Saturday, August 27, 2011

Query Revision 26: Redux

Spy

Dear Editor,

As a stealth master in the SSS (Spies Serving Society), Sarhya helps protect her friends and the other street kids hiding from a despotic government that considers orphans nothing more than cheap labor. Dealing with infiltrators, smugglers and rival spies has become second nature after two years working with her fellow spies, but Sarhya will need more than talent to handle the crisis headed her way.

For the first time since the SSS formed, an adult has asked to join their ranks, and he is none other than the legendary Black Dragon, a stealth master like herself. Although Dragon's request is granted through a joint decision, Sarhya is none too pleased to have someone encroaching on her position, no matter how famous he is.

However, the SSS as a whole has larger issues to deal with than a little friction among its members. Black Dragon's former employer took offense when he walked out and is determined to get him back by any means possible, including blackmail involving an unsuspecting Sarhya, who is about to find out just how harsh reality can be when it comes to learning the truth about the family she has always imagined.

At 60,000 words, SPY is a futuristic adventure novel for middle grade readers. The completed manuscript is available upon request.

Thank you for considering my work.

Sincerely,

Comments

Through each iteration, I still find myself asking why such a legendary guy wants to join a youth group. And why a savvy bunch of kids lets him. I understand the prestige value from the kids' POV, but I think mentioning the motivation of the adult in the query will help pre-empt that question in the reader's mind. I think it's more important to know why he's joining than how he gets in. And probably more important than Sarhya feeling displeased that he's there. You could probably sneak that bit in more succinctly at the beginning of the last paragraph:

Sarhya's steamed at being snubbed, but the SSS as a whole has ...

Dealing with infiltrators, smugglers and rival spies has become second nature after two years working with her fellow spies, but Sarhya will need more than talent to handle the crisis headed her way.

This is a nit that may not bother anyone else, but I was trying to figure out who would be infiltrating the SSS? I could kind of imagine them infiltrating government groups but vice versa?

And, of course, if you say she'll need more than talent, I start to wonder what else she'll need -- friends, wits, knowledge?

6 comments:

Sarah Laurenson said...

IMO It's good, but not quite there. I think it needs some cutting. "just" "always" - these are words that editors are generally unhappy to see in a manuscript and you have them both in the last sentence. There are things here that border on cliche.

It's like you have this great story and you're hiding it behind stuff that's safe. I'd like to see it break out.

So I took a stab at what I think is essential leaving lots of room for more voice.

As a stealth master, Sarhya helps protect other street kids hiding from a despotic government that considers orphans nothing more than cheap labor. For the first time, an adult has asked to join their ranks – the legendary Black Dragon, a stealth master like herself. Sarhya is none too pleased to have someone encroaching on her position, no matter how famous he is. The Black Dragon's former employer is determined to get him back by blackmailing an unsuspecting Sarhya, who is about to find out how harsh reality can be when it comes to learning the truth about her family.

Wilkins MacQueen said...

Totally with Sarah, and great revision btw Sarah.

Can I suggest you put the organization name first then the initials in brackets when you mention the organization. After that use SSS.

I'm still guessing (as I did from the first go around) that Black Dragon is the mc's dad and that's why he wants in the kid organization. If so you can say so in the query, unbeknownst to... Black Dragon...

Don't hide the plot in the query which you have done without fail in each revision.

Back in the toaster oven. Please address the issues in the query that have been raised, more than once.

Until those problems are dealt with you won't get any farther.

Nice re-write but I wish you'd tackle the ambiguity I feel from the lack of story. Again.

Not giving out enough of the plot. Again.

You can fix this easily,so will you please?

Wilkins MacQueen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wilkins MacQueen said...

Sorry, posted comment twice. I deleted it.

Wilkins MacQueen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
vkw said...

My first thought is that the plot sounds a bit more complicated and uninteresting to a middle grade level.

I am not expert on this.

Sarhya and her friends live in a dangerous world where street kids are rounded up by the government to be used as cheap labor. As a stealth master, its become second nature for her to deal with infiltrators, smugglers and rival spies. (this is kind of odd to me. I would think street kids would be hoaning their skills on hiding, freeing kids taken and surviving).

For the first time in the group's history, an adult has asked to join their cause. He is none other than the Black Dragon who is renown (for something). Sarhya is none to happy when his request in granted. She doesn't want someone encroaching on her leadership. And, don't adults always take over?

Why does SSS as a whole have to deal with Black Dragon quitting his employer to join theirs? Doesn't sound like the employer took offense.

Sarhya's injured ego becomes the least of her worries when Black Dragon's former employer blackmails her in order to get him back. (what kind of blackmail and how does it lead to her learning about her family?)

The query is too wordy. There are meaningless phrases in here that can be easily cut.