Friday, January 7, 2011

Query 51: Redux 2

The Family Grim

[Author's note (feel free to discuss in the comments): I found myself changing the query to the point that it no longer remained true to the story (I wonder if that happens to others?) Anyway, the new version remains true to the story ...]

Dear Agent:

Two hundred years ago Death’s most feared servant, the infamous Grim Reaper, sacrificed his immortality for the woman he loved, entrusting his eternal duty to his future descendants: the Family Grim. Three generations later, Jude Grim struggles to balance his deathly duties as a reaper with his life as a high school student buried in the shadow of his twin brother Drew, the local golden boy.

The twins may share the same unusual bloodline, but that doesn’t make them friends. Drew’s lust for blood and Jude’s compassionate soul have turned the two of them into bitter enemies. Adding to the rivalry is Skylar Petersen, Drew’s girlfriend and Jude’s lifelong crush. One night Drew goes too far, abusing his powers to murder a classmate who embarrassed him at school and then hiding the body in a nearby river. When Skylar discovers his secret, Drew adds her to his body count.

A heart-broken Jude is determined to save her. He pursues a forbidden remedy: seeds from the legendary Tree of Life. The seeds hold the power to reverse a reaper’s kill, but will only work for a short time following the victim’s death. With Drew hot on his trail and Death watching their every move, Jude has twenty four hours to find the tree and bring Skylar back before she’s lost forever. If Jude succeeds, his future will then be decided by Death himself, a man not known for his forgiveness.

THE FAMILY GRIM, a young adult fantasy novel, is complete at 72,000 words. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Comments

Excellent!

I'm left with only a few minor nits that probably won't matter much in the grand scheme whether you choose to address them or not.

P1: I'm not sure "buried" is your best word choice to go with "shadow" (although it works well with the whole death theme!).

P2: The "lust for blood" description makes it seem that Drew may have already gone too far in the past, so going too far now seems a bit off. Plus, adding Skylar to his body count when there seems to be just one in the count so far seems a bit hyperbolic.

P3: Delete "then". And is Death really a man? Maybe just change to "someone" or "Death".

What I especially like about this storyline -- and about The Guardian Legacy storyline we saw earlier -- is that these have male MCs in a category dominated by female MCs. I'm betting this will get requests simply based on that. Above and beyond that, though, this is a great query that will likely garner requests from those agents who might be on the fence about the male MC.

Best of luck, and let us know how the agent hunt goes!

5 comments:

Matt said...

Is the golden boy line in reference to him performing well as a member of Death's family? I wasn't sure if this meant that or he was popular at school etc.

Either way I'm having trouble reconciling golden boy and blood lust because a golden reaper would have restraint in taking lives (it's about accuracy, not body count, right?) and violent tendencies are atypical of popular, sociable people.

The bit about the tree of life seems contrived and the 24hrs. even more so.

Above are problems I have with the plot. The query itself is well written.

A note on what PHX said about male MC's in YA: I know a girl who had a male MC, but her agent recommended she change it to a female because he thought it would sell better...he was unable to sell it to publishers though.

vkw said...

this is good.

I didn't like the statement -

When Skylar discovers his secret, Drew adds her to his body count.

That just feels wrong - Maybe

When Skylar discovers what he did, she becomes his next victim.

Hiding her body in a nearby river.

I would say,

then dumps her body in a river.

I see alot of words, (mostly adjectives) that add voice but are unnecessary. For whatever reason this is bothering me.

"unusual bloodline" we know its unusual, no reason to tell us.
"nearby river" becomes implied when the secret is discovered by a local

I would search the query and considered deleting some of these adjectives that really is not adding anything to the query because its known by content.

I also did not like, "Three Generations later, Jude Grim struggles to balance his deathly duties as a reaper with his life as a high school student buried n the shadow of his twin brother, Drew, the local golden boy"

It's very long.

Three generations later, Jude Grim struggles to balance his deathly duties with Freshman Algebra while living in the shadow of his showboating twin, Drew.

That sentence above is still too long but wow . . 25 vs 35 words.

Maybe rewrite it or cut it in two but I would definately consider shrinking it somehow.

Other than these tiny suggestions - emphasis on suggestions because this ain't my interest, I think you have an excellent query.

vkw

And yes, by the way, when rewriting my query I found myself not being true to the story. I think it's part of the rewriting query thing that some time during the revision process there is a strong desire just to write something interesting and coherent that may or may not be a part of the story.

vkw said...

It looks like Matt is having problems with golden boy too.

What does that mean?

I thought it meant something like captain of the football team, most popular man on campus, Fabian of Smallville High.

That's why I said "showboating brother"

If you can specify it, (and not add to the long sentence do it)

AA said...

This seems stilted to me. Maybe it's the adjectives vkw mentioned.

I also thought dumping works better than hiding in that sentence.

Wilkins MacQueen said...

One night Drew goes too far, abusing his powers to murder a classmate who embarrassed him at school and then hiding the body in a nearby river. (he....)

then hid the body? I could be wrong but this sentence needs work to me. IMHO.

Good stuff and congrats and I agree with the comments about adjectives.