Thursday, September 30, 2010

2 Query Letter #30

Query Letter #30
Your Name: Jim Hill
Title: THE CASE AGAINST MY SISTER: SIXTH GRADE
Genre: Middle-grade novel

Dear Ms. Dear Ms. LaPolla,

Sixth-grader Marshall spent the summer preparing; downloading school bus schedules, memorizing teacher names, studying school maps, and practicing clarinet (because in sixth grade you never know when a jam session will breakout). He has the perfect plan to kick-start a new year and really make a name for himself. M.Alice, his evil, older sister, has other ideas (put Lucy Van Pelt, a pit bull and every mean girl you’ve ever known in a blender and you might end up with her equal).

From the moment he arrives at school, Marshall’s plan gets tossed in the dumpster. The school web site didn’t mention gym class with fitness evaluations. Or the schedule changes “to accommodate testing” that put band at the very end of the day. And it definitely didn’t talk about Big Mike, the sixth-grade bully (for three years running).

And if he somehow overcomes those obstacles, he still must outwit her.

M.Alice begins her takedown during class assembly, hitting him with nuclear-level humiliation by way of a hacked presentation and damning photographic evidence of Marshall’s loserdom (two words: superhero underwear). Then she gets personal and steals his clarinet. His only chance to find it and get to jazz band on time is to overcome the class bully, survive gym, and solve the riddle she left in his empty instrument case.

When your evil sister promises to ruin your life, believe her.

THE CASE AGAINST MY SISTER: SIXTH GRADE is a 30,000 word, fast-paced middle grade novel. It’s like a Michael Bay movie set in a middle school, without the explosions and with a coherent plot.

I am member of the SCBWI and a Board member for the Cape Cod Writers Center, and I too want to see Ender’s Game made into a movie. Just not directed by Michael Bay.

Thanks for you consideration.

Jim Hill

2 comments:

  1. This sounds very funny, but the stakes are not very high: His goal is to find his clarinet and get to jazz band. Shouldn't there be a higher goal? Or am I out in left field somewhere?

    The only other thing I have to say is the M.Alice thing might work better as (M)Alice. Took me a minute to realize it wasn't a typo.

    Good luck!

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  2. Jim,

    I get that you're trying to be funny, but I would definitely reconsider taking out the bit about it turning into a movie (and the director) because you may not be taken as seriously by an agent as you'd probably like to.

    As for the plot portion of the query, while I loved the voice, it felt very long and there were way too many asides in paragraphs... I edited it as follows to give you a different look at it. Take what works! Also, this is still around 175 words, a bit long for the plot/hook/conflict. If you cut anything else, I would consider taking out the first bit about gym/band/bully because you talk about it again later. You could add in some descriptive words at the end that would give it just as much voice...

    Sixth-grader Marshall spent the summer preparing downloading school bus schedules, memorizing teacher names, studying school maps, and practicing clarinet (because in middle school [changed this to make it concrete he’s starting middle school – because where I am, sixth grade is still elementary school!] you never know when a jam session will breakout). He has the perfect plan to kick-start a new year. M.Alice, his evil, older sister, has other ideas.

    From the moment he arrives at school, Marshall’s plan gets tossed in the dumpster. The school web site didn’t mention gym class with fitness evaluations. Or the schedule changes “to accommodate testing” that put band at the very end of the day. And it definitely didn’t talk about Big Mike, the sixth-grade bully (for three years running).

    [I deleted the sentence above and added this one line – you can change it up, but I thought it cut down the text a bit] But his biggest obstacle was yet to come. [I changed up this sentence to be a little more clear] M.Alice hits him with nuclear-level humiliation during school assembly - a hacked presentation containing photographic proof of Marshall’s loserdom (two words: superhero underwear). Then she gets personal and steals his clarinet. His only chance to find it and get to jazz band on time is to overcome the class bully, survive gym, and solve the riddle she left in his empty instrument case.

    Hope that helps!

    ReplyDelete

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