The Saturday Slash

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.

Bree Russelgrove can’t control herself. Literally. Not bad — it’s vague but I’m curious about what the specifics of this are.

Seventeen-year-old Bree lives cozily in the shadow of her congressman father and gregarious mother. She is smarter than her grades let on, inquisitive and above all, predictable. So when she jolts up might want to change the phrasing here, it’s awkward in the middle of history class and walks out, her friends notice. She notices. But she can’t stop.

Terrified, a little curious, and physically incapable of doing otherwise, Bree drives to a building where she meets other teenagers in her same predicament. And she comes face to face with Henry, the scientist who has programmed her and now controls her like a puppet.

Henry claims he’s creating a superior type of hero, destined to make the world safer. Bree can instantly pick locks, build weapons, and take down trained guards. Because he programmed her this way? She hates being Henry’s soldier, which includes lying to her family and friends about it, but her hijacked brain tortures her body if she disobeys. How so?

When Bree has to steal files from her father, she fears Henry’s plans for her have a touch of the personal. Now she must fight against herself and figure out how to cut the puppet strings. She needs her life back before she is compelled to take someone else’s. Someone she loves.

CLICKED, completed at 87,000 words, is young adult thriller.

Dang. I think this is a pretty solid query. Get the explanation the torture for disobeying in there, change some of the awkward phrasing, but otherwise I think you’re good to go!