Saturday, July 11, 2015

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.

It’s hard being pretty. Good hook, I'd keep reading.

At least, so thinks glamazon Wynter Roberts: local royalty and resident man-eater. Nothing is so serious it can’t be solved by a shopping trip or makeup sex. So what if Wynter's not exactly valedictorian? Everyone knows it’s all about your social circle anyway. The only person not enamored by her shimmering crown in their southern suburb is her best friend Kate who has spent most of her life trying to escape Wynter’s enormous shadow. This reads fantastically - the only tweak I would suggest would be to get the "southern suburb" bit up into the first sentence so that the "local royalty" has a bit more grounding.

Now that Kate is off to New York City to attend the Juilliard School for dance, she thinks she will finally take the throne to her own life. She’s literally struck the attention not sure what you're saying here? Meet-cute where she hit him? of a hunky male dancer and a spot on her world-renowned instructor’s talent list looks promising, much to the chagrin of the reigning prima ballerina with laser eyes targeting Kate’s head.

When Wynter follows her to the city to pursue modeling, she’s got her sights set on fame, fortune, and Kate’s crush! With competition from all sides, can Kate learn to fight for the spotlight? After all, there’s only room for one princess in this town and there’s always someone waiting in the wings.

You Win, Princess capitalize or italicize your title is a contemporary new adult novel about chasing one’s dreams through the cutthroat challenges of the real world. The completed manuscript at just over 100,000 words is available at your request.

I am a professional writing graduate of the University of Oklahoma. In addition to two self-published short stories, I have been published in Outlook Magazine, Blogcritics, and the OU Daily. My passion is in women’s literature geared toward the next generation of readers.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I hope to hear from you soon.

This query is excellently written, and the bio is very strong. The one thing I would warn is that your word count is high. I don't know enough about NA to know what the parameters are, but I do know that 100k is high for a debut author, and contemporaries do tend to run shorter than their genre counterparts like fantasy, SF or historical - which allow more room for world building.

I highly suggest paring down your ms before you start querying. You don't want a good book and a solid query to be sunk by a bulky word count. Look for scenes that aren't accomplishing anything different from previous scenes, and also do a simple Find on words that you just don't need - check out my blog post here for advice.

For more on word count and genre parameters, check out this fantastic post by agent Jennifer Laughran. 

1 comment:

Christy Shuler said...

Thank you so much! I'm glad you mentioned the word count as I was concerned about it as well but feared entering the editing trenches yet again. :) I will read those blog posts you mentioned. Thanks again!