Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Summer Query Extravaganza #6 & Query Kombat Matchups

I'm super excited to host the Fourth Round of Query Kombat featuring the Elite 8! The voting will start tomorrow so that means this is the last Query Extravaganza for awhile. I'll try to start them up again in July but no promises.

Tomorrow's matchups will be:

The Decapitator versus Minna Gray

Mississippi Crazypants versus Lies and Lovers

Jungle Vendetta versus Colorblind

Elementary Girl versus SuperGeeker

Cheer for your favorites, and see if you can pick who will be the last Kombatant standing. Voting for the Elite 8 runs from June 20 - 23. The judges are going to agonize over this one.

Query Kombatants, please stick around and leave a comment on query #6!

Dear Ms/Mr. [Agent Name here]

Charlotte Grimly does a decent job pretending she isn’t schizophrenic.(What if you changed 'pretending she isn't' to hiding her? That would cut out the negative and a word.) Except when she’s trying to ignore the white noise buzzing in her ears and make coffee at the same time.(The first two should be one sentence.) All she wants is to be normal, but when a series of murders staged as suicides shakes her small town of Bellingham, the police place the blame at the resident loon’s feet. (Could cut the name of the town. It just adds words and is a less important sort of detail.) I think you might need to include a stronger link here. Why do they put the blame on her? There has to be a stronger reason, especially if she is doing such a good job of covering herself.

Things don’t look any better when her childhood friend Elizabeth shows up and drops another bomb in Charlotte’s lap: Lizzie’s finally losing her sight. I'm debating whether the 'finally' hurts you or is needed. The sentence would be stronger without it. You don't have to be 100% true to the story in a query. Lights out. Charlotte’s heartache over her friend and the looming threat of a killer at large trigger the onset of a series of hallucinations. (The s on hallucinations implies a series. You could save yourself from extra words.) Waking up in odd places and discovering mysterious bruises and broken fingernails becomes the least of her worries when her hallucinations turn from menacing shadows and harsh voices in her sleep to grotesque waking visions of mutilated friends. Even Charlotte begins to doubt her innocence, wondering if her mind is playing a deadlier trick on her. (Try cutting the last part of this sentence as it's understood. The first part is a stronger place to end.)

Something lost in Charlotte’s past seems to be clicking into place and aligning with the suicides. ('Seems' is a word that weakens. I'd avoid it for a stronger verb. Maybe starts or begins.) Flashes of buried memories hold the key to solving the series of crimes (Cut 'series of ' to tighten. You already used it above), but Charlotte has to hold herself together long enough to figure out the answer, especially with her life disintegrating around her.(Again tighten. but Charlotte has to hold her disintegrating life together long enough to figure out the answers.) If she can’t decipher the events of her past, real and imagined, she’ll be convicted, or worse, committed. Great stakes!

THE KILLING TYPE is a 71,000 word stand-alone Adult Thriller. I'm not sure, but the word count seems a little low. Adult thriller is not my strong point.

Thank you for your time and consideration, I'm sensing a trend here on closings.

To me this is a strong query that should get you some requests. Tighten it and it'll be even better.   


  1. I like the premise and the writing is very tight and descriptive in places.

    Condense the first three sentences in the first paragraph and consider deleting "All she wants is to be normal." That seems a given based on the earlier sentences.

    At the beginning of the second paragraph I think something larger than her friend losing her sight is going to happen. It reads a little anticlimactic and just might need reworded. Maybe show how dear to her Lizzie is and how devastating Lizzie's oncoming blindness will be.

    I agree with Michelle about cutting "wondering if her mind...on her."

    Damn that last paragraph is good, but I agree with Michelle in her tightening recommendations.

    A weakness of your query is a similar weakness to mine. I always over explain or become redundant. <---( See? It's automatic.) Just give yourself a day or two between rewrites to really listen to how your query sounds and visit some query samples through this contest and other locations online.

    Although I wrote more than I meant to, you should know that you are really close to a great query! r And I believe your book will be a killer! ) hehe. But seriously, good luck! - rob

  2. "Thank you for your time and consideration" is Janet Reid's recommended closing, and who are we to argue with the Query Shark?

  3. I found myself agreeing with everything Michelle said. Also, I thought the coffee line was sort of awkward. Coffee's not the hard to make is it? What if it was something ordinary that takes more concentration. Or something that will tell us a little more about her character. (Such as scrapbooking or filling in the crossword.)
    I agree that it probably needs to be longer, but that's a lot easier than cutting.
    Great job.
    Listen to Michelle, her insight is right on.

  4. I mean the book needs to be longer.
    (not the query.)