Saturday, December 20, 2014

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.

If you're looking for query advice, but are slightly intimidated by my claws, blade, or just my rolling googly-eyes, check out the query critique boards over at AgentQueryConnect. This is where I got my start, with advice from people smarter than me. Don't be afraid to ask for help with the most critical first step of your writing journey - the query. My comments appear in green.

All it takes is one run-away beagle and a mysterious cave to ignite twelve-year-old Molly’s thirst for adventure and turn her world upside down. That is when everything she never believed in changes her world. This is a good hook, but I think the last line is almost repetitive and unnecessary.

From a fantastical waterfall to the sinister Minions of the Dark Forever and a boy named Ethan, Molly experiences one adventure after another and falls into more trouble than any country girl could imagine. This is vague, but it does a good job of painting the genre. Plot details need to come in effect soon so that the reader gets an idea of what is actually happening in the book instead of these big brush strokes. To make matters even more difficult, her help is desperately needed to bring two cave worlds into balance. What does this mean? What are these cave worlds? Why do they need to be brought into balance? What does that even mean? And why her? With the assistance of her dog, Rip, and a singing sword, Molly overcomes her fears and becomes “Warrior” Molly within the cave walls. But battling the forces of evil can wear a girl out, not to mention get her grounded. Will Molly and Rip be able to conquer evil, and keep her parents from finding out the truth? This has great voice, and I can definitely see it getting requests, but I think in order for it to be a true homeroom you need to get more plot specific. Addressing the questions I outlined above would help. You've left yourself plenty of room in terms of word count to whip this into shape without going over. Also, you mention Ethan only once, but the dog gets three mentions. Is Ethan important enough to mention at all or more important than the query implies?

I am currently working on Book Two,“Molly McBean and the Battle for Chaos.” If that's the case you need to state whether or not this is a series, or a standalone with series potential. I am a member of both Ohio Valley Writers Group and Pennwriters. My short story, Adagio, was published by Scarlett River Press in the anthology “Scarlet Whispers” in May 2012. This is my debut novel. You can scratch the "debut" - it's assumed if you don't have a stated pubbed novel to your credit. Overall this looks good, though!

2 comments:

tollyfaye said...

That query sort of reminds me of "a wrinkle in time" I could be way off, it has been a *few* years since I read it, but it gave me that feeling. Very interesting.

joanie murray said...

Thanks Mindy! Between the holidays and rushing around from job to job, I hadn't had a chance to take a look at your slash. Thank you so much! I will take very point you've made and revise accordingly. I appreciate your help and kind and encouraging words:)