Ask Daphne! About My Query XII

wonder_woman_bootsAwesomely heroic boots for Jamie, who’s the author of our next About My Query post. As always, I’ll post her complete query with my comments following, and then will turn the comments over to you, my readers, for your constructive criticism. Without further ado…

Dear Daphne,

Compared to super speed and mind reading, sixteen–year-old Sketch McGee’s ability to draw the future makes her a pretty lame villain in a family of super-bads. In fact, she’s a clumsy geek just trying to survive high school. When the new guy, Chase Fairway, catches her eye—all that changes. They quickly fall for one another, but her heart is broken when she discovers he’s Zip, the new do-gooder in town flying around mucking up her family’s life of crime. While doodling, she learns she can not only predict the future, but alter it. She has the power to paint Chase into the perfect bad-boy boyfriend she’s always wanted.

So she does.

Armed with Zip by her side, life is going great, until she realizes he’s a whole different kind of bad guy, like murderous psychopath kind of evil. He goes after her father and Sketch is crushed when she learns he’s the guy from her drawings standing over her dad’s lifeless body. Now, she has to find a way to draw a new future or risk watching her father’s death—in real life.

SKETCH McGEE, a Young Adult Fantasy novel complete at 65,000 words, is available upon request.

Thank you,
Jamie

There’s something compelling about this, but I’m afraid I’m a little too confused. You might want to pick one name for Chase/Zip and stick to it, and describe his do-gooder personality without going into his superhero name. The line “In fact, she’s a clumsy geek…” coming so close to the beginning of your query, also makes me stop for a sec and wonder if she’s lying or kidding herself about her super-villain family. Zip’s “going after her father” is also confusing — “going after” seems to indicate he attacks, but the image of him standing over her father’s lifeless body is just from a drawing, right?

It’s an interesting idea — taking Isaac’s power from “Heroes” and putting it in the hands of a teenager — in a sense, combining the power to draw the future with the actual attempt to change it, with a twist. But as the query is written, it just doesn’t work for me.

As a side note, I find that superheroes, like vampires and werewolves, can crowd a list. In my case, for instance, where I already represent two books that feature superheroes, I doubt I have room for a third. How does this help you? Well, ask yourself — do they have to be superheroes? An artist who can draw the future, and suddenly finds she can manipulate it doesn’t need to be a member of a crime family to feel out of place in high school. And Chase can be the perfect-seeming new kid in school without having a secret identity as a crime fighter.

Just a thought.

What do you guys think?

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