Thursday, September 30, 2010

3 Query Letter #12

Query Letter #12
Dawn Malone
THE UPSIDE OF DOWN
Contemporary MG

Dear Ms. LaPolla,

I’m looking for an agent for THE UPSIDE OF DOWN, my contemporary middle-grade novel of 41,000 words, and thought you might be a good fit given your preference for literary coming-of-age-stories.

Meet fourteen-year-old basketball all-star Hobart “Hobo” Crane, who discovers a runaway named Up living in a spruce tree on an empty city lot. At first, Up’s big, bad attitude irritates Hobo as Hobo tries to help him. Gradually the boys form a tentative bond. Each sees in the other what they crave the most − for Hobo it’s a life without boundaries and for Up, it’s someone to trust.

With Up on his mind, Hobo grows increasingly impatient with everyone’s expectations that he’ll help take his team to the State finals. Hobo’s father, a former high school all-star, heaps the pressure on Hobo. Adding to Hobo’s problems is Cherry Chiavetti, the nosy neighbor girl with a Jupiter-sized crush on Hobo, whose constant presence is unavoidable as she helps Mrs. Crane open the new family bakery.

As school and home life pressure grows, Hobo’s connection to Up deepens. Suddenly Hobo is sneaking food to his friend at night, skipping practice to care for Up when he’s sick, and plotting to help Up continue his journey to Florida to find a long-lost sister. Hobo’s plans take an unexpected turn when a mysterious fire destroys Up’s hideout.

About me, I was awarded runner-up for an SCBWI Work-in-Progress grant in 2007 for my other middle-grade manuscript, THE NATURE OF ME. I’ve written stories for Highlights for Children, Babybug, and Pockets, as well as hundreds of articles for newspapers. I am also a network representative for the IL-SCBWI chapter.

May I send you the manuscript? Thank you for considering this. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

Dawn Malone

3 comments:

  1. Dawn,

    Excellent summary, and your bio ROCKS. Nice. I'd only adjust the opening and closing paragraphs. Here's the thing, you shouldn't say anything obvious. She knows you hope she decided to represent you. She knows you would like to send it to her. So you don't say that. It will feel more streamlined and professional without that. A simple thank you for your consideration, I look forward to hearing from you, will work. It's good to personalize, where you tell her why you chose to send to her, just cut the "I'm looking for an agent" part.

    Bravo, it truly sounds like a wonderful book, and it isn't even my genre, so I'd say you did well capturing my attention. Best of luck to you! Go get 'em!

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  2. I agree with Lisa's comments, but also, the whole "Meet fourteen-year-old..." doesn't sit well with me. I'd prefer it to start "Fourteen-year-old basketball all-star Hobart...discovers a runaway... -- of course this is only my opinion and someone may feel differently.

    You could edit this sentence so that you don't have two Hobo-s so close together--->"At first, Up’s big, bad attitude irritates Hobo as Hobo tries to help him."

    And this ---> "Adding to Hobo’s problems is Cherry Chiavetti, the nosy neighbor girl with a Jupiter-sized crush on Hobo, whose constant presence is unavoidable as she helps Mrs. Crane open the new family bakery." Could be changed to this ---> Adding to Hobo's problems is Cherry Chiavetti, the nosy neighbor girl with a Jupiter-sized crush on Hobo. Her constant presence is unavoidable since she's helping Mrs. Crane open the new family bakery.

    Thinking about that line, how does opening the bakery put Cherry around Hobo constantly?

    Remove "About me" in the last paragraph. And also remove "May I send you the manuscript?"

    That's all I have and this is only my opinion. Otherwise, I think the rest of it rocks! Good luck! :D

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm with Brenda on the "Meet" and "About me" and "May I send you the manuscript?" Delete/rewrite as needed.

    Your story sounds good. I might mention the runaway's age, though, so we get some hint about the character.

    I think you could tighten just a little more--the query is good, but a little wordy: "Adding to Hobo’s problems is" and "With Up on his mind" don't add anything to the letter, so I'd trim them off.

    Good luck!

    ReplyDelete

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