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.
Seventeen-year-old horror fanboy Cain Shannon thought helping a ghost track down her killers would be the supernatural adventure of a lifetime. Now, he just hopes to stay alive long enough to protect his family and friends from her. Oh goodness, I’m definitely liking the sound of this.
After agreeing to help Sarah, the ghost of a
recently missing I’d cut these words as not terribly relevant, they’re adding to a convoluted sentence teen age girl gender implied by her name, find those responsible for her death, Cain’s life takes a strange turn – he begins having blackouts and acting out of character. Only comfortable being the center of attention on a soccer field, Cain has a very public breakup with his diva girlfriend—something he actually wanted to do, but not with an audience. Then he finds himself stalking football players – natural born enemies of soccer players. Finally, he realizes Sarah has been hijacking his body for her own twisted scheme. Terrified of what could have happened while he wasn’t in control, he immediately commands her to leave his house.
But Sarah has no intention of going anywhere and adds Cain to her hit list. The use of Cain’s body increased Sarah’s power, and she retaliates against her alleged killers in bloody, horrific ways, each
death making her stronger. With the help of his friends, Cain seeks protection for himself and those he cares about, while searching for a way to rid himself of Sarah and stop her before she kills again.
MALEVOLENT RETRIBUTION is a YA horror novel, complete at 62,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Okay, this actually looks really good. The one thing I’ll mention is that you might want to include details that will make this stand out. Right now it’s a bit trope-y, ghost seeks retribution, deal with the devil doesn’t go quite as planned, possession, etc. What about your book is different from any other stories that utilize these same elements? Get that in the query – you know how to write one, now write one that specifically lays out what makes your story different.