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.
Nineteen-year-old Freja assumed being claustrophobic while living in a
compact, fully enclosed, underwater home was the worst that could happen to her. I feel like the crossed out words are implied by the fact that it’s underwater. Technically, compact could still say, but I think it’s also implied by her mention of claustrophobia. That is, until someone sabotages the food supply, murders her fellow citizens, and sends her anonymous messages suggesting more is to come. But the warnings don’t have much impact on Freja Really? That seems kind of… sociopathic. until her best friend, Markus, befalls an ‘accident’ that puts him in a coma. To save Markus and protect the cloister from further sabotage, Freja must trust herself, break the strictest laws of the cloister, and risk being sentenced to death.
So many questions. Why do they live underwater? Who is being murdered? What do these messages say? What’s the purpose of the sabotage? what are these laws? Why would she be sentenced to death?
SUBMERGED – a young adult science fiction novel complete at 84,000 words – follows nineteen-year-old Freja as she struggles with claustrophobia and anxiety while attempting to uncover who is attacking her home and threatening the lives of her family, friends, and the last dregs of humanity. It will appeal to fans who enjoy futuristic worlds with new technology and strong, bold female characters like in the TV show Ascension and Emily Skrutskie’s The Abyss Surrounds Us.
Right now your second para here just sums up the first, and neither one of them has the details that we need to make this stand out from any other enclosed SF story. In summary – there’s an enclosed space, and there’s danger. That’s about all I’m getting from this. The same summary could apply to Alien, The Abyss, or Event Horizon. Why is this different? All of you plot points hinted at above are generic – what makes this story different? Work on getting those details in by answering the questions I posed above.