1. Kyle Kennedy

    Kyle Kennedy New Member

    Mar 10, 2019
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    Query Letter Ralphie 2.0 (epic urban-fantasy)

    Discussion in 'Query & Cover Letter Critique' started by Kyle Kennedy, Mar 11, 2019.

    I am excited to offer the opportunity to represent my novel Ralphie 2.0, set in modern day Los Angeles. The work is a 120k word epic urban-fantasy aimed at a Young Adult audience.

    Something strange is being carried into Los Angles on the Santa Ana winds. Everyone seems to feel it, whether they admit it or not. But when reports of the first deaths begin, the dread in the back of their minds becomes impossible to ignore. The world as they know it is over, and a new, more brutal world is forcing its way into ours. Ralphie Clayton may be a gamer nerd with nothing but two friends and sister who never shuts up, but when he is inexplicably transformed into his own video game character, suddenly it seems that the fate of not just our world, but perhaps another as well, has fallen onto his unlikely shoulders.
  2. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

    Sep 6, 2014
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    120K is long for YA, but I'm assuming you've trimmed it as much as you can.

    And then - I feel like your summary paragraph is really slow and atmospheric and vague for the first few sentences, and then gets concrete whiplash-fast. The first part feels a bit wandering, the last part feels rushed. Can you average the two out?
  3. XRD_author

    XRD_author Banned

    Feb 19, 2019
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    The following is my opinion, and as I've never queried and only know what I've read on the Internet, is probably worth what you paid for it. :)

    This is content-free to an agent. Worse, it may come off as a little conceited. Never tell or even imply to an agent how awesome you or your work is. They'll read it and decide for themselves.

    Also, the first paragraph is wordy. Query letters are the agent's first opportunity to judge your writing. They have a ton of queries to read: don't waste their time by using 33 words when only 18 are needed. E.g.:

    Ralphie 2.0 is an epic YA urban fantasy set in modern day Los Angeles, complete at 120K words.

    And me, I'd put that at the end of the query, because it doesn't sell the book. It just gives the agent reasons (e.g. "not my genre," "what, another one?" "too long for YA") to move to the next query without reading further

    Moving to para. 2, the first half is too impersonal, and kind of generic. The last line is a good place to start, but needs some work.

    Ralphie Clayton is just a gamer nerd with only two friends and a sister who never shuts up. But when he is inexplicably transformed into his own video game character, the fate of his world -- but perhaps another -- falls on his shoulders.

    But it's just a start. We don't know what obstacles he faces are. We don't know how his friends and sister figure in -- and they should, to rate mention in the query.

    That said: there's a site called Query Shark. What I know about queries, I learned there, but I've never written a query myself. So I suggest going to the source, Query Shark, and perusing it's helpful archives of submitted queries and the critiques of them, all done by literary agent Janet Reid. The advice she gives has to be better than mine.
    John-Wayne likes this.
  4. lucrezia

    lucrezia New Member

    Mar 20, 2019
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    Ralphie Clayton may be a gamer nerd with nothing but two friends and sister who never shuts up

    and a sister.

    Plus I would say that this query doesn't let me with the right questions in my mind. I would put some more sentences to explain how what is carried in the wind is related to him transforming into a video game character.
  5. bevett

    bevett New Member

    Apr 9, 2019
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    Arlington Massachusetts
    I second XRD_author in suggesting you go to QueryShark. The info is fantastic. It's run by an actual agent and shows into great detail about what makes a good query. It's a lot to read, but really worth it.

    A really good fundamental form, though, is this (thanks to QueryShark):

    Who is the protagonist?
    What does she want?
    What is keeping her from getting what she wants?
    What must she sacrifice to get what she wants?

    It's all about the essential conflict of your book, and what's at stake for your main character.

    Your idea sounds kind of cool, but it's hard to understand what's happening in your book. When you say he becomes his video game character, do you mean in the real world, or in the game? When you say that a more brutal world is forcing its way into this one, what does that mean? Is it the video game world? And what is Ralphie chosen to do, and why is he the one who's chosen?

    Lay out exactly what's happening in your book - not the ending, but what's at stake. In like 300 words. Also, leave out the "I'm excited" and all that. They know that. And they know you want representation - that's why you're querying. So leave all that out. Just tell your story, say it's title and length (oh, and 120K is way too long for a YA novel - you need to do some serious cutting), and then say:

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

    Good luck!

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