Teaser Thursday - Let's Try a Query!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Put away the torches and pitchforks, I'm not asking you to write me a query. Instead of posting a snip this week, I'm posting the query I've been working on in tandem with Arclight.

I start query writing before I start a given book. It's a great way to pin down the plot. Now that I'm considerably farther along, I think I've got enough together that the query's complete.

What do you think? Does it have voice? Is it engaging? Does the plot come through?

Dear SuperAgent:

No one survives The Fade. Five words of rhetoric and rule burned into every child of the Arclight from birth... until Marina stumbles out of the dark very much alive and with no idea how she got there. Anytime she tries to remember, she's slammed with a massive headache that obliterates her thoughts and makes her never want to try again.

Marina finds herself in a world where survival means staying in the light. Beyond it lies the Fade, a chameleon-like race who have driven humanity to the brink of extinction. Her survival gives the humans hope, but it also puts them in immediate danger as the Fade can't risk allowing her to live.

A savior pariah, she's blamed for the series of violent, nightly attacks that begin with her arrival, and her one ally turns out to be a boy with more reason to hate her than most. Tobias is the son of the man who died bringing Marina to safety.

Together they discover that it's not her the Fade are after, but the rescue of one of their own taken prisoner. A young Fade pleads for their help locating his captured mate. But finding her won't be easy. The Arclight isn't just built to protect its people; it's built to protect its secrets.

By the time they dig through the lies, and find Rue's lost love, Marina's left with one terrifying conclusion: she wasn't rescued from the darkness so much as she was stolen from it.

Arclight is a Dark YA Fantasy complete at [80,000 words]. I've included the first pages and a synopsis with this query and can send additional chapters on request. Thank you for your time; I look forward to hearing from you.

Josin L. McQuein

(copyright -- Josin L. McQuein; 2010)

10 Chiming In:

Terry Towery said...

Excellent query. A couple things I noticed:

1. Who is Rue? The name just pops up and while I ASSUME its the young Fade, I don't know that for sure since I don't know the story (nor does the prospective agent).

2. A lesser observation: I'd end the first paragraph after " ... her thoughts." I'd lose the rest, since it's superfluous. I know it sort of adds a cadence to the sentence, but it's a bit wordy IMHO.

Otherwise, very good! If only mine was half as good ....

Josin L. McQuein said...

Great points, Terry. Thanks!


Unknown said...

I thought this letter was great! The pace is high, the sentences flow seamlessly, and I was left thinking, Now here's a book I'd love to read!

I think agents will too! Best of luck with the project :)

Roland D. Yeomans said...

What a great query, Josin.

The only suggestion I would make is to have your first sentence stand alone as I did with my first sentence in this comment. It then acts as a tag line : something you would see on a jacket blurb.

Just a thought. You have a blog which makes me smile and feel good for having visited, Roland

Jaleh D said...

Wow. That sounds like a book I'd love to read. I get a sense of what the conflict is about, a little about the characters, and that things aren't what they seem.

Tahereh said...

ok, while every query can be chopped up and skewered, at the end of the day, agents are looking for a great concept delivered coherently.

i think this story sounds fabulous, and i'd TOTALLY read it.

i think you've got a winner on your hands ;)

best of luck, my fingers are crossed for you!!

Anonymous said...

I read the first page on Nathan Bransford's page and thought it was terrific - way better than the page that won. Your book sounds great. Hope you find a publisher soon!

Josin L. McQuein said...

Thanks everyone :-)

It's good to hear the query works.

Now, if I can just get some input from QueryShark...


Tahereh said...


like Anon, above, i too just read your first 250 words (right?) on NB's page and OMG OMG OMG i want to read your book!!!

i was totally hooked.

(preferably soon, because, uh, i have needs, you know.)


Josin L. McQuein said...

LoL Tahereh. :-)

I go back and forth between those 250 being the opening or not. There's another section I keep wanting to stick in front of them.

*makes self not edit until MS is "totally" finished*

.... really wants to edit now. :-(

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