A query is supposed to accomplish four things:
1. ID Main Character
2. State MC’s motivation/goal
3. Explain what is stopping MC from achieving goal
4. Describe stakes of what happens if MC does not achieve goal
It doesn’t get simpler than that.
SO…following that exact format I’ve written this bare bones query:
Everyone wants a piece of Sam Oliveira. He’s cool with cheerleaders and baseball scouts hunting him, but not the Brazilian drug cartel that employs his mother.
Sam’s inherited a preternatural talent that lets him see brief glimpses of the future. He can’t make much sense of the images – except when they’re about his calculus tutor, Gabby Wilkins, and her death and the hands of a faceless stalker.
Protecting Gabby could expose Sam’s gift and give the cartel a pawn to use against him. They will hurt Gabby if Sam refuses to work for them.
SAW IT COMING is YA Paranormal Romance complete at 65,000 words. It tracks Sam’s attempts to do the right thing without getting himself, or anyone else for that matter, killed.
So what do you think? Does it need more flesh?
Do I need to add in the following information:
- Everytime Sam tries to use his gift to figure out who the stalker is and where the attack happens he ends up with a migraine and barfing his guts out?
- Since Sam doesn’t know how to use his gift he needs more training. The cartel wants to train him but their methods are brutal. His other choice is an uncle Sam’s only met once, and doesn’t particularly like.
- What about the fact that Sam likes Gabby, but her dad thinks he’s a drug dealer and Gabby thinks Sam’s mom is a prostitute? Pretty funny, but I’m not sure it’s important.
I’ve written five other queries. All have more meat, but have gotten mixed responses in Query Hell.
So friends…what do you think?
Lindsay N. Currie
Becky, I actually think this is a great start for a query! You know, in terms of fleshing out, I would simply want a few more pieces of the puzzle. Don’t give away all your little secrets of course, but maybe working in Sam’s inability to hone his talent, he suffers physical problems might be a good one to include. I would suggest the query letter hell on AW too – they’re brutal but helpful!!
Here’s another, fleshier version. Still not right though:
It sucks to know that your mom works for the bad guys. Sam Oliveira has grown accustomed to the notion, but he isn’t looking forward to becoming their newest recruit.
Seeing blips of the future is an inherited trait; one that gives a good ballplayer—or a drug dealer—a definite edge.
When a middle of the night relocation dumps Sam in suburban Houston, he’s shocked that everyone still wants a piece of him. Having drug lords and human traffickers after him is one thing, but baseball scouts and cheerleaders is something completely different.
Staying below the Brazilian cartel’s radar becomes trickier when Sam starts having horrible visions about his calculus tutor, Gabby Wilkins. Gabby is his dream girl, in every sense. And she’s being stalked by someone who intends to harm her. Sam knows that protecting Gabby could expose his Gift, and would break his mother’s cardinal rule not to get involved in other people’s futures.
SAW IT COMING is a young adult paranormal romance of 65,000 words that tracks Sam’s attempts to do the right thing without getting himself, or anyone else for that matter, killed.
Maybe leaving out the relationship details? As you already put it, you think it’s funny, but not essential for the query itself.