Ask Daphne! About My Query LXXIV

colehaanbootsFor the first official AMQ post of fall, I just had to feature a great pair of boots, and these certainly fit the bill. (And can be yours, too!) Plus, they’re a little super-hero-y, don’t you think? Which ties in nicely with today’s query:

Dear Ms. Testerman,

Andrew, Cali, Sam, and Jupiter skip school and find themselves in the middle of a storm that knocks over a train car carrying the chemical Crydamtium. Each come in contact with Crydamtium and each gain an ability much like a comic book hero. However, these teens are no heroes. They are slackers, procrastinators, slightly selfish, and if the opportunity strikes, liars. The four of them soon discover that their powers come with a price and that they are not the only ones who have special abilities.

Raymondโ€™s son died mysteriously the night of the storm and he mistakenly believes Andrew and his friends are to blame. Raymond is bent on revenge and has the right amount of crazy to make it happen. As the teens rush to find out more about Crydamtium, they must decide which side of the moral line they stand on and whether they can kill to save themselves.

SLACKER HEROES is a young adult urban fantasy that is in progress at 37,000 words. I am focusing on building a platform while completing my manuscript. You may find me on Facebook or Twitter under my pen name, Jennifer J., or at my website, [link]. I follow your blog and Twitter and think your interest in the young adult genre without sparkling vampires fits right in with my characters who are a combination of NBC’s Heroes meets Breakfast Club. Again, thank you for your time.

Sincerely,
Jennifer R.

First of all, I should mention I took out a brief introductory paragraph before the book description, that was more about submitting the query for this post than an actual part of the letter. I mention it only in case any of you think the opening is a little abrupt.

But moving on, I think the key to making this query more intriguing is to give us a better sense of who Andrew and his friends are. Don’t just group them together under the phrase “Andrew and his friends”, and tell me that they’re “slackers, procrastinators, slightly selfish, and if the opportunity strikes, liars”. I want to know if Cali is the liar, while Sam’s more of just a slacker, or whatever. When you introduce four characters in the opening sentence of a query, I want to have a sense of each of them as a separate individual, not just as part of a group.

And, ultimately, this manuscript needs to be complete, not in progress, before you send a query.

I’m going to stop there, and give my readers room to add their comments, rather than pick apart each line myself. Guys, what do you think?

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