Saturday, April 19, 2014

Query Critique Continued

I can't help myself. I want to critique more queries!

Recently, I did a public query critique on Jessa Russo's blog and I have some overflow going on today.

Thank you so much to the brave volunteers who were open to having their queries critiqued publicly! *Gulp* I know it's scary and horrible. I've been there. I'll be honest, but don't worry, I have no interest in showing off how snarky I can be at your expense. And, happily, both of these are pretty good. :)

Everyone who had their query critiqued has won a free digital copy of Destruction! Congratulations! I hope you enjoy it.

If you're interested, here is my how-to post on queries:

The Query Formula

Please help out these brave authors by also posting your own feedback in comments!!

Query #1

I’m querying you because [reason].I’d like to submit my urban fantasy, SOUL SKINNED, for your consideration Unless whatever you're listing in [reason] is really compelling, you don't need this. You can go straight to the story.

Soul Walking witch  At this point, I don't know what you mean by a "soul walking witch," so I recommend removing it for the sake of clarity. Emmy Riley spent her youth on the run from a demon mother determined to use her daughter’s blood to release her from exile in Hellfire. Remaining Still free and with all her plasma intact, Emmy’s managed to carve out a relatively normal life as an agent for the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs. Her ability to merge with souls of the recently deceased and relive their final moments has made her one of the most valuable investigators in Seattle, and her track record for solving homicides is unmatched within the Bureau.

But when Emmy’s called to a crime scene involving a sacrificially flayed shapeshifter whose soul can’t identify his murderer, it quickly becomes apparent she’s dealing with a demon magick mastermind unlike any other. Then another shapeshifter is killed and the murderer leaves an ominous message about Mommy Dearest in the victim’s memories. Emmy realizes that unearthing the demonic magick in her blood might be the only way to stop the madman, even if it means finally facing her past and walking right into her mother’s trap.

Complete at 92,000 words, SOUL SKINNED is an urban fantasy that will appeal to fans of Jennifer Estep’sElemental Assassin series and Stacia Kane’s Downside Ghosts series. I didn't fix it so you can see it and make sure it's fixed on your final drafts, there is a space missing between "Estep's" and "Elemental." Though a standalone novel, SOUL SKINNED has series potential.

I’m an advertising professional living in Seattle, WA, where I spend my days managing deadlines and creating new ideas for clients, and my nights writing. You don't info like this in your query. If you don't have publishing credits to put in your bio, just leave it out.

Per the guidelines on the [XXX Literary Agency] website, I have included [requested materials] Thank you very much for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.

I think it is great! You laid out the plot well. It's all very clear and sounds like a compelling story. Good luck!


Query #2

Sixteen-year-old Sara's is convinced that her life is completely under control--at she wants to believe that. Her grades aren’t perfect (she’s failing three classes), and her friends aren’t the best influence (she’s caught up in the gritty world of Speedway). Maybe it's just me, but I have no idea what "Speedway" is. :) But her grandmother always said that it’s important to keep up appearances and Sara has had plenty of practice from living with ’s fa├žade is well in place. It’s almost as good as her a mother who hides her crippling OCD. That's not a critical change, but the way it reads now feels clunky to me.

But However, while her exterior is immaculate, Sara is falling apart. If you do decide to combine the last two sentences, then you'll have two "but" sentences in a row. She spends the majority of her time cleaning the house to ensure her mother doesn’t spiral out of control. Between that, a part-time job, and her chaotic relationship with Speedway racer, Logan, Sara is beginning to believe that anxiety runs in the family.

Sara wasn’t raised to ask for help, but she needs to decide who she can trust before it all falls apart. It’s no longer just her grades on the line, but her first love, her health and most importantly, her mother.

Chemicals Collide is a 75,000 word, young adult novel that delves into the world of obsessive-compulsive disorder. It tells the tale of a girl learning to stand on her own two feet with the help of those who want to build her up, not tear her down. This is more "telling" than "showing".

Jodie Llewellyn holds a Bachelor of Communications from the University of the Sunshine Coast. In her spare time she enjoys blogging; hHer personal writing blog has over 3,000 followers.
So excited to see another story I recognize from Nest Pitch! I was SO close to picking this one too. I had it in alternates and was happy to see another blogger snatch it up. As I said, the first paragraph reads a little clunky to me at the end, but otherwise I think it's a strong query. Well done!


Don't see your query yet? I plan to do one more post. :)

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