Thursday, December 8, 2016

Query Critique #26: SOMEWHERE BETWEEN YOU AND ME

My thoughts are added in redEvery 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 ______,



New York belongs to dreamers. That’s why Aven moves from her small town in Oklahoma to study medicine in the Big Apple. Once there, she realizes she might be at the wrong place after all. She isn’t sure of who she is or what she wants anymore. She hates her gloomy job as a nursing assistant and the idea of getting into med school at the end of summer causes her a major anxiety attack. On top of all, she knows no one and nothing about her new supposedly home and after taking the wrong subway and ending in a dangerous neighborhood in Brooklyn, wandering the city streets alone scares her.



Wow! Aven is a brave young woman, moving to NYC from Oklahoma to study medicine. I love that you have things turn out to be everything but what she expected. This paragraph is a little long though. I think you could condense it into two sentences. The main goal of your first sentence is to hook the agent in right away with your main character, plot, etc. Here’s an example to get you started:

New York City belongs to dreamers, and twenty-year-old Aven Insert-Last-Name has dreams as big as the Oklahoma sky where she grew up. Except when she arrives in the Big Apple to study medicine, the dangers of city life and the rigors of nursing threaten to send her fleeing back to her small town.

(I think you should bring this up to the first paragraph since you have dual POVs in this query, each POV gets a paragraph.) But everything changes the day she meets Jeremy, a handsome street musician who plays at Central Park and captivates her with his melancholic music. Jeremy is everything she’s afraid doesn’t dare to be−brave (I think she’s brave for moving from Oklahoma to NYC!), confident, and passionate about what he does−and he knows the city like the back of his hand (I think this becomes clear when he offers to show her NYC). So when he offers Aven the opportunity to experience New York together she accepts, going against her plans and her mother’s warnings warns to not get distracted by boys and ruin her future

Jeremy knows what he wants from his life−play guitar, sing, and be the owner of his destiny. He’s not going to pretend to be some else or conform to a life half lived anymore. When he meets Aven, the a lost lonely girl who unexpectedly becomes his muse, he’s sure he wants her to be part of his future even though she wants nothing but his friendship (It looked like she wanted more than friendship in the paragraph above.).

(This should be its own paragraph since its bringing the POVs together) As Aven and Jeremy they experience explore the city together, ignoring their growing attraction, they realize their stories dreams are not so different. But this connection they share could bring them together or tear them apart if Aven isn’t willing to admit her feelings. Aven finds herself torn between Her true dreams could become a reality, but she’s torn between breaking her mother’s heart (I think you need to make it clearer that her mom really wants Aven to be a nurse. Otherwise the stakes here don’t seem so dramatic.) or her own.

SOMEWHERE BETWEEN YOU AND ME (Love the title!) is a NA contemporary novel completed at 50,000 words (The WC seems a little low for NA). The story alternates between Aven and Jeremy’s point of view with some of Jeremy’s chapters written in verse. Some of Jeremy’s chapters include songs. Though it is a standalone novel it has series potential the potential of becoming a series.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,


Despite the red, this is a really good query letter. You made both of your characters real for me and introduced the stakes. Well done! I did a lot of shaving word count wise because the query clocked in at 364 words. The sweet spot for a query letter is 250-300. Since this is a contemporary romance, I think you’d be better off being closer to 250 words. Good luck! Let me know if you would like me to take another look once you’ve done some edits.


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