Thursday, March 31, 2011

Chelsey Blair's Current Query

The other day I received an email from a reader. She wanted to know what the rules were for getting her query critiqued here on The QQQE. I had to think about it for a minute before answering her. As you all know I've done plenty of critiques here on the blog, most for friends I've known for a while, but I did also help my friend Shannon Whitney Messenger with a query critique contest she held, here.

The bottom line is, all you have to do is ask - and be willing to take my feedback publicly here on the blog. Now I hope this doesn't open me up to a deluge of query critique requests, becuase although I do love helping other writers, I don't have time to critique more than about one query a week. And the other thing is that I'm really no expert. I've learned a lot about query letters since I bungled my own several first attempts over a year ago now, and I have gotten to the point where I can write a decent one, but there is a lot of advice out there better than mine.

Anyway, today I'm sharing Chelsey Blair's current query for her WIP novel BACKGROUND VOCALS. Today is really just for introductions, so please save your feedback for tomorrow. Before I put the query up, please visit Chelsey's blog, and become a follower. She's relatively new to blogging, but she's very nice, and you won't be disappointed.

Here's her current query:

Dear [agent]

[Personal details]

Seventeen-year-old guitarist Meridian is sick of being mocked by her classmates at Fernsgrove High School, where her tendency to lapse into French when she’s pissed off has earned her the nickname Madame le Freak. They don’t care that she grew up in Paris, or that they’ll regret taunting her once she’s a star, and she plans to make that a reality sooner than anyone expects. She’s packed to leave when her cousin Natalie’s gymnastics accident changes her plan. Fourteen-year-old Natalie is the only one in Fernsgrove who understands Meridian’s rock-star aspirations. Natalie needs support to deal with the lifestyle changes that come with a prosthetic leg. Meridian has no choice but to damn herself to suburban hell for the foreseeable future.

For the summer, the girls retreat to Harvard Square in Cambridge, where it’s easy to hide from their nightmares amongst the living statues. They’re safe there, away from the divorce war-zone of their house, and the neighborhood bullies. While Natalie searches for a new passion, Meridian finds a place in the music scene. For the first time she experiences the safety that comes with letting people in. Maybe she can wait to run after her dream of stardom.

Or maybe not. She’s busking the line of a a late-night gig and an intoxicated concert-goer pulls a knife on them. She and Natalie make a narrow escape, and she blames the incident on her desire to showcase them on the streets, where people aren’t as accepting of their differences as she thought. Determined to find somewhere she can fit in without consequence, she demolishes the life she’s made for herself in Massachusetts and takes off for New York But playing solo isn’t as easy when you’re used to having back-up, and she may have alienated all of hers.

Background Vocals is a 81,000 contemporary dual-narrated young adult novel in the vein of Maureen Johnson, John Green and Sarah Dessen.

I am studying for my MA/MFA of Children's Literature at Simmons College, and I'm a member of SCBWI and an active participant at YALITCHAT.

Thank you for your consideration,

Chelsey Blair

So that's it for today. Don't forget to visit Chelsey's blog and say hi. And please save your constructive criticism for tomorrow.

17 comments:

Jessica Bell said...

Sounds interesting! Will now click her blog link :o)

Shain Brown said...

Ready and waiting. I am always interested to see what you have up your sleeve. See you tomorrow and meanwhile I'll check out her blog.

Old Kitty said...

Thanks for sharing Chelsey Blair's query!!! I liked it!!! Plenty going on!!!

Take care
x

Jess said...

I've seen this manuscript in a couple of other places (maybe Miss Snark's First Victim...I'm not sure), and I LOVE the title! It's always cool to see musicians featured in novels :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

A little long but good!

Michael G-G said...

I'd wondered the same--how the queries were chosen for critique--and now I find one just has to ask!? Sorry, mate, but I think you just opened a floodgate or two.

You're too modest, as well. From what I've seen of your critiques, you have a pretty sharp eye/keen ear for what works--and your merry band of followers are pretty excellent as well.

I might just send my query in...

Lisa Gail Green said...

I think it's awesome that you help out other writers! That's what I love about this community. I probably sound like a broken record, but the generosity amazes me every day. :D

Colene Murphy said...

Good to know the query laws!(or lack of ;) Really cool of you to help people out so openly!

Justine Dell said...

Mr. MacNish, I'm formally requesting that you crit ten queries for me. ;-) Think you can squeeze me in?

Off to visit her blog! Thanks for sharing!

~JD

Bish Denham said...

Hmmmm. I LIKE the premise.

Christina Lee said...

See how popular you've become, MacNish?!?!? Hi Chelsey--I'll check back in tomorrow!

Em-Musing said...

Interesting story, but I'm not one to critique.

Michael Offutt said...

Testing flood gates...yep...I think we got a burster over here (prepares query letter to stuff through the cracks).

Carrie said...

Sounds like an interesting story.

It's good to know that you just have to ask to get a query critiqued.

Sarah said...

Oh, Matt, I'm betting you're going to get a lot of query crit requests now! This sounds like a great story ... looking forward to seeing your thoughts tomorrow.

LTM said...

The first rule of Q3E...

yeah, you know.

This sounds great--looking forward to you saying everything I was going to say~ ;p <3

aspiring_x said...

and then the floodgates opened...
it was nice knowing you! :D