Wednesday, March 5, 2008

THE DREADED QUERY

The other day, just for fun, I went back through all of my rejections. You could imagine my surprise when I found my first query. I would never show it to you, because it is that BAD! It started off, no joke, “My name is Suzanne Young…” (Covers face)

Well, I’ve come a long way since then, and I dare say, I’m pretty good at these query things. Just like with writing, there are all sorts of styles with queries. I think the most important thing to know is, it’s a query, not a synopsis. Think about what you would want the back of your book to say. And use the tone of your novel without going too overboard.

But I’m better at writing queries than describing how to write them. Haha. So, I’m posting one of mine in the comments, maybe two, and I ask that if you’d like, please post your query!!!!! I love looking at and rewriting them, so if you’d like advice, let me know. You can check some of my shorter queries on my website, too. It's under books on http://suzanne-young.com or visit http://suzanne-young.blogspot.com/ I'd be happy to take a look.

17 comments:

SuzanneYoung said...

One of my early queries without the personal stuff.

Eighteen-year-old Ginger Reynolds is serving the ridiculous grounding her father imposed after her one little mistake. She's lost every modern convenience, and the prom queen she attacked, didn't even spend the night in the hospital. Seriously, hair grows back.

Her waitress job at Miguel’s Mexican Restaurant is her only escape from an isolated summer, and she has the added bonus of working with her boyfriend and her best friend. Well, except for the fact that her boyfriend is acting like a complete tool and her best friend has become unapologetically evil. Not to mention that they’ve been keeping each other occupied with entertainment of the half-naked variety.

Add in her cheating mother’s sudden return and ultimately, GINGER SNAPS! Luckily for her, a handsome food critic has taken a special interest in margaritas and, incidentally, her ass. Although he’s clearly ready to prove his affection, she’s hesitant to return it. Is it because she’s not into him, or is it because he’s finally someone worth keeping around?

Anonymous said...

My first query began the same way! (With, yanno, my name. Not yours. I don't do identity theft... often.)

But guess what? I got a full request. RIGHT AWAY.

So clearly I am magic.

- Madeleine (aka Suzanne Young)

SuzanneYoung said...

REQUESTS YAY!!!!!

Sophie W. said...

"Not to mention that they’ve been keeping each other occupied with entertainment of the half-naked variety."

And this is why I love you.

My query:

After years of digging giant beanstalks out of the garden and chasing imps out of the attic, fourteen year-old Rosemary Woodruff thinks she knows everything about magical creatures. Then she finds a colony of talking gophers in her yard.

It turns out there’s a lot Rosemary doesn’t know. She doesn't know the Fairy King has snapped after centuries of living with cut-throat politics and an imploding marriage. She doesn't know that he's usurped the throne from his cheating wife and banished her to the Purple Mountains. She doesn’t know he’s spent the last six months feeding a fairy dust addiction and transmogrifying his courtiers into gophers. She doesn’t know if anyone’s planning to stop him.

These gophers have built a city under Rosemary's farm, and it's only a matter of time before the land goes crashing down, burying thousands of gopher-fairies alive. To make matters worse, Inspector Beauvell of The International Board for Magic Regulation has been snooping around her village, harassing everyone in his search for illegal magical interference.

Enough is enough. With her parents away at Crin's 100th Agricultural Fair, Rosemary embarks on a journey to Fairyland, accompanied by the town shaman, his poetry-spewing magic mirror, and a pair of species-confused rodents. The plan? Break into the palace, rally the courtiers, and damn well give the Fairy King a piece of her mind. Now if only pixies, flying snakes, and men in lavender tights would stop getting in her way.

Conman said...

Okay, here's my query. Believe it or not, this version is waaaay better than what I started out with. Any suggestions anyone has would be GREAT.


I am seeking representation for Halfshadow, a fantasy novel complete at 90,000 words.

The night an X-shaped scar appears on Rayne Shaden’s hand, bleeding black blood that makes roses wither, and sears all flesh except his own, everything changes. Rayne learns he has a strand of living darkness called a Shadow in his heart. And as soon as those two cuts intersected on his hand, his Shadow was awakened.

Rayne can’t hope to escape his Shadow any more than he can escape his own heart, so he’ll have to find some sort of balance with it. But the closer he gets to his Shadow, the more vulnerable he becomes to it. Trying to hold on to himself is enough of a problem, but then Rayne learns that he’s hardly the first to be plagued with this problem. But if he fights hard enough, he may be the first to come out with his humanity.

In fact, his distant ancestor was thought to be responsible for vanquishing Relgon Draught, the last one like him, but now Draught has returned for vengeance on the bloodline that almost destroyed him. It’s hard to survive- much less fight -when your worst enemy is a part of you, but Rayne will have to find some way to break the connection with his Shadow without breaking his heart in the process.

I have won several awards for writing from various contests, including the WritersWeekly (the highest circulation freelance writing e-zine in the world) Summer Short Story Contest.

I can send a partial or the full manuscript. Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you.

SuzanneYoung said...

Oh, and here's one of my favorite queries :) Conman, I'll take a look at yours, too :D

UNKISSABLE

Getting punched in the face at a country-western bar is one hell of a way to spend a spring break. Maybe Cancun wouldn’t have been such a bad idea.

Seventeen-year-old Clover Phillips has ditched her Mexican vacation to join her brother and his best friend on a trip. That is, join them on a secretive, poorly planned, completely irresponsible journey to save her mother’s upcoming wedding. Clover’s fine with that. What’s got her riled up is the fact that Colin Matthews, her brother’s best friend, is insanely gorgeous and totally hot for her. Of course, he’s also Washington High’s most experienced dater and Clover, well, she’s deemed herself unkissable.

Now, she’s been kissed before. She’s not a freak. No, the problem is despite her good sense and high IQ, Clover’s failed in the love department because she quietly pines after Colin and his adorable dimples. Her last three relationships lasted a combined total of nine days.

Close quarters, hot tub flirtations and a shared Suite Sleeper mattress! This should be an interesting two thousand miles.

Sage said...

My query for DownLoad :D

DL is an emotionally numb, cybernetically-enhanced agent who is dying, of all things, from a broken heart. Fortunately for him, EDEN, the company that enhanced him, also developed a drug that would keep his heart and other muscles working correctly. As long as he does whatever they ask, they'll keep him in "proper working order." So when his orders are to shoot Kristie--a seemingly ordinary teenager--in the heart and bring her body back to EDEN, he doesn't ask why. He does what he does best: follow orders.

Carrying them out proves more difficult than he expected. Twice he shoots at her, and both times the unthinkable happens. He misses. When enhanced agents from other biotech companies attack her before he gets the opportunity to finish the mission, he must protect her for the sake of his very specific orders. While doing so, he finds out two strange problems with Kristie. Despite her otherwise perfect vision, she cannot see him, and every time he looks into her eyes, his body begins to fail. He convinces himself that EDEN needs to study her alive, in case she is a weapon against the enhanced. But between Kristie's hair-trigger temper, his malfunctioning body now deprived of EDEN's drug, and agents seeking Kristie from EDEN and other companies, DL's self-appointed mission might cost him everything. As he draws closer to the truth and to Kristie, his broken heart might be in danger of really breaking.

Sage said...

Obv, that's just the pitch, not the word count and stuff.

SuzanneYoung said...

Very cool Sage! I can't wait to read it :D

AmandaKMorgan said...

A fake query for my WIP. One of them, I mean.


Sixteen-year-old Cora Swanson is sweet, smart, and totally inexperienced. She kills at Bio and rocks harder at volleyball. But no one cares about that.

They can't see past her overly-developed mammaries.

But Cora is tired of her classmates acting surprised every time she aces Bio tests. She hates wearing loose tee shirts that make her look fat, of guys cheering every single time she wears spandex on the volleyball court. And she's really tired of being treated like a slut by every male in the world just because of her appearance, when in reality she's a total virgin. Even by kissing standards.

So Cora--and every other large-breasted or big-bootied girl in the school--decide to fight back. They form the MY EYES ARE UP HERE coalition, where they decide to stop hiding in baggy clothes and blushing at inappropriate comments. They're out to show the world that curvaceous does not necessarily mean slutty, that wearing V-necks instead of sweat shirts and skinny jeans instead of wind pants is perfectly okay, and to show the skinny blonde populars what sexy really is.

MY EYES ARE UP HERE is a 45,000 word YA novel about love, unaddressed stereotypes, and boobs.

SuzanneYoung said...

MY EYES ARE UP HERE is a 45,000 word YA novel about love, unaddressed stereotypes, and boobs.

LOVE> hahaha. This had better be your next book. lol.

Andrew Carmichael said...

I'd show you my queries, Suz, but since you're basically the author of all my sucessful ones there's not much point...lol

But a note to everyone: Suz writes some pretty amazing queries. You'll be surprised how much she can rep your work before she's even read it! It's amazing.

SuzanneYoung said...

Thanks, Reen. Your bribe money is in the mail. ;)

Sage said...

Ha, I love the new novel, Mandy!

Haphazard said...

Uhh.

let me try.

Villainy is a Xty-word YA speculative fiction.

Henry is sixteen years old and just let off on summer vacation when his two older brothers decide to give him a taste of the family business; that is, supervillainy.

So, he’s of to Professor Malus’s lair with his two brothers, knife-obsessed Kinley and prodigy Arthur for what appears to be a normal two months of learning the trade. It doesn’t take long for him to learn what supervillainy really is, an endless, dangerous game between heroes and villains where nobody ever wins but nobody ever dies, and instead the struggle perpetuates itself as a distraction for the public of serious political and societal issues.

When Professor Malus’s lair is under a preemptive attack by a group of heroes, Henry does something that nobody’s ever been able to do before. He actually kills an invincible hero, and though he claimed that it was for self-defense, to his horror, he found that he actually enjoyed it. Because of this uncommon ability to kill immortals, Henry’s brothers hatch a violent scheme to end the cycle of heroism and villainy, but not without cost. Though he agrees with the cause, the work takes its toll and Henry finds himself terrified of the monster he’s fast becoming.

At your request, I am prepared to send you the completed manuscript. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Hap

hannah said...

The query I wrote for the WIP:



For two years, seventeen-year-old Logan O’Hare's had a positive attitude and a positive HIV test to match. Straight, mostly-moral pastor’s sons aren’t usually prime candidates for HIV, but Logan isn’t complaining. He’s positive that his life, as long as it lasts, will stay okay, despite that gnawing lack of purpose he feels sometimes.

Until Bacon comes snorting in. He's a piglet who starts out as a medical experiment, then flat-out refuses to die. Pastor Dad's sure Bacon is a pink little messiah. Logan is sure he’s a fluke, somehow. But Dad hears a rumor regarding the mass-production of invincible pigs in L.A and convinces Logan that a cross-country road trip touting their miracle will be a great chance for Logan to expand, spiritually--and maybe get that purpose he’s always talking about. Spreading the gospel while tasting "medical" marijuana and braving car chases and night sweats might not be the purpose Dad had in mind, but this view gets Logan reeling--especially as his health deteriorates.

The slap-in-the-face trip through the US of A convinces him that life is really not cool, and watching the pig and his un-death is such the last straw. If there's a real reason to want an eternal life, he’s going to find it--and, if there isn't, Bacon's got some serious explaining to do.

Bring Home the Bacon: The Story of The Invincible Pig and The Boy Who Cured Him is complete at xxx words

~grace~ said...

I'm not sure I feel comfortable following SuperShady...

Anyway. I didn't actually have a query for my WIP, but I figured I have to start sometime so I put together this short little tidbit. For kicks and giggles, yanno? Feedback/reactions appreciated. I feel like maybe I don't go into enough detail about what's actually going on?

---------------

Fifteen-year-old Jane wants adventure, something which isn’t really on offer in Elver, Nevada. But when she inadvertently causes the deaths of two people, Jane gets more adventure than she ever could have expected.

Armed with a magical power she doesn’t understand but determined to help the incompetent genius son of the dead couple, Jane sets off for Alterra, an alternate reality inhabited by distinctly modern wizards and fantastic magical beasts. At first it’s fun—the adventure she’s always dreamed of—but soon she can’t keep track of who’s trying to kill her. Or why. She is drawn into a confusion of lies and she realizes the good guys aren’t always good and the bad guys aren’t always bad—and neither seems to want her alive.

GOLDENEYE is a YA fantasy complete at X0000 words. Peace out, yo.


[that last part is a joke...also I don't actually have a title.]