said...

And Lucy, do you think this one is better? More clear?

Thanks again for your help.

lucy in the sky said...

The idea behind the query, as I understand it, is to tell the agent whatever they need to know in order to decide if the story is something they want to represent. In that capacity it might be better to include why Larkin has magical powers in the query, even though that is not revealed until later in the story. This is just my opinion, so it's better to go with your instincts because it's your story.

I do think this one is better, but I liked "innate magical powers with a mind of their own" in the first paragraph on your original query. Maybe you could combine the two somehow.

Hope this helps.

Marissa Miranda said...

I echo Lucy's sentiment that hearing about what the powers are exactly would help the reader connect to the query more.

Also, I think that aiming this at Middle Grade will probably work better for you. The publisher may choose to market it to older teens if the reading level is high, but few teens want to read books about 12/13 year olds, so trying to publish it as a YA book would be hard. (I've heard people say the protagonist should be 2 years older than your target audience.)

Also, if you want to see if the writing style is too difficult for middle grade, try checking the reading level of it. You can do this on Microsoft Word (I don't know how to set it up, but you can google it) or on Google Docs ( and paste in your file and then use wordcount and it will tell you the reading level).

I like this query a lot more than the last one though. I still wonder who Mr. Amurat is, but having the friends just called friends is MUCH clearer. I think you've almost got a perfect query now!

Unknown said...

Thanks, Marissa. It's still a "work in progress" and I have a much more detailed one now that I may post for a final what d'ya think?

I am glad you see it as middle-grade, too, because that's my gut, really.

I do have a YA project outlined but it is realistic and deals with much more complicated and serious issues. THAT one feels like YA for sure, to me.

Thanks for your input!