Jul 8, 2009

Query-A Profusion of Want

Click here to read the first revision (Retitled as KINGMAKER).
Click here to read the sample pages.
Click here to read the second revision (KINGMAKER).

Dear [Agent],

When sixteen-year-old Shale Peterson really wants something to happen, it does. That’s how she wins every competition she enters, from tennis to chess. According to her soon-to-be stepfather Grey, it’s also the reason her mother Leah is still alive long after doctors say that a brain tumor should have killed her. Shale admires Grey, the head of an international corporation and the only person she’s ever known as strong-willed as she is. But she mistrusts him too—because he seems to care more about becoming Shale’s father than becoming Leah’s husband.

Bit by bit, Shale’s doubts melt away as Grey draws her into his world of power and possibilities, of duty and privilege—a world hidden in plain sight and filled with people who believe that willpower and magic are one and the same—a world which, unbeknownst to Shale, Grey intends for her to one day rule. Shortly after Grey and Leah leave on their honeymoon an attempt on Shale’s life lands her in the hospital, and repeated covert attacks after she is released prove that she’s not safe anywhere—and worse, that she can’t trust anyone. What galvanizes Shale to action, however, is not fear for her own life but for her mother’s: because Grey and Leah have disappeared on their honeymoon and Leah is still very sick.

Uncertain of whether her strong will really is a form of magic, Shale must overcome an unfamiliar enemy, doubt—because, magic or not, the only thing she can rely on now is her considerable willpower. With it, she’s going to lay a trap for her mysterious assassin, and she's going to ensure that they can never touch her again. With it, she is going to get Leah back.

And if they've hurt her mother? Shale is going to burn their world down.

A PROFUSION OF WANT is a young adult novel, complete at 80,000 words.


Rick Daley said...

I really liked this. If I wanted to be nit-picky I could probably dig in and find a few things, but I don't want to be nit-picky. I want to read pages ;-)

It has voice, clarity, and a well-outlined plot. Good luck!

Regan Kirk said...


Lori Folkman said...

Good job! Sounds like a great book! My nit-pick would be the word galvanize. I didn't seem to fit with rest of the query. But other than that, I think you have a winner!

Becke Davis said...

Wow -- I would definitely read this.

Beth C. said...

Very strong query letter! One of the best I've seen on here.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

This a very strong. I know the character and the problem without having to sort it out. I would want to read sample pages after seeing this.
Minor stuff: I would tighten a little. Don't think you need "bit by bit" or "duty and privilege," because that's a very long sentence.
In the next sentence, I suggest a period after "hospital" and new sentence "Repeated attacks after.."
Really an excellent job. You should get interest in this, for sure.

Jabez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jabez said...

This is a really good query, but I think it would be even better with more detail and specificity in the second paragraph. For instance, what form does this attempt on her life take? What about the other covert attacks? And this "other world" -- what is it that she sees, exactly? Billionaires who can manipulate the stock market by thinking about it? People who can heal a sprained ankle after a squash match? Is there some kind of organization that her stepfather wants her to eventually lead?

I just felt like more detail would be helpful. Of course, the very fact I'm intrigued enough to want to know more means your query is succeeding already.

One final comment: Does you main character call her mother by her first name? Because that was the sense I got from your repeated use of "Leah."

Regan Kirk said...

Thanks so much for everyone's comments! You're all great.

Anonymous said...

Great job! This is an excellent query. Let us know what happens with it!

Suzan Harden said...

Regan, I'm SOOO not picking nits here because your voice really shines.

Your word choice and rhythm are what defines "voice." If the ms "sounds" just like your query, send it. Now!

Break a leg! And let us know when you get a deal.

Regan Kirk said...

Thanks again to everyone who replied. If you're interested, Rick was kind enough to post the first five pages of PROFUSION also in the slushpile (http://openquery.blogspot.com/2009/07/sample-pages-profusion-of-want.html).

Rick Daley said...

Go read the pages, they're good!

Julie said...

This sounds really interesting! I want to read it! I thought the word unbeknown was a little awkward and I got stuck at that point and had to reread the sentence. That's all I really had. Love your title. I am having the hardest time right now coming up with a title.

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