Meet my Hatchet of Death (or, some other colorful description RC Lewis and I come up with at any given moment). This is how I edit myself, it is how I edit others. If you think you want to play with me and my hatchet, shoot us an email.
We all know the first line of a query is your “hook.” I call the last line the “sinker.” You want it to punch them in the face, in a nice, friendly kind of way that makes them unable to forget you after having read the 300 other queries in their inbox.
If you’re looking for query advice, but are slightly intimidated by my claws, blade, or just my rolling googly-eyes, check out the query critique boards over at AgentQueryConnect. This is where I got my start, with advice from people smarter than me. Don’t be afraid to ask for help with the most critical first step of your writing journey – the query. My comments appear in green.
Sixteen-year-old Deirdre Walsh knew that going to stay with her grandfather was a bad idea. Even if he lives in Paris. Rules and curfews; that’s what her summer will look like. Then, on the night she arrives the house gets ransacked—all because of some stone her grandfather inherited from his father. I’m definitely interested. There’s a new slant to the live-with-grandparents in that it’s a relocation to Paris, and of course the mystery element is there. You did a good job establishing your genre out of the bat.
Soon after, Deirdre meets Sean, an American boy, who for someone just studying French at the Sorbonne seems eerily familiar with her life. It feels like he’s not necessarily familiar with her life, but about the stone, so this line is a little bit confusing / misleading. He knows about the stone, and he knows that it used to belong to an ancient race of human-hating faeries that has descended upon Paris to take it back. Definitely interesting. Everything here seems to be working. Also, how does Deirdre feel about this fairy angle? Is she completely accepting this, or is she skeptical?
When Deirdre’s grandfather vanishes and a woman passing for a detective leaves her voiceless, why is the detective involved? Deirdre puts aside her reservations about Sean and teams up with him. I didn’t have the impression before that she had reservations, unless it freaked her out that he knew so much about the stone. If that’s the case, say so. His connections prove invaluable, especially when it comes to…well, recovering lost voices. Deirdre may be dealing with centuries-old faeries, but if she’s learned one lesson from eating frog legs and moldy cheese, it is that she can take on anything, including finding the hidden stone and getting her grandfather back. She might even test the bond her grandfather insists she has with the stone and stop the fey from enslaving humanity. If she has a bond with the stone, I think it should probably be mentioned a little sooner. Also you may want to say how she feels about her grandfather disappearing.
Deirdre may not have signed up to save the world, but she may be the only one who can.
Complete at 89,000 words, MIST is a Young Adult urban fantasy that would appeal to fans of Maggie Stiefvater’s LAMENT and Cassandra Clare’s THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS. I was born and raised in France and spent the last twenty years working in Marketing in the US. MIST is my third completed manuscript, and I would be delighted to send you a copy at your request.
This is a great bio, lots here about why you’re the person to write this book. I think you have the plot here, but we need to know more about our MC, how she feels about the situation, the boy, and her grandfather. Other than that, this looks pretty good!