Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Query Critique #3: BEFORE ALL IS LOST

My thoughts are added in redI may underline a sentence to draw attention for discussion. Every comment is my own opinion. Readers, feel free to leave your own comments below and help a fellow writer out!

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Original Version (with comments):

Dear [Insert Agent's Name]:

Lady Henrietta Wickes was rich, pretty, and happy.

Lord Benedict Wickes was rich, handsome, and evil.

When Henrietta found out, she blindly ran. (The way you have this worded makes me think that your book is dual POV. If that's the case--great! If not, you may want to reconsider your opening. Also, instead of telling us Lady Wickes was happy and Lord Wickes was evil, show us in that opening line. Something like: Lady Henriette Wickes has the perfect life--until she uncovers her husband, Lord Wickes', secret experiments on orphans (maybe he's not doing that, but you get the drift). Then move on to your line, Disgusted with her husband's malicious actions, she blindly ran.) Now she's stuck in the cutthroat underbelly of society known as the Crease (This has me thinking it's Dysotopian. Is that the case? Or is it fantasy? Might want to make that clear up front by saying In the world of _____, Lady Henriette Wickes has the perfect life...).  Henrietta is rescued by a group called Temper Mints and finds refuge in the patchwork family of illegal magicians, mechanics, and thieves (You've hooked my attentions here! Love the concept of illegal magicians, mechanics, and thieves!).

Henrietta trades her social savvy for street smarts.

Benedict plans to replace the aristocracy with a tyranny (Again, here makes me think that there's dual POV going on).

 Struggling with ethics dealing with law versus humanity (Show us how she's struggling instead of telling us. Give events from the book that show this), Henrietta must protect her new friends,  fight off a new love interest (Why is she fighting off a new love interest?), and save the country from her husband.

BEFORE ALL IS LOST is my debut (You could cut this word, you don't need to tell an agents it's your first book!). It is a 71,000 word YA novel. The full manuscript is available on request. (Another version of this line could be: BEFORE ALL IS LOST is a 71,000 word YA novel.)

(Another note, from the beginning, I was thinking this was an adult novel because your MC is already married. Might want to mention her age up front)

Thank you for your time and consideration.

FINAL NOTES:

I plugged your query into MS word and the "meat" of it only came to 102 words. The basic line for a query letter is 250. I think you could stand to add some more plot in the end, especially some more information about what Henrietta is doing with these illegal MMTs as well as her husband's plan. Let me know if you want me to take another look at any of your edits. Good luck!