Thursday, October 13, 2011

QUERY CRITIQUE #3: SPRING TIDE

(Original in blue; revisions in red, and comments in black)

Dear Ms. Kate Kaynak

Dear Ms. Kaynak,

When using Mr. or Ms. in the salutation, don't include the first name.

I am a huge fan of author Jennifer Armentrout and Spencer Hill Press. I believe my paranormal YA novel may be a good fit for your list.

I moved the personalized info down to the end, but it's great to include it. Agents and editors wil know that you've done your research and are sending them something that fits. 

All sixteen year old Sarah Parker has to do is attend a party Friday night, pretend she's having fun and hope to catch a glimpse of her long time crush, Marcus David.

Instead she saves the party's host from near death, battles an alien called an "Outsider" and wakes up in hospital. So much for kicking butt.

All sixteen year old Sarah Parker has to do is attend a party Friday night, pretend she's having fun, and hope to catch a glimpse of her long time crush, Marcus David. Instead she saves the party's host from near death, battles an alien called an "Outsider," and wakes up in the hospital.

So much for kicking butt.

I love the sense of narrative voice that comes through in these opening lines. I've made a couple of minor changes--adding Oxford commas and switching around the paragraph breaks to emphasize the final line. I added a "the" before "hospital" to Americanize the terminology, which might be inaccurate if the story is set in Britain. 

Even though the entire school thinks she's a freak, hunkilicious Marcus still hangs out with Sarah. Sarah hopes her crush will soon turn into something more...but soon discovers Marcus has a few secrets of his own. Like he's always around to protect her when the Outsiders return.

Even though the entire school thinks she's a freak, hunkalicious Marcus still hangs out with Sarah. Sarah hopes her crush will turn into something more... but soon discovers Marcus has a few secrets of his own--like the reason he's always around to protect her when the Outsiders return.

I removed the repeated "soon" from the middle sentence and revised the ending, since the fragment was a bit ambiguous, and I changed the spelling of "hunkalicious," although I'm not 100% sure there IS a correct spelling (although there should be).

When Marcus is accused of murdering a fellow student, Sarah must decide whether love is worth fighting for while unravelling the mystery of her own destiny.

I don't think the last sentence really gives the sense of intensity of the conflict. It's not that she needs to decide whether or not to fight; it's HOW she chooses to do these things. I took a guess as to that; feel free to revise if I'm off-base.

When Marcus is accused of murdering a fellow student, Sarah must fight to clear his name while unravelling the mystery of her own destiny.

I am a huge fan of author Jennifer Armentrout and Spencer Hill Press. I believe my paranormal YA novel may be a good fit for your list.

Spring Tide is complete at 55,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Sheritha

Well done! This query makes me want to read more. If we'd gotten it at Spencer Hill, I would've asked for pages. And, ahem, we open to queries on December 1st. 

4 comments:

Pamela DuMond, D.C. said...

This is so helpful, Kate. Thanks for doing this.

Deniz Bevan said...

Neat! It definitely makes me want to read more. I always love it when there's a romance element.

Sheritha said...

Aw Ms. Kaynak. I am working really hard to improve my writing and the plausibility of Spring Tide. And my lap top broke. But I plan on having my manuscript ready by December. Ps. I absolutely love SHP so I am not querying elsewhere.

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