Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Query letter #7: Gwendolyn C

As a time-traveler, Kale has no future. Every few days he disappears only to return to a house he doesn't like to call home. It's impossible for him to be normal. It's impossible for him to control it. But when Kale starts traveling back to World War II, fighting in a war he was never meant to be in, it becomes harder for him to have two lives when he doesn't think he belongs to either. 

Then after six years of being away, Harper moves back in next door, the girl who has haunted his past with the life he used to have. [Watch the grammar here - I needed to know that Harper was the girl who haunted his past before you told me her name.] They spent countless summers together growing up—swimming in the river and being a nuisance to the neighbors. Now, long after Kale gave up hope of seeing her again, they have their first summer together in years. Maybe not the way he would've imagined it, but more real than he could hope for.

But when everything seems to be getting better—Kale trying to figure out the secret to his time-traveling and making amends with his father who he never got along with—Harper finds something in Kale's past that might tear them apart forever. Because whether or not Kale likes to admit it, the past is Kale's future, and there's no changing it. [This pitch is a paragraph too long. Did I need to know about the summers? Probably not. Find a shorter way to tell me about Kale and Harper's reunion and why it's important to the story. Kale's father also isn't an element I need to know about here. Stick to the time travel and the romance - I'll find out about the father if I want to read the manuscript, but you have to get me to that point first.]

COLD SUMMER is a YA science fiction novel complete at 96,000 words. [The elephant in the room here is The Time-Traveler's Wife - if you have written a time-travel story involving a romance, you have to acknowledge the other novel either as influence or inspiration, otherwise I'll think you're trying to mimic it.]

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

General feedback: This letter has potential - it just needs a bit more polish and focus. It also needs to have the author in it - you told me nothing about yourself. As you are the storyteller, you are just as important as the story. The 'party pitch' mentioned in the last letter is a technique that you've no doubt heard of before - I certainly didn't invent it - and it's a valid one. Being a storyteller also means being able to convince people to hear or read your story. 

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