Thursday, September 30, 2010

6 Query Letter #3

Query Letter #3
Phoebe North
Title: Seas Run Dry
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Dear Ms. LaPolla,

Eighteen-year-old Irene has always been captivated by the beach town where her family spends their summers. Now college looms on the horizon, and she’s dreading giving it up. But one day on the boardwalk she meets a mysterious boy with a secret—and realizes that she may have finally found an excuse to stay by the sea.

Raised by a pod of mermaids, seventeen-year-old Loril never knew the world past the sand. As his childhood draws to a close, he has one last chance to explore his humanity before he’s forced to choose between the dying world of his mother, and the alien universe of a father he’s never met. But he never expected that during his sojourn on land, he’d fall for a human girl . . .

Irene and Loril cannot deny the love that sparks between them like heat lightning. But before they can face their future together, Loril must learn what it means to be human—and Irene must persuade him to stay with her, and leave the world of the water, and his people, behind forever.

SEAS RUN DRY, complete at 78,000 words, is a paranormal romance for young adults.

As for myself, I am a New Jersey native who graduated in 2009 from the University of Florida's MFA program. I write about my life at www.phoebenorth.com, have guest blogged for YAHighway, and proofread for the speculative fiction magazine Strange Horizons.

Sincerely yours,

Phoebe North

6 comments:

  1. I love the length of this query--and I think agents will too. I don't think they will care about half of your credentials, however (sorry!). But they really only want your WRITING creds, or what makes YOU the right author to write this novel. NJ native? and graduated from U of F? Not important, and your website url can go under your name and address at the bottom of your query to indicate that you are a serious writer and more professional about your writing. Guest blogging? eh...maybe. YA Highway is fairly well-known. Frankly, I would combine the word count sentence in a paragraph with this sentence: I have guest blogged for YAHighway, and proofread for the speculative fiction magazine Strange Horizons. Those are really the only creds that agents will care about.

    I'd like to see your "hook" closer to the beginning of the letter. If an agent is busy, they will skim, and might not catch the intriguing bit about a mermaid, which you don't get to until the 2nd paragraph. This is the best part! Also, I admit I was a little thrown off at first by the name "Loril"--and since you said merMAID, I assumed Loril was a girl. Wouldn't he be a merMAN? (mer-dude?) To me, Loril sounds like Laurel, a girl's name.

    Good luck with querying! :)

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  2. Thanks for the feedback! I've always heard that MFAs are perfectly okay writing-related credits to include. However, I've also heard that MFAs are notoriously bad queriers, so I've decided to strip pretty much the entire bio out, MFA included. :)

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  3. Phoebe - Ok, overall, this query works much more effectively IMO. I especially think the set up of a paragraph for her, one for him, and then the third works especially well for this book. Having said that, I think you could make it even more effective. :)

    Looking first at the paragraph on Irene - Some of my favorite bits about her from the first query have disappeared. I find the Irene struggling with the break up of her band and doubts about college much more interesting than a non-descript girl who just loves a town ;) So, I'd get more of Irene in her paragraph.

    On Loril's paragraph, "Raised by a pod of mermaids," makes it sound like he's totally human - ie, raised by wolves. I think you have to rephrase that bit. But, otherwise, his paragraph worked for me (except for the elipses. I'd cut the elipses at the end of his paragraph).

    Ok, and here's the subjectivity part - the line "Irene and Loril cannot deny the love that sparks between them like heat lightning" at first struck me as a little cheesy - But, I think it works - and I think I'd leave it in :) It's a great image.

    And I like the final stakes sentence - didn't even question it when I read this the first time. But, on rereading it, I do wonder where Irene's stakes went. His stakes are very clear. Her's seem a little too focused on him. And that will seem more obvious if you add in more about her in her paragraph. So, you may want to play with this sentence, maybe try to get in a bit of what she had to learn? Maybe to fight for him? I don't know...that's one to play with but if everything feels convoluted, go back to this original phrasing of the stakes because on the first read it worked. :)

    I'd cut the entire bio - none of it feels to me like it should be in the query. You can put your blog under your signature and I'd assume the agent would see on there any notice of guest blogs, if she cares to look. So...I'd cut it all. Let the story speak for itself if you don't have any profssional credits. ;)

    Thank you for sharing your work and good luck!

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  4. I really like this query. Your book sounds fascinating. One editing suggestion is to remove some of the commas in the sentence, "But before they can face their future together, Loril must learn what it means to be human—and Irene must persuade him to stay with her, and leave the world of the water, and his people, behind forever." ... maybe like this: "But before they can face their future together, Loril must learn what it means to be human—and Irene must persuade him to stay with her, and leave the world of the water and his people behind forever."

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  5. Your book sounds very interesting. I like the idea of a mermaid book from the POV of a MERMAN!!

    I have no critique to give - I thought it was concise & hooked me right in.

    I do have to agree with the previous poster that said 'raised by a pod of mermaids' does make it sound like he's human raised by mermaids, rather than a merman.

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  6. I agree with what's already been said. But overall your query is tight and intriguing!

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