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Author Topic: YA Paranormal Mystery Query - please help, be brutal!  (Read 3099 times)
LisaLaura
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« on: February 20, 2009, 10:08:20 PM »

Hi everyone,
We're almost ready to start querying our YA Paranormal Mystery and are (of course) struggling with the query. We know this is a little different than a typical query letter, and we'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks in advance,
Lisa and Laura

**********************************************
Kate Lowry didn't think dead best friends could send emails. Not even on the anniversary of their disappearance. Of course that’s before she got the e-mail from Grace.

To: K8Lowry@gmail.com
Sent: Sun 9/14 11:59 PM
From: GraceWlsh13@gmail.com
Subject: (no subject)

 
Kate,
I'm here…
sort of.
Find Christian.
He knows.
I shouldn't be writing.
Don't tell.
They'll hurt you.

Grace had been gone for a year and everyone thought she was dead. Most girls would ignore the warning and go straight to the police.

But Kate isn’t most girls.

Instead, she decides to channel Nancy Drew, pearls and all. Of course, Kate’s pearls are faux, her skirts are way shorter and she’d totally take everyone's favorite teen detective in a girl fight, but you get the idea.

The emails continue and Kate’s quest to solve the mystery takes a dangerous turn, prompting sexy bad boy, Liam, and her awkward neighbor, Seth, to become her knights-in-(not so)-shining armor. Armed with her new found sidekicks, Kate launches an investigation involving Grace's addict brother, the school’s resident Queen Bee and a newly thin ex-bestie. Kate knows finding Grace isn’t going to be easy, but figuring out who she should trust is more difficult than she ever could have imagined.

After all, everyone’s a suspect.

We are sisters turned writing partners and FINDING GRACE is a 53,000 word YA Paranormal Mystery. Upon your request, we are prepared to submit the complete manuscript.  We look forward to hearing from you.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2009, 10:57:48 PM by LisaLaura » Logged
DHE
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« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2009, 10:33:55 PM »

Um, wow, I completely love this.  I would completely want to read this!  I'm not sure about the formatting issue of putting that email in.  Maybe take out the header (I found the whole To, From, Subject, Time info distracting).  Seriously though, if I read this on the back of a book, I'd buy it in an instant!  Great voice, great everything!  Congrats!!
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LisaLaura
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« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2009, 10:45:38 PM »

Thanks DHE. We sent out our very first query today and were immediately rejected...so we're having a little crisis of faith. Guess the only way to find out for sure is to send more queries. SCARY.
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« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2009, 10:48:39 PM »

Great query, it made me want to read it! Thumbs Up  Just one thing… shouldn't 'emails' have a dash?  Like so- 'e-mails', because the second 'e-mail' does.  Other than that, it's pretty much perfect. Grin
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LisaLaura
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« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2009, 10:53:28 PM »

Yeah, we should probably be consistent with that, right? Maybe THAT's why the agent rejected us today! Our concept was fabulous, they just couldn't deal with writers who can't spell e-mail correctly. Ha - I wish.

Anyways, nice catch. I think we've read this thing one too many times. It's great to have feedback from fresh eyes.

Karma to you both for commenting. You should get double since it's a Friday night!
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« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2009, 10:39:46 AM »

Here's my thoughts....LOVE the query part--your voice totally comes through.  BUT that email at the beginning?  Can we just have the words, not the email formatting?  A. It's confusing if you just open an email and see that...they may think (without giving it a good look) that it's leftover cut and paste from sending to other agents (a BIG no no) and B. sometimes agents don't hit Reply when they send back.  They may mistake one of these two strange emails as YOUR email and try to respond. 

Other than taking out the formatting, I'd say you're golden!
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« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2009, 10:52:36 AM »

 Thumbs Up great hook; loved it. Like others, recommend you leave out the email addressing stuff. But I know it was fun to make up! newday11
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« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2009, 10:56:06 AM »

Hi everyone,
We're almost ready to start querying our YA Paranormal Mystery and are (of course) struggling with the query. We know this is a little different than a typical query letter, and we'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks in advance,
Lisa and Laura

**********************************************
Kate Lowry didn't think dead best friends could send emails. Not even on the anniversary of their disappearance. Of course that’s before she got the e-mail from Grace.

To: K8Lowry@gmail.com
Sent: Sun 9/14 11:59 PM
From: GraceWlsh13@gmail.com
Subject: (no subject)

  (Yeah, I agree with everyone else. I'd cut this format and maybe just put her email in italics or something.)Kate,
I'm here…
sort of.
Find Christian. (I'm okay with this name here, but you never mention him again...is he Grace's addict brother? I kept wanting him to come back into the query somehow.)He knows.
I shouldn't be writing.
Don't tell.
They'll hurt you.

Grace had been gone for a year and everyone thought she was dead. (You already told me this. I don't think you need to tell me again. I haven't forgotten since reading the email.) Most girls would ignore the warning and go straight to the police.

But Kate isn’t most girls.

Instead, she decides to channel Nancy Drew, pearls and all. Of course, Kate’s pearls are faux, her skirts are way shorter and she’d totally take everyone's favorite teen detective in a girl fight, but you get the idea.

The emails continue and Kate’s quest to solve the mystery takes a dangerous turn, prompting sexy bad boy, Liam, and her awkward neighbor, Seth, to become her knights-in-(not so)-shining armor. Armed with her new found sidekicks, Kate launches an investigation (so the quest to solve the mystery hasn't been a real investigation yet? I thought when she started channeling ND, the investigation was in full swing. But she recruits (or gets injured or threatened or something) Liam and Seth first...?) involving Grace's addict brother, the school’s resident Queen Bee and a newly thin ex-bestie. Kate knows finding Grace isn’t going to be easy, but figuring out who she should trust is more difficult than she ever could have imagined.

After all, everyone’s a suspect.

We are sisters turned writing partners (this freaked me out and I had to read it a couple of times. Weird, I know. I would hyphenate it. Like, "We are sisters-turned-writing-partners(period) FINDING GRACE is a 53,000-word...) and FINDING GRACE is a 53,000 word YA Paranormal Mystery. (Is Paranormal Mystery a genre? Hmm...you want the agent to know where to put this on the shelf. I might just say, "FINDING GRACE" is a 53,000-word young adult mystery. I mean, they're gonna know it's paranormal. You've got a dead girl sending emails. Which is sheer brilliance, BTW.) Upon your request, we are prepared to submit the complete manuscript.  We look forward to hearing from you.


Very nice! Hmm...you don't need anyone to read this, do you?  wink2 wink2 Check for commas, that kinda thing...
« Last Edit: February 21, 2009, 10:57:38 AM by ElanaJ » Logged

My trilogy is complete! POSSESSION, SURRENDER, ABANDON, and short stories REGRET and RESIST, are available now wherever books are sold.

My next novel, a YA contemporary novel, ELEVATED, is coming on February 18, 2014.

Visit my blog: http://elanajohnson.blogspot.com
brgray19
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« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2009, 11:13:06 AM »

Hi everyone,
We're almost ready to start querying our YA Paranormal Mystery and are (of course) struggling with the query. We know this is a little different than a typical query letter, and we'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks in advance,
Lisa and Laura

**********************************************
Kate Lowry didn't think dead best friends could send emails. Not even on the anniversary of their disappearance. Of course that’s before she got the e-mail from Grace.

To: K8Lowry@gmail.com
Sent: Sun 9/14 11:59 PM
From: GraceWlsh13@gmail.com
Subject: (no subject)

 
Kate,
I'm here…
sort of.
Find Christian.
He knows.
I shouldn't be writing.
Don't tell.
They'll hurt you.

Grace had been gone for a year and everyone thought she was dead. Most girls would ignore the warning and go straight to the police.

But Kate isn’t most girls.

Instead, she decides to channel Nancy Drew, pearls and all. Of course, Kate’s pearls are faux, her skirts are way shorter and she’d totally take everyone's favorite teen detective in a girl fight, but you get the idea. [I love this paragraph--I just thought it had better drama and impact with a few words taken out, but just a suggestion!]

The emails continue, and Kate’s quest to solve the mystery takes a dangerous turn, prompting sexy bad boy, Liam, and her awkward neighbor, Seth, to become her knights-in-(not so)-shining armor. Armed with her newfound [I think newfound is one word] sidekicks, Kate launches an investigation involving Grace's addict brother, the school’s resident Queen Bee and a newly thin ex-bestie. Kate knows finding Grace won't isn’t going to be easy, but figuring out who to she should trust is more difficult than she ever could have imagined.

After all, everyone’s a suspect.

We are sisters turned writing partners, and FINDING GRACE is a 53,000 word YA Paranormal Mystery. Upon your request, we are prepared to submit the complete manuscript.  We look forward to hearing from you.


Lisa--I thought this was a great query letter! (I was even just telling my husband as he walked by.) For my PR contract writing and editing, I took a "tight-writing" class that showed you can sometimes get better impact with more concise writing, so most of my suggestions were around that. But of course, they're always only suggestions. (And they're picky, because it's already so good!)  Thumbs Up  Thumbs Up
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LisaLaura
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« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2009, 12:38:24 PM »

Great comments, guys! We're definitely going to get rid of the e-mail formatting.

I'm going to try to work on a new version this afternoon and I'll post it to see what you guys think. Can't tell you how much we appreciate you taking the time!

And Elana, we could always use another set of eyes, so if you're interested in being a beta e-mail us!!! We've got a freshly edited version and we'd love to see what you think...
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LisaLaura
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« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2009, 03:58:23 PM »

Ok, here's my updated version. What do you all think? Does this give you more insight to the plot? Let us know is you like the older version better...Isn't that the worst part about queries? Every time you change them you're left wondering if the original was better.

Thanks again. You guys are a HUGE help.

*****

Kate Lowry didn't think dead best friends could send e-mails. Not even on the anniversary of their disappearance. Of course that’s before she got the e-mail from Grace.  

Kate,
I'm here…
sort of.
Find Christian.
He knows.
I shouldn't be writing.
Don't tell.
They'll hurt you.


Most girls would ignore the warning and go straight to the police.

But Kate isn’t most girls.

Instead, she decides to channel Nancy Drew, pearls and all. Of course, Kate’s pearls are faux, her skirts are way shorter and she’d take everyone's favorite teen detective in a girl fight, but you get the idea.

The e-mails continue and Kate’s quest to solve the mystery takes a dangerous turn when her confrontation with Christian, Grace’s addict brother, almost gets her killed. Good thing she finds a couple of knights-in-(not so)-shining armor in sexy bad boy, Liam, and her awkward neighbor, Seth. Armed with her newfound sidekicks, the investigation continues, uncovering a secret lurking in the halls of their elite private school that threatens to destroy them all.

Kate knew finding Grace wasn’t going to be easy, but figuring out who to trust is more difficult than she ever could have imagined.

After all, everyone’s a suspect.

We are sisters-turned-writing-partners. FINDING GRACE is a 53,000 word YA Mystery. Upon your request, we are prepared to submit the complete manuscript.  We look forward to hearing from you.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2009, 10:03:30 AM by LisaLaura » Logged
newday11
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« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2009, 05:21:52 PM »

 wag Much better, and like 19 I shared with my wife! Email from a dead person; now, that's a hook!!!! newday11
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« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2009, 06:34:58 PM »

LisaLaura--the revised version looks good. I just have one concern still--can you look up new found in the dictionary to make sure it's not one word? I know agents are picky and don't want you to have something in your query that could be construed as an error. (If it's not, great, but just in case I would check.) Okay--I'm off!  clap
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LisaLaura
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« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2009, 08:32:43 PM »

Thanks Newday and Brgray!

Brgray - you're right, it's one word. Great catch. We really appreciate it! I think I missed some of your other changes in your original critique too. I have edit brain. Anyways, I've incorporated most of them now. Thank you so much!
« Last Edit: February 21, 2009, 09:11:38 PM by LisaLaura » Logged
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« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2009, 11:40:43 PM »

Edit brain!   rofl rofl rofl rofl rofl rofl You win the award for spewage today! Woot!

Okay, for the query. Yeah, I like it better. Number one, I know who Christian is now. Don't hate me (*ducks*), but now I want to know why the dead girl, Grace, told Kate to find Christian, but when she does, she almost gets killed. Some friend.  Snort  So then she enlists a hot guy and an awkward neighbor (never a good combo  wink2) to help her...get back to Christian? Find Grace without Christian's help? 

Maybe that's a good thing. Maybe that will entice the agent to read more. IDK, just typing out loud. It is really good, though. Really, really good.
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My trilogy is complete! POSSESSION, SURRENDER, ABANDON, and short stories REGRET and RESIST, are available now wherever books are sold.

My next novel, a YA contemporary novel, ELEVATED, is coming on February 18, 2014.

Visit my blog: http://elanajohnson.blogspot.com
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