Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday Mania--Query Letter

One of our readers submitted a query letter for critique. Feel free to make comments, but please keep them constructive.

Critique Archive 0041:


The Trinity captures the epic journey of Julian White as she joins the Trinity, triplet teen boys Dresden, Ethan and Garrett, on discovering who they are and where they came from. The legendary royal Trinity are unaware that the hidden, mystical island of Athlendora is their true home. As infants, their parents brought them to the safety of the small town of Luray, Virginia for their protection against Zamir, the man determined to kill them because of the legend; for if it comes true, it will ruin his plans to become ruler of Athlendora.

Mathias, the Trinity’s father, is waiting to tell his boys about their history until they receive their powers at the age of eighteen. Little does he know that his boys have already received their powers—the ability to teleport among other things—much earlier then expected. While Mathias is out looking for his kidnapped wife whom is being held for ransom for the Cathriona—a necklace of magnificent power—the enemy is trying unsuccessfully to kill the Trinity. Mathias is alerted to the attacks when Ethan’s destined sword Leazar makes an appearance. Mathias is comforted that the sword has found its master for he knows the sword will tell Ethan what to do when danger is near.

Soon the Trinity’s bravery and power will be tested when an unexpected enemy breaks into their home and attacks them to retrieve the hidden Cathriona necklace.

The Trinity is the first of a trilogy that unfolds the romance between Dresden and Julian, the significant destiny of the Trinity, and the mysterious island of Athlendora.

Since you represent young adult romance novels, I feel you would be a good fit for my manuscript. The first completed novel of 80,000 words is available for your review.

Thank you for your time and attention. I look forward to hearing from you.




Anonymous said...

I'm sure that this is a completely unhelpful comment, but Julian as a girl's name really distracted me. And when you talk about Dresden and Julian's relationship, it sounded like two boys. And then if I didn't already know that Dresden was a male triplet, just the names on the surface sound like Julian is the guy and Dresden is the girl.

As for the rest of it, I think the premise is intriguing but the explanation is a little too confusing. It's almost like you're telling things out of order, which might work in the narrative but I don't think would be good form for a query letter.

Annette Lyon said...

I agree w/ anon. Interesting premise--a bit too much of the story and too many characters to keep straight. All a query needs is a snapshot, an overview, of the main character/s, the conflict, and the stakes. I'd simplify it a bit.

Lana said...

I think the problem is that the query letter focuses solely on what happens in the story. As a result, the story sounds flat. I once heard an editor call this the "WSIC" (Why Should I Care)factor.

Think about what makes you want to read a YA book. Is it just the events of the story? Probably not. More often it has to do with a great character, turbulent emotions, interesting conflict, terrific tension or suspense. Somehow that needs to be conveyed in the query. Not spelled out, mind you, but the flavor needs to be there.

Wishing you all the best in your writing journey!

Kate said...

I'm no expert, but here's my opinion:

You've got a lot going on in your book which is a good thing for a novel, but not so much in a query letter.

Your first sentence is very confusing as it introduces four characters, a group called the Trinity, and the title of your book THE TRINITY. It also has structural problems as it tries to combine *epic journey of . . .* and *on discovering . . .*

The rest of the letter is mostly telling background and subplots instead of focusing on who the main character is what choice she faces/makes and the consequence(s). Focus on the big picture in a nutshell. What is the main/big problem in your story for your MC?

It seems more like a long summary of everything in the book. Good luck streamlining this.