Monday, April 18, 2011

Help! I Need Some Query Help!

     So I've got issues. Which is, you know, obvious. Probably. My writing issues might not be quite so obvious though. First of all, I can't stop re-writing my first chapter (although I haven't in a whole month- gasp!). The other thing I can't stop re-writing: yep, my query.
     My first query sucked bricks. I know that now. Unfortunately, that's the one I've probably sent out the most. Lately though I'll get two or three rejections and think, I've got to rewrite my query. Or more like, "AAAAHHHHHHH! My query sucks! I've got to change it! Right now! AAAHHHHHHHH!"
     So I have three different versions, one of which I've never sent, one I've sent once (but haven't heard back yet) and one I've probably sent at most, five times. So it's not like these are exactly tested. I read somewhere that at every 20 rejections is when you should rewrite your query. (I'm obviously waaaay to obsessive-compulsive for that.)
     What I'm hoping for is some feedback. Even if it's just telling me which query you like best. Or if they all suck- cuz they very well could. Or what I'm missing. Or what's too much. Or if they make no sense. Or... well, you get the idea. And for your viewing pleasure, I've posted pics of my dream movie cast, cuz I like pictures to look at.
     So, anyone up for the task? Anyone? Bueller?

Jessica Jacobs (Samantha Munro)

Query #1

Sixteen-year-old Jessica Jacobs loves to daydream about being an actress, a socialite, a princess. Never in her daydreams is she forced to scrub poop off the floor by her awful boss (Lady Fiona). And never in her daydreams is she pursued by the creepy stalker guy (Lord Purvis) instead of the charming and swoon-worthy knight (Lord Alric). But how else did she end up in crazy medieval land, unless she’s gone crazy herself?

Crazy or not, the place has some perks. Like taking sword fighting lessons from Lord Alric, who is so hot he even makes decapitating another person look good. Falling in love with him would be a perk too if only he felt the same way about her. Instead Jessica has to deal with Lord Pervy’s cheesy pick-up lines and Lady Fiona’s stinky feet. It sucks being the peon instead of the princess.

With a battle looming, a mysterious traitor within the Court, and Lord Purvis going from creepy to downright freaky, Jessica wonders if her new (but very cool) sword fighting skills will be enough to keep her alive. Staying might cost Jessica her life. But going home to the world she knows means leaving Lord Alric- and that will cost her heart.

Lord Alric (Alex Pettyfer)

Query #2

Sixteen-year-old Jessica Jacobs never imagined that her daydreams would one day become reality. But this reality is something she never would have imagined. Instead of designer jeans, she’s wearing a potato-sack dress. And instead of Zac Efron, she has to deal with bad-breathed medieval knights aiming swords at her throat.

To make matters worse, she isn’t the princess in this daydream, she’s the peon. Between scrubbing poop off Lady Fiona’s floor, and dodging Lord Pervy, ahem Lord Purvis, Jessica barely has time to wonder if she’s somehow trapped herself in a daydream, or if this world is more real than she originally thought.

Then she meets Lord Alric. Suddenly finding a way home isn’t all that important anymore. Charming and totally hot, he’s exactly the kind of guy Jessica usually daydreams about. Just one problem: Lady Fiona is determined to marry him. And Lady Fiona gets whatever she wants.

But Jessica manages to get something she wants for once: sword fighting lessons taught by Lord Alric. Falling in love with him is easy. Dealing with revolts, traitors, battles, diva bosses, and stalker brothers so isn’t. Jessica is left with a choice: stay in crazy medieval land for a man who may not even be real, or go back to her boringly normal, Lord Alric-free life.

Lady Fiona (AnnaSophia Robb)

Query #3

Sixteen-year-old daydreamer Jessica Jacobs wakes up one morning in a forest surrounded by rotten-toothed medieval knights aiming their swords at her throat. They take her to Hampshire, a quaint medieval town complete with looming castle, a genial Count, and the Count’s cow of a daughter Lady Fiona. Jessica can’t help but wonder if she’s gone from daydream addict to trapped-in-her-own-mind mental patient.

Jessica barely has time to worry how she’ll survive without her iPod, French fries, and flushable toilets. Lady Fiona, her new boss, is a total cow, making her scrub poop, move her furniture around, and rub her stinky-feet. And then there’s Lord Purvis- Lady Fiona’s older brother whose creepy stalker ways have led Jessica to dub him Lord Pervy. Jessica just wants to go home before things can get any worse. If only she knew how.

Then she meets Lord Alric who definitely has that whole knight-in-shining-armor thing going on. He’s the perfect gentleman, so unlike the high school boys she’s used to, and he drives Jessica emotionally crazy. It’s hard learning how to sword fight from him when she can hardly focus in his presence.

With a battle looming, a mysterious traitor within the Court, and Lord Purvis going from creepy to downright freaky, Jessica wonders if her new (but very cool) sword fighting skills will be enough to keep her alive. Staying might cost her life. But going home to the world she knows means leaving Lord Alric- and that will cost her heart.

Lord Purvis (Ed Speleers)


  1. First of all, I love the voice that's coming across in all three queries. I like elements of each one. I love the princess/peon thing. I also like the last paragraph of #1 and 3.

    I'd try to cut out as many names as possible. The situation is more interesting to me than the names of people, unless it's really important for us to know about the nickname for Pervy. Maybe try something like "between her new master *insert description* and the noble whose nickname (Lord Pervy) says it all."

    I like the sound of this story. I'd love to read more.

  2. I like the first two paragraphs in query 2 and the last two paragraphs in query 3.

  3. Totally great story! I also love your dream cast! My pointers for the query:

    * Get to the real point quickly. The opening lines could be something like... "When Jessica Jacobs daydreamed of fairytales she never imagined that her daydreams could become reality. Or that she would be the peon and not the princess." That way we know right off the bat that Jessica is in a new world and it isn't what she wanted.
    * Don't introduce too many characters and for those you introduce, tell us how they relate to Jessica. All we need to know is that Lady Fiona is the boss, Lord Pervis is the stalker and Lord Alric is Mr unattainable hotty.
    * Let us know the stakes and what Jessica has to lose if everything goes wrong.

    Hope that helps! Can't wait to hear more about your story!

  4. Here is my initial gut reaction to each one. #1 pulled me in and held me. It flows well, has great voice and gives me character, goal and conflict.

    #2 felt like a list of events to me.

    You lost me at "wakes up" in #3. It's the cliche of waking somewhere. The paragraphs after the first one are good though. Avoid starting with "Then", that's what gives it the listing feel.

    You're query is actually pretty good. Good luck!

  5. Thanks for the comments- so helpful. I've read query shark and she says get rid of the names of extra characters but I have a hard time with that. Guess that's something I need to work on!

  6. I thought all the above people made some good comments. Before reading any of them my initial reaction was best to #2. Maybe take in to consideration all the comments use a bit of all three and come up with letter number 4?