Ask Daphne! About My Query LI

April 9th, 2010 • Kate

IMG_1041The image here is a giant shoe I saw in real life, in London, above the marquee at the theatre showing the stage version of “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.” Therefore, it is awesome. And no, it doesn’t have anything to do with today’s query. And speaking of today’s query:

Dear Ms. Testerman,

Seventeen-year-old Channing Russo flinches at the simple touch of another person. Every day something as common as brushing shoulders with a friend in the hallway could land Channing in the midst of someone’s future make-out session; something she’d rather not witness. Other visions are worse.

When Channing runs head on into a girl, she sees a vision of her being brutally murdered by a serial killer. Channing knows she has to do something, but what? Telling people she can see into the future is sure to label her as the town crazy. Instead, she takes things into her own hands against the better judgment of Reed Thatcher, the first and only person she feels comfortable revealing her abilities to.

Chasing down a murderer, dealing with the isolation her visions bring her, and coming to terms with her feelings for Reed, all leave Channing wishing she were a normal teenage girl. But she’s not, and when her visions begin bleeding into her reality, she’s unaware that the killer is now hot on her trail.

Too bad Channing’s visions never showed her alone, gagged, and shackled to a cold, metal table.

CHANCE is a young adult paranormal fantasy, complete at 65,000 words. I’m an active member of DFW Writer’s Workshop and YALitChat. The full manuscript is available upon request. Thank you for your time and consideration.

T.N.

There’s a lot here I like. We get a sense of what Channing’s life is like normally, then see how something she couldn’t plan for is the inciting incident of the plot. There’s danger, adventure, romance… all good. But (you knew there had to be a “but”, right?) Why is it that brushing shoulders with someone “could” give Channign a vision? What’s the trigger between having a vision and not? Does she know? It’s fine if she doesn’t, but I think that’s something you could perhaps allude to in the query.

I’d also really like to know more about Reed and the unnamed girl whose murder Channing sees. Is she involved in Channing’s actions of taking “things into her own hands”? Who is Reed? Right now, he’s no one but a name. Why does Channing feel comfortable telling him about her ability?

I’m also a little confused about “her visions begin bleeding into her reality”. What does that look like? Feel like?

Now, I always try to ask a lot of questions when I post a query, but the truth is, I rarely get into this much detail when I’m looking at a query for consideration. If the query for CHANCE came across my desk as is, would I read on? Yes. I’d want to check out the opening pages to see the writing. The plot feels a little like something I’ve seen before, so I’m not automatically asking for chapters, but it’s a strong query.

What do you guys think?

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9 Responses to “Ask Daphne! About My Query LI”

  1. Stephanie McDonnell Says:

    I was all ears at the start. Good, strong beginning. She had my attention!

    But I started getting lost once Reed came in. Who is he? Where does he fit in? I don't know a thing about him or what makes him special, but Channing has feelings for him. Hmm. I would've liked to hear a juicy bit about Reed.

    But I must say, I would certainly like to add something like this to my collection. I hope to see it in the near future!

    Steph

  2. Rissa Watkins Says:

    This query sounds like another I have read- but that could be because I have read it around the internet on one of the query sites.

    I like it. I would never have noticed the could without Kate pointing it out.

    I agree about what Kate and Stephanie said about Reed. Want to know more. Did she already know him? Like him?

    And the line about her being shackled to the chair is kick butt!

    I would read this book. Good job!

  3. Adrienne Says:

    I was hooked by the query, I think all the questions she invoked, were perfect, wanting you to read on and get all of them answered. From a readers point of view anyway!

  4. Krista V. Says:

    I thought this was a fine query, too, but it just seems like something that's been done before. If the pages captured a great voice, that would probably tip the scales (in your favor). As it is, I'm left feeling a little meh.

    Now even as you read that, I'm sure you're shouting at the computer screen, "But there's this and this and this that make CHANCE so much different and better!" Those are the things I want to hear about! Infuse a little of your manuscript's uniqueness into the query, and I think you've definitely got something here.

    Good luck!

  5. Cynthia Foster Says:

    I feel like I just read this book. The new title The Body Thief is a great book with a similar hook, but I thought this was a very strong query that I read the whole way through, something I usually don't do. Good job author.

  6. Cynthia Foster Says:

    Sorry for double posting, but it's not The Body Thief, but The Body Finder. I read The Child Thief back to back with this one and got 'em confused. Sorry. 🙂

  7. Janet B Says:

    The query is very well-written. Much better than most posted here (including my own). But the story does sound a lot like Seven Rays, where the MC can "feelsee." Try to flush out what makes your story unique and get that in the query.

  8. Mandy Says:

    I agree that we need more about Reed. My first instinct when I read the name was that Reed was a girl (because Reed is one of those names that could go either way). So if Reed is a guy I would – at the very least – insert a "he" somewhere in there, just to clarify.

  9. Tiffany Neal Says:

    Thanks for all the help! I started feeling schizophrenic and partially bipolar writing this query because I posted it on Absolute Write's Query Hell and Nathan Bransford's Query Forum and was pulled in SO many different directions on how to write it.

    I originally had a lot more about Reed in it and everyone told me to scale back on their relationship. But, I see I scaled back too much!

    I wrote the full MS and wrote the query but haven't started seeking an agent for this MS because like everyone is saying, the market is so saturated with this type of book. I've shelved it for the time being and I'm working on some more original ideas.

    All of your feedback has been helpful in seeing places that I will need to focus on for future queries and even on this one when I go back and work on it again some more. Thanks Kate for this opportunity and everyone else for your invaluable feedback! 🙂