You Guys Love Me…Right?

Please tell me that you do and that you’d love to help me with something!

I’ve rewritten my query letter for the umpteenth time and was hoping to get a little feedback. If you have a minute (I know, I know it’s a Friday for the love of Pete!) would you read it and tell me if it sucks?

Thanks. Here it is:

Sam Oliveira can barely make through a day without gut-wrenching visions. Glimpsing natural disasters and terrorist attacks leaves him with a pounding migraine and his head in the toilet, but he accepts that no seventeen-year-old can prevent those things from happening.

When his latest nightmares reveal the death of his crush, Gabby Wilkins, at the hands of a faceless stalker, Sam knows he can’t wait and do nothing. Problem is, Sam’s only getting flashes — wild images of her being beaten, broken, submerged in water. If he could learn to control his precognition, he might be able to protect her.

The two people who can help Sam — and uncle with a murderous agenda and a drug lord who wants Sam’s gifts for his business — seem untenable options but time is slipping away and Sam is desperate.

Be honest. Be cruel. Pretend you’re Query Shark and chomp away. I’ll love you forever.

11 Comments

  • Kristal Lee

    Suggest cutting excessive words, especially vague ones. Make every word count. I made some suggestions below to tighten. You’ve got a great hook with the uncle and drug lord.

    Sam Oliveira [can’t] make it through a day without gut-wrenching visions but he’s accepted that no seventeen-year-old can prevent those tragedies.

    When his nightmares reveal the death of his crush, Gabby Wilkins, Sam knows he can’t do nothing. The problem is that he’s only [seeing] flashes of her beaten, broken {body} submerged in water. He might be able to [prevent her death]if he could learn to control his precognition.

    Sam is desperate.{With}time slipping away, a murderous uncle and a power-seeking drug lord may be his only[hope].

    Good luck with your query! Hope you keep us posted.

  • Lydia K

    I couldn’t help but remember that movie with Tom Cruise. One of the main precog visions he reviews is of water and possible drowning.

    The similarity pulled me out of reading the query for a bit.

    Other than that, the story sounds exciting!

  • Constance

    looks fab!

    is that a typo as well with “and uncle” should it be “an uncle”

    I agree with Crystal, tighten tighten tighten.
    I certainly agree with the suggestions for the first line. that needs to be super tight!

    i wonder if you still want the rest of that first paragraph if you could fit it after the first line that Kristal suggested.

    rework and re-post it and lets have a look!

    love the idea behind the story:-)

  • JEFritz

    I don’t think you need the first paragraph at all. It’s background, and one thing I’ve learned from the Shark is you should show, not tell what’s happening.

    Also, I didn’t like the word untenable. It didn’t seem like a word a seventeen year old would use.

    Overall, the story idea seems great. I’d just work on showing instead of telling, like, show specific things that makes the uncle murderous and the drug lord exploitative of Sam. They don’t have to be long (actually, it’s probably better if they’re not) just effective at making the reader feel the conflict of the story.

    Does that make sense? I hope so.

  • Angela Scott

    I actually think it reads very well. One of the better query letters I’ve seen.

    The three rules (or what people say the rules are for query letters): 1st para, intoduce character and age. Hook. You did that. 2nd para, set up conflict and what the MC stands to lose. You did that. 3rd para, your credentials. You have extra paragraphs, but I think they’re okay. Or you could combine them. Keep it to under 300 words and you’re good to go.

    As far as the showing vs telling in a query, not sure about that. There’s only so much showing you can do. I do have a query of mine posted on my site under the Got Zombies? tab (I know, I know. Weird), but I’ve had great success with it.

    Good luck. The query letter is a pain in the behind to write, but you’re totally on the right path πŸ™‚

  • Kathryn

    Hey Becky – something about the first paragraph feels off. I know it’s meant to introduce us to Sam’s issues, but I feel like you have a lot of extra words that you’re wasting there. Keep it short and sweet, and use a bit more voice.

    Good luck! We’re here for you! πŸ™‚

  • Tracey Neithercott

    Your book sounds great. And your query letter is pretty clean. But here are some ideas. They’re just my opinion and the changes are written off the top of my head so they pretty much suck. πŸ™‚

    * I’d start with a stronger hook. I like yours, but I think it should sum up the main plot, which includes a conflict. What’s he want and what’s the obstacle? Such as: Seventeen-year-old Sam Oliveira’s gotten used to the migraine-inducing visions he gets throughout the day–that is, until he sees his crush getting killed.

    * Then I’d go on to more of the basics with conflict: Sam can’t go a day without an attack. But they’re usually about events he can’t control: natural disasters or terrorist attacks. When he glimpses Gabby Wilkins being killed by a faceless stalker, Sam knows he can’t wait and do nothing. Problem is, Sam’s only getting flashes — wild images of her being beaten, broken, submerged in water. If he could learn to control his precognition, he might be able to protect her.

    * And then end like you did, with the “so what”? The two people who can help Sam — and uncle with a murderous agenda and a drug lord who wants Sam’s gifts for his business — seem untenable options but time is slipping away and Sam is desperate.

    Hope that’s helpful!

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