Ask Daphne! About My Query 6

October 7th, 2016 • Kate

AboutMyQueryThanks to all who’ve already sent in their queries for review and critique on this series. if you’re interested in hearing our feedback on your query, please send it to, and we’ll get back to you shortly. Now onto today’s query!

Dear kt literary:

When the universe resets itself, no one notices—except for Lia Tobin. Since she was six years old, Lia’s been able to recognize when the universe has reset and given her a chance to live life differently. The flip side of this gift? She can’t control when it happens.

After the disappearance of her little sister, Lia would give anything to be able to make the universe reset itself so she could have a chance to save Maddy. But the universe is uncooperative, which forces Lia to live through the rest of her senior year in infamy as the girl with the missing sister, watch her parents’ marriage dissolve, and finally discover Maddy’s body. All without a single chance at a do-over.

Until her former classmate, Jay Garza, is murdered, and the universe resets six months. Lia has the chance to save both Jay and Maddy, and she’s not going to waste it. On the day of Maddy’s kidnapping, Lia skips school to watch over her, thwarting the plans of whatever creep kidnapped her in Lia’s original timeline. Relieved, Lia turns her attention to Jay, hoping that if she can get close to him, she’ll be able to prevent his death. When she meets someone else who recognizes the resets, she learns that ten years in the future, Jay is a celebrated researcher on the brink of developing a cure for cancer. Protecting Jay now feels like saving the whole world.

But then Maddy disappears again. In fact, every time Lia gets closer to Jay, something happens to Maddy. When she focuses on Maddy, bad things happen to Jay. Lia is reset to avert each catastrophe, but she knows she must do more than fix things—she’s got to find out who’s responsible. As she knows only too well, the universe could stop resetting whenever it chooses, leaving Jay or Maddy to a terrible fate.

RESET is a 78,000-word work of speculative fiction for young adults that crosses EDGE OF TOMORROW with BEFORE I FALL. I am a regular contributor to the writing blog [redacted], as well as a stay-at-home mom of three with a Master’s degree in Genetic Counseling who greatly prefers writing novels to academic papers. Thank you for your consideration.


Thanks for sharing! On the whole, I think this is a really tight query. In fact, if this showed up in my query inbox, I’d probably request pages (hint, hint!).

Getting in to the nitty-gritty, you might be able to find a replacement word for “reset” in the second sentence, which could also help to define what you mean by it. Maybe something like “Lia’s been able to recognize when the universe has rebooted and given her a chance to live life differently.” Or “refreshed”?

Moving on, in the next paragraph, I think you can cut “in infamy”, which implies that Lia has something to do with Maddy’s disappearance, rather than what I think you intend, that she’s living out the rest of the year under a cloud of gossip.

You may also want to cut some of the plot you’ve included here. It’s informative, certainly, but I think there’s an emotional component that’s missing. How old is Maddy? What’s her relationship with Lia like? What do you mean by “every time Lia gets closer to Jay”? Are they dating? Is she stalking him?

I’m also quite curious about the “someone else who recognizes the resets”. If this is the antagonist, maybe you can tell us a little more about him/her. Are they actively working against Lia? Are they also trying to save someone they love?

I’d rather hear more about the relationships and the characters than just what happens next. Give me a little more of that, and I think this would be a slam dunk.

Hope that helps!

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