Monday, October 26, 2009

Monday Mania--Query

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

Critique Archive 0027:

October 22, 2009

Dear xxxx,

I spoke with you at the BYU Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Conference where you expressed an interest in mid-grade contemporary fantasy. Most boys dream of being super heroes, but in my 40,000 word novel, Eddie and the Magic Staff, disabled twelve-year-old Eddie Davenport dreams of being normal, until the day he disappears down a sinkhole and finds a magic staff that cures him—while he holds it.

Trapped beneath the earth, Eddie rouses Afvyra, last of the dragons, from centuries of slumber. “Dragons aren’t real,” Eddie said. “It’s a dream, or a really good movie effect.’”

To escape the dragon’s wrath Eddie must choose to keep the staff, or relinquish his new found freedom to buy his sister’s life. Will he discover in time that he is more than his disability, and that true magic lies within?

Eddie and the Magic Staff received an honorable mention in the 2009 League of Utah Writer’s Tween Book competition. My writing has also been published in LDS Living Magazine. I am the Vice President of the Absolutely Write chapter of the League of Utah Writers.

As the mother of two disabled boys I have unique insight into the inner struggle of disabled children and feel this enables me to accurately portray the search for acceptance Eddie experiences in Eddie and the Magic Staff.

I appreciate your consideration and look forward to hearing from you. I have enclosed a SASE and the first three chapters for your review.




Rebecca McKinnon said...

I thought your query was great! I liked how you reminded the agent/editor that you'd spoken to them (and where), and that you mentioned your disabled children--definitely relevant, as it gives you first-hand insight.

My only hesitance is on the quote. I realize that while not using quotes is a generalization, but I feel that if you do use a quote it should be something extraordinary, which this didn't come across as to me.

However, you should keep in mind that I haven't managed to land an agent yet myself, so everything I say should be taken with a grain of salt!

Lori Folkman said...

Great job. It is so obvious that you have researched query letters and you are prepared to submit. I think you have an interesting storyline.

I didn't care for the quote either though. I don't see that it is needed and it pulls away from the present tense.

Good luck!

Annette Lyon said...

Instead of asking the question, "Will he discover in time that he is more than his disability, and that true magic lies within?" I'd put the stakes in a more concise, firmer form.

First off, what's the ticking clock? (You said "will he discover in time?" What's the rush?) Explain the stakes, why it must be done by a certain time, and what he must give up/learn rather than posing a question. I think that'll make the end of the story part stronger.