QueryDice #38: BRAVO, AUTHOR!
The following is a query critique. Comments, suggestions and discussion are welcome and we hope you join in. I can only offer one opinion. The author of the query and I would love to hear yours.
Dear Ms. Ruth,
Thirteen-year-old Sabrina Tate has a visibility problem. The local mean girl sees her as an easy target, her parents see her as a weak imitation of her sister, and the cute boy in her English class doesn’t see her at all. When Sabrina finds out about a competition to be the queen of her junior high school’s Arthurian Feast, she thinks winning might be her chance to become visible in all the right ways. After all, the competition only asks her to read books, watch movies, and show up to a few rehearsals—how hard can that be?
But Sabrina doesn’t count on mean girl attacks, cheaters in the competition, or detention as a result of a prank gone wrong. Sabrina especially doesn’t count on her best friend’s growing frustration with her focus on winning. As Sabrina learns more about the Arthurian legends that inspired the feast, she starts questioning herself, her friends, even her enemies. If Sabrina doesn’t win, she’ll stay the same loser she’s always been. But if she does win, she might lose the things she cares about most: her best friend and her identity as a nice girl. Is winning worth the cost?
As a junior high student, I participated in a similar medieval feast. Although the characters and events are fictitious, the backdrop for the story stems from personal experience. I have a PhD in English and teach college-level writing courses.
[redacted] is a contemporary upper-middle-grade novel, complete at 54,000 words, that may appeal to fans of Michael Beil, Erin Dionne and Wendy Mass. Thank you for your consideration!
I tried really hard to find something wrong with this query. There are little things that are just a matter of preference (like the name-dropping) and something about the word “visibility” bothered me. Perception is really more accurate. The only large-scope criticism I have has to do with voice. I would have liked to see Sabrina’s personality a bit. But, aside from those tiny things, most of which don’t matter too much in the larger scope of things, this query has done its job. Bravo!
Posted on July 26, 2012, in Advice, literary agency, manuscripts, publishing, queries, Query Dice, rejection, slush pile, submissions, writers and tagged dos and donts, how to write a query letter, Lauren Ruth, making your query interesting, making your query stand out, middle-grade, plot-description, queries, query, query example, querydice, slush pile, standard query format, voice, voice in a query, writing. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.