Saturday, February 6, 2016

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.

Twelve-year-olds Abby and Brandon couldn’t be more different. Abby is a little rough around the edges, and lives in a cramped trailer.. Is this an ellipsis or a period that got cocky? She doesn’t have any friends, but that’s probably because she threatens to punch anybody in the face who gives her a sideways glance. Phrasing is a little awkward here, switch them around.

Brandon, on the other hand, has it all—a big house, perfect hair, and a pearly white smile. He’s impressed everybody except the person who matters the most—his super successful, workaholic dad.

But when a dead uncle names Abby and Brandon in a will, they discover they’re cousins--a small detail their estranged fathers forgot to mention. All Abby and Brandon have to do to inherit their dead uncle’s massive fortune and famous chain of pizza restaurants is to compete in a series of challenges designed to test their skills. It’s winner take all--and loser go home. Nice! This sounds fun.

As they compete to out-smart, out-create, and out-cook each other, Abby and Brandon discover things aren’t as they seem. Like, maybe neither one of them deserves the inheritance, and maybe their dead uncle isn’t all that dead, and maybe there’s something more important than money. Family. Use an em-dash here at the end before "family." 

PIZZA PALACE is a fast-paced and laugh-out-loud 42,000-word contemporary MG novel told in Abby and Brandon’s alternating perspectives. It will appeal to boy and girl fans of humor, action, and adventure.

This is great! I love the concept and it's a well executed query. Polish off a few things here and you are ready to query.


Mr. Lollis said...

Thanks, Mindy! Great tips. I also want to thank you for the AgentQueryConnect link...not only did it provide great advice and examples for queries, but I was able find info and samples to help write a synopsis.

Mindy McGinnis said...

So great to hear! AgentQuery is a fantastic place. I fully credit that community with helping me learn how to navigate publishing and improve my query, synopsis... just about anything that you need to succeed.

logansrun161 said...

Nice query! The premise sounds vaguely reminiscent of The Westing Game.

Mindy McGinnis said...

I thought the same thing but didn't know if The Westing Game would be too dated of a reference to throw out there.