Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Current Query Part II

So, since today WriteOnCon really does actually start I'll keep this short. Here is the query Lady LiLa sent back to me:

Hey Matt! You are SO close with this! Hopefully we helped a little...

Dear Lady LiLa, HA.

The last thing Lee (insert last name here) expected to discover in the bitter wilderness of northern Idaho was magic. But after the death of his mother, and estrangement from his useless, high-society, drunk-whenever-he's-home father, Lee is shipped off to Rocky Mountain Academy and that's exactly what he finds.

Despite having to earn the right to attend classes after months of hard labor and being placed on restriction after getting caught alone in the woods with a female student, Rocky Mountain Academy redeems itself when Lee finally learns of the mysterious curriculum. The classes have names like "The Eight Principles of Yong" and "The Way of Unifying With Life Energy." In them Lee and his new friends (and enemies) study everything from East Asian Calligraphy and Meditation to Aikido and Kenjutsu.

Permission to actually kick ass is pretty awesome when you're fifteen and convinced it's you against the world.

Through these disciplines Lee and his fellow students learn to use their talents to harness their Chi for things like healing, telekinesis and imbuing their weapons with rockin' powers. And it's a good thing Lee stayed awake during class because the master of the school is sending a team of students on a mission to investigate an abandoned silver mine. While underground, they are attacked by Stone Golem Earth Elementals, (need a description here), and their newfound friendship and magical skills are put to the test.

Before reform school, Lee never in a million years thought he'd be battling subterranean monsters using Eastern mysticism. Then again he never thought he'd make an actual friend either.

Insert bio/reason you're querying here.

So as you can see they tightened up the plot descriptions drastically, which is AWESOME. This is way better than what I sent them, but I'm sure you'll all agree it's still not QUITE right. Tomorrow you'll see a few more changes I made to inject a little more voice and emphasize some of the changes they helped me make, and tomorrow's version, which is the current one, is the best I have so far but it still isn't perfect.

We can discuss that tomorrow.

LiLa and I also discussed a couple of other things about queries. We agreed that actually writing one in first person and leaving it that way is not an option, though we didn't consider writing it in first and then changing it - which I think is brilliant. I also asked them whether referring to the genre as YA Rural Fantasy would be a good idea, and while they thought the joke was pretty funny they weren't sure whether agents would get it. I see their point and probably won't do it ... except when I query Nathan Bransford because he liked it: see?

21 comments:

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

Wow! This is AWESOME! I've read your original drafts of this query when you posted them, and I was intrigued by the story. But this query is energetic, well-paced, and really sells the story in a way the others didn't. I can't wait to hear the results when you finalize this and get it out there!

Best of luck!

Candyland said...

Ooohhh much tighter! Yay for Lila, Tim!!!

Ted Cross said...

This is starting to get there. To me it is still to long, but then again I keep seeing successful queries that seem to long to me, so what do I know?

KarenG said...

Sounds intriguing, now if you can insert some of that voice which comes across in your comments to blogs, which always make me chuckle and think "what a cool guy" then you'll have it made.

Will Burke said...

How could they NOT get the "rural fantasy" joke? You may not be giving them enough credit. How much do you want to work with someone that lack-witted and stiff?

Matthew Rush said...

Well you are correct Will, the rural fantasy genre joke IS hilarious, I mean I DID come up with it myself so ...

but LiLa and I agreed that some agents can be a bit uptight about something as serious as genre, and you don't want to alienate anyone ...

but Nathan Bransford totally agrees with you. Click that link to see what he had to say about it.

K. M. Walton said...

Much better than draft 1. I particularly like this line, "Permission to actually kick ass is pretty awesome when you're fifteen and convinced it's you against the world." It says so much about both the character and the plot.

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Matthew Rush said...

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I'll can it at the end of the day.

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Joanne Brothwell said...

I think "Rural Fantasy" is awesome!

aspiring_x said...

rural fantasy! that's perfect! (would work for mine too!) new genre! hooray!
cant wait to see tomorrow's query!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You never know - YA Rural Fantasy could be the next 'it' genre!

Old Kitty said...

Hi

I want to go to Rocky Mountain Academy even in my advanced years after reading this!

And I love the term Rural YA Fantasy!! That's so tongue in cheek and did make me laugh - in a good way, of course!

Take care
x

Christina Lee said...

Ohh yes yes yes, I like how you re showing us in stages!
And I say you query Nathan with rural fantasy--he'll be sure to remember you!

Talli Roland said...

Wow! It's a big difference - a lot zingy-er! I like it. I agree with Nicole: it sells the story much better.

Jemi Fraser said...

I'm glad my favourite line made it into this version :)

I think you could use Rural Fantasy depending on the agent - they'd get a kick out of it :)

Jen said...

Way to go you Matt!!! This is so flippin AWESOME!!! You're doing awesome putting your work out there and having it come back stronger! You're an inspiration for me!

PS I'm glad you like my candyland tee :)

Shannon said...

The improvement in your query is remarkable, Matt! I get a better sense of the story's voice.

I can't wait to see how you tightened it up.

Well done! ;)

P.S. HI!!!

Vicki Rocho said...

I've been waiting and wondering about where your query was these days. Wow this has come such a long way! Thanks sharing its evolution!

Ted Cross said...

Matt, thanks for letting my query appear on your blog! I know it can be made still better, so I hope viewers will chime in with any good advice.