Thursday, April 9, 2009

Twentieth Time Is A Charm

I think I've got it. My query letter. You tell me if I'm right.

It's 149 words long and has everything Nathan Bransford says a good query letter needs. Best of all, it's almost identical to my "five sentences' from the Snowflake Method. Here we go:

Fourteen year old Paige Moss is a bleeding-heart humanitarian optimist held captive by her own timid nature. But when she is kidnapped by a deranged visionary, Paige must get past her shyness in order to save her sister’s integrity, her friend’s happiness, and her city’s existence from his manipulating grip. A much bolder Paige exposes the visionary’s ruthless game, follows him into exile to retrieve a precious belonging, and leads a team of allies to save her city from his vengeance. Through her oft-dangerous, yet light-hearted adventures, Paige is accompanied by a diverse cast of unforgettable friends. She learns that shyness is not a state of existence, but a choice – that her character is really the sum of her actions – and becomes the hero she never expected she could be.

Angel Undercover is an 84,000 word YA fantasy. It is my first novel and it sets up for sequels.


By the way... did you see that? 84,000 words! I'm in the middle of chapter 17 (of 25), so it'll go down more. I'm shooting for 80K.

This is my "fluff" layer of edits. You know, all the extra words and sentences. You should check out Lady Glam's series of posts about layers. She explains it exactly how I do it.

Next I'll be going through combing for content, then tension, then nit-picks. It's such a long process, and my word count might go up again, but it will improve my novel. I know it will. You know it will.

Oh, and on the side, I'm filling doing the Snowflake Method on AUC and it's first sequel. It really gives great insight into a novel, in addition to clarity the query process has given. You really have to dig to find what's key. It's hard, but totally worth it.

For comparison, here is my "five sentences" from the snowflake method: (You know, setup, three major disasters/plot points, and conclusion.)

Fourteen year old Paige Moss, a bleeding-heart humanitarian optimist held captive by her own timid nature, gets kidnapped by a deranged visionary. Paige must get past her shyness in order to save her sister’s integrity, by exposing the visionary’s ruthless game. When he steals the source of her friend’s happiness, Paige must follow him into exile to retrieve it. Then her city is threatened by yet another of the visionary’s plans and Paige must lead a team of allies to protect it from destruction. Through her oft-dangerous, yet light-hearted adventures, Paige learns that shyness is not a state of existence, but a choice – that her character is really the sum of her actions – and becomes the hero she never expected she could be.

The revised Sentence:

When Paige gets kidnapped, she must get past her shyness in order to save her sister’s integrity, her friend’s happiness, and her city’s existence from the manipulating grip of a deranged visionary.

And the revised 15 word summary sentence: (yeah, mine is 21 words)

A girl must part with her timid nature to save her sister, her friend, and her city from a deranged visionary.

For those of you who've seen the earlier versions of all these things, isn't this much clearer?

How many of you find that some or all of these methods help you understand your novel?

4 comments:

Lady Glamis said...

Ahhh, so much clearer!!!! I love it all! Isn't the Snowflake Method great? I use it all the time, even if not at the beginning.

I like your query summary, but the first sentence seems wordy.

...bleeding-heart humanitarian optimist...

That's quite a mouthful! Otherwise it's getting closer. This is a bit different than what you sent me in the email. Which one is the final?

Crimogenic said...

I like your query summary. I just suggest you add a few specific details to ground the story a bit more. Who is the visionary? Does Paige know his method?

Crimogenic said...

Oops, also meant to add... keep up the good work! Queries are a pain!

Anette J Kres said...

Thanks Glam!

Crimy - thanks for the encouragement. :) Yeah, queries suck. But I feel like it's getting there.

I put this version up at The Public Query Slushpile and based on the responses there, I updated it again. I LOVE the nevest version.

The only things I wish it had now is more voice and I need to squeeze the novel's mood in somewhere (because while it's a fast paced, danger filled novel, the overall mood is light-hearted and optamistic.) I don't think that comes across in the newest query (v21).

Ah well, we can't win them all, can we? I think I'm just going to have to accept that it will never be perfect. But it gets just a little closer each revision!