Thursday, September 30, 2010

2 Query Letter #2

Query Letter #2
Name: A. Grey
Title: Amarok and the Gone Missing Girl
Genre: Contemporary YA


Dear Ms. LaPolla,

Because you enjoy character-driven stories that are unique and engaging, I think that my 82,000 word Contemporary YA, AMAROK AND THE GONE MISSING GIRL, might be a good fit for your list.

Shy albino Ansel offers shelter to a runaway girl but she soon turns his secluded world upside down and his efforts to help her put him square in the public eye. Home alone when he discovers a traumatized girl in his parents shed, Ansel chooses to let her stay rather than call the police and cause a scene. What starts out as an attempt to avoid attention quickly turns into a personal crusade to help a girl he doesn’t know but is already beginning to love.

Catskin, as Ansel nicknames her, doesn’t seem to care about her own fate, but Ansel believes she can recover from her trauma and devotes himself to helping her sort out the fears she can’t, or won’t, explain to him. When a near drowning leaves Catskin hospitalized and unconscious, Ansel must conquer his own longstanding fear of exposure in order to make contact with her contentious past and the people in it. Which will mean somehow explaining to Catskin’s millionaire parents where she is and why she’s afraid of them.

I have been writing for sixteen years and have had two short stories published in ‘la Joie’ magazine. I have now written five novel length manuscripts.

I would be pleased to send you the entire manuscript for review. Thank you very much for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.


Best wishes,

A. Grey

2 comments:

  1. Great names and I can feel conflict and tension with a boy wanting to keep a secret about her. Maybe lose the "world upside down" because it is used a lot. The second line is a repeat, or you could start with that line! Won't exposure also mean showing Catskin to his own parents, or do his parents know? What will this mean for Ansel? Could he lose his love...

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  2. A. Grey - IMO this query is much improved - it has much more detail specific to your characters and plot to help the reader get a stronger sense of your story. Having said that, I think there may still be some room to make it even more effective. Of course, these are my subjective thoughts and you ultimately should go with your vision and gut instinct for your query. :)

    First, "Because you enjoy character-driven stories that are unique and engaging," sounds like information you obtained from somewhere - her bio? an interview? If it's in her bio or she's said it multiple places, leave it phrased as is. But if you read this in an interview or blog post, and it isn't something that you've read multiple times, I might consider referring to the source - ie, "As you stated on your blog..." or "As you stated during your interview at XYZ..."


    I'm not sure your log line is working - it still feels like a mouthful, and I think this may just be one of those stories that is so character-driven it is hard to come up with an effective logline. If you keep it, consider ways to trim it down - ie, maybe cut either "but she soon turns his secluded world upside down" or "and his efforts to help her put him square in the public eye." My guess is to reword to find a way to keep secluded or the nuance of it, but get rid of "but she soon turns his secluded world upside down".


    I actually really like the next two sentences and think they set up your character and the conflict well. My skeptical nature balks a little at "but is already beginning to love." But I think that reaction may be totally subjective and I think if the rest of the query is tight and effective, it won't be an issue.

    This next sentence felt like too much all at once and too long ----> "Catskin, as Ansel nicknames her, doesn’t seem to care about her own fate, but Ansel believes she can recover from her trauma and devotes himself to helping her sort out the fears she can’t, or won’t, explain to him." Especially because there is no sense of passing time - has it been 5 minutes? 5 hours? 5 days? 5 weeks? How well could he have gotten to know her to (a) identify her problems and (b) devote himself if it's still that same day? So, if there's been some passage of time, show it - ie, give the reader a hint that he's been hiding her long enough to come to these conclusions - maybe even some idea of at least one of the plot events that help him draw these conclusions.

    I actually think the last two sentences will work, if the query first gives some sense of events between Ansel finding her and the events described in the last two sentences of the plot summary.

    Lastly, I'd cut "I have been writing for sixteen years" and "I have now written five novel length manuscripts" both of which really aren't professional credits and can make you seem amateurish. I'm not familiar with the publication cited - if it is professional level, that might be helpful. But your years of writing and number of manuscripts I don't think should be in the query.

    Thank you for sharing your work, and good luck with the book!

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