Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Saturday Slash

Meet my Hatchet of Death (or, some other colorful description RC Lewis and I come up with at any given moment). This is how I edit myself, it is how I edit others. If you think you want to play with me and my hatchet, shoot us an email.

We all know the first line of a query is your "hook." I call the last line the "sinker." You want it to punch  them in the face, in a nice, friendly kind of way that makes them unable to forget you after having read the 300 other queries in their inbox.

Also, for my brave Saturday Slash volunteers I will gladly do follow-up slashes (each more kindly than the next) on your query if you post them on the Query Critique board over on AgentQuery Connect. You'll get advice from me, and also people who are smarter than me. If you do post on AQ, be sure to follow the guidelines and let me know you posted so that I can follow up!

Cora Jane Delaney and her little brother, Coby, didn’t leave home for nine months after the virus hit. Not after the power cut out; not even after the sirens shrieking in the distance faded and died and the world outside their backyard’s Good hook - drop the 's here on "backyard" though fence fell silent.

They didn’t see the bodies piling up in the cobblestone streets of Savannah. They didn’t know the government’s ultimatum to survivors: become guinea pigs for dangerous medical experiments in the name of finding a cure, or get shot. OK - now I do need some clarification. Saying they didn't leave home is understandable, hey, I wouldn't either. But being totally clueless and not seeing anybodies outside makes me think they're not even looking out the window... so what's up with that?

Until the government kidnaps Coby.

Cora will do anything to get him back: bargain her stockpile of food, bust some heads, or blow them clean off. Oh, I like her. But saving Coby means going in after him, and if she wants to get them both out alive, she’ll need help.

She enlists the help echo here with "help" of Brooks, a shady — and drop-dead sexy — army deserter, who knows all about the government shelter Cora needs to infiltrate. Except he says it’s a suicide mission. He doesn’t get it. Coby is the one person she would die for. Kill for. I'd drop your last line here, maybe compress these last three. 

But the government has something to kill for, too — a secret Cora carries in her blood. Fantastic sinker.

Pretty fantastic. I'm just not getting the concept of them NOT knowing about the ultimatum, etc. Are they totally holed up in a basement or something? If so, cool, but tell us that. Also, I think it would help clarify a few other things. If Cora doesn't even know about govt. ultimatums, how can she have any clue who kidnaps Coby and / or why? Clear up these questions with the query and you're in good shape.

2 comments:

Frankie Brown said...

Thank you! Your comments are right on. Now I have to work on giving the right amount of detail without bogging it down... again >.<. Also beginning to wonder if the market for this genre is just too, too saturated. Time (and more work) will tell!

Thanks again, Mindy. Btw - loved the ARC of DRINK!

Mindy McGinnis said...

Excellent! Thanks Frankie for reading :) And unfortunately yes, dystop is a hard sell right now, but that doesn't mean your book is lost forever. You might shelve it for the moment and hit the genre on the next pass.