mandyhubbard (mandyhubbard) wrote,

Query Workshop: day 4

First up: In case you missed, it,  here are the queries from   day 1 and day 2 and day 3.

Here's today's query:

Please consider representing my 37,000-word upper middle grade novel, [TITLE REDACTED], a contemporary "tween" coming-of-age story.

[ It has a really cute title!]

Presley may be one of the smartest kids in her eighth-grade class, but she buckles under pressure -- or more specifically, she alphabetizes. In moments of stress, her compulsive mind is a fire hose shooting at her own face instead of the inferno. Maybe that’s why she constantly reads signs from the universe warning her: stay out of the spotlight.

[Love the first sentence-- the idea of her alphabetizing when she's stressed is intriguing and original. Not wild about the fire hose analagy-- why not build on the alphabetizing? Explain what it is, and why it helps her deal. I think the next sentence is a little awkward, too. I would rephrase it.]

That’s hard to do when her Elvis-loving mom, the school secretary, plays embarrassing snippets of The King’s hits on the PA every day. It’s even harder when the school’s biggest goofball nominates Presley for president and her campaign speech turns disastrous. Her greatest refuge from the drama is Luke, the toddler nephew she adores. But Presley’s teenage sister -- Luke’s mom -- has a secret that threatens to tear the boy from the family forever, unless Presley can stop it.

[Love this paragraph! Shows us that this thing has a hook and a heart, beyond just a "coming of age." It has the quirkiness of her mom, but the real tension of the sister issue. Awesome. My only quibble is "the toddler nephew she adores" is a bit awkward. I'd switch it to, "her addorable nephew." We'll assume he is a baby/toddler.  And then swap the order in the next sentence to read, "But Luke's mom-- Presleys teenage sister--" It flows better that way.]

It seems the universe is out to get her -- or maybe she's not reading it right. Perhaps the cosmos is whispering a new message with her troubles at school and home: Stay cool. Step into the spotlight. Summon your inner Elvis.

[HA! love the 'summon your inner elvis'... ties in nicely with the earlier paragraph.]

I worked as a reporter at The Associated Press and Los Angeles Times before becoming an English teacher. I also happen to be a compulsive alphabetizer since childhood. I’ve learned to quiet the volume of it, although my method did not involve Elvis. Thank you for your consideration.

[Great closing paragraph.... shows the same quirk of the story. AND, it's not even the reporter part that I think its most interesting!. Writers often stress that they dont have any credits to their name--- I think this is a GREAT example of giving bio/background that is intriguing and ties in with the novel... ]

So, overall? It could use a little tweaking and polishing, but its well written and intriguing. It shows personality, and a hint of what I hope is a fun read that still conveys some tougher issues.  I tink this is a great example of where the query is not perfect, but will probably still warrant some interest. With a little polishing, it could knock it out of the park.

Well done! I would probably request this. 

So, readers, would you? Any thing you'd change? 

And don't forget to come back tommorrow for the wrap up!

Tags: query workshop
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