You'll remember the query from Evil Editor's site and here and here. Plus the first page was workshopped here.
Chelsea was kind enough to share the query version that snagged Sandy as well as the version that garnered the most requests (they appear below). The takeaways for us, I think, are:
- It's a subjective business as to what's going to be THE thing that works.
- A good story well told will out no matter how it's packaged.
- Queries don't have to be perfect -- both of Chelsea's versions are very good; don't get my intent wrong here! We can always quibble and revise till either the query never gets sent out or it's drained of all its voice.
- Go with your gut in the end.
Here's the query version for The S-Word that Sandy saw (it was a "middle version"):
Seventeen-year-old Lizzie is the Prude of Verity High until a tryst with her best friend’s boyfriend transforms her into Queen of the Sluts. Suddenly the S-word shows up on everything: her notebooks, her locker, even her car. And BFF Angelina won’t look her in the face, let alone give her a chance to explain.
Then Lizzie commits suicide and Angelina is wracked with the guilt of what now seems like petty abandonment. To complicate matters, Lizzie’s tormenters appear to have moved on without remorse. Fueled by her anger, Angelina launches an investigation into their private lives, hoping to expose their secrets as a form of karmic justice. But what she discovers is that Lizzie kept more secrets than anyone, including the secret of what really happened the night she was branded a slut. Now Angelina’s not just angry, she’s fuming mad, and she’s about to exact revenge on the boy who hurt Lizzie the most.
And the later query version that got the most requests:
When seventeen-year-old Lizzie commits suicide, her best friend Angie is devastated she wasn't able to prevent it. So what if Lizzie got a little too entangled with the prom queen's boyfriend? Her classmates had no right to brand her "Queen of the Sluts". They certainly shouldn't have painted the s-word on all her belongings. It even showed up on her car. In the span of a month, the bullies at Verity High transformed Lizzie into a pariah, and Angie felt powerless to stop them.Not anymore.
Fueled by guilt and anger, Angie digs into the private lives of the people who tormented her best friend. Her goal is to expose their secrets as a form of vigilante justice. But her digging unearths something she never expected: Lizzie kept more secrets than anyone, including the secret of what really happened with the prom queen's boyfriend. Now Angie's not just angry, she's fuming mad, and she's about to exact revenge on the boy who hurt Lizzie the most.