1. MDane

    MDane New Member

    Dec 18, 2019
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    Query Letter The Curse of the Spider-Riders -- MG Fantasy novel

    Discussion in 'Query & Cover Letter Critique' started by MDane, Dec 18, 2019.

    Hi all, this is my query so far for my new MG novel. I figured it was at a stage to receive criticism to let me know if I'm on the right track. Any help is muchly appreciated.

    Dear Agent:

    (Personalised introduction, book title, genre, word count etc)

    Jakoby, a klutzy eleven-year-old street urchin, craves two things: a meal fresh from an oven and not a bin, and a family who love and care for him. Unfortunately the closest thing the gutters offer is worm and roach stew and a gang of misfits who look at him like he is something nasty under their tattered shoes.

    When a failed trout heist lands Jakoby on a fishmonger’s chopping block—the one place no orphan has returned from—he is certain his life is over. However the appearance of a grouchy squirrel in a top hat and a paw full of magic stays the Monger’s cleaver and whisks Jakoby away to an enchanted forest brimming with creatures from his worst nightmare.

    Jakoby, captured by a swarm of troublesome faeries, is trialled and found guilty of being human and sentenced to a life of slavery to the spider-riders; fierce arachnid-hitching monsters. Not delighted with the idea of having his blood sucked from him like a juice box, he escapes the faeries and takes refuge in the eerie tunnels below their hive. But when Prince Blayke, an arrogant twelve-year-old faerie, and Princesses Myley and Indy track him down, his survival comes into question once again. Hopelessly lost, Jakoby enters an uneasy alliance with the bothersome faeries as they attempt to navigate the tunnels to freedom. Faced with militant monster, kidnapping and royal burglary, the alliance turns to trust, and then love. Somewhere in the perilous maze, Jakoby finds the family he has always dreamed of. But now their safety rests solely on his shoulders, and he must rely on every bit of courage and grit a lifetime on the streets had instilled in him if he is to protect the only family he had ever known.
  2. Zachary Phoenix

    Zachary Phoenix Member

    Oct 14, 2019
    Likes Received:
    Los Angeles
    Hey there,
    So first off, the book title, genre, word count, etc go at the end of the letter, not the beginning. And unless the agent specifically asks for a personalized introduction, or you have a REALLY good connection to them (Hey agent, you're married to my uncle!), you really don't need to bother with it. Most agents just want to hear about the story.

    The second paragraph takes a completely different turn than the first paragraph. It's kind of jarring because here I am expecting an Oliver Twist kind of storyline and then a magical top hat wearing squirrel appears. I would suggest starting the query letter where the conflict or main storyline is. It sounds like the majority of this book takes place in the magical forest and the tunnels. You should probably start the query with the second paragraph, with some small changes to introduce our protagonist.
    Something like, "When a failed trout heist lands klutzy eleven-year-old orphan boy Jakoby on a fishermonger's..."
    This way the magical element comes in sooner and doesn't catch us off guard.
    I'm not sure what a trout heist is, but it sounds funny. In a good way. Hopefully that's what you were going for...

    I'm not sure "trialled" is a word. In court, it would be tried. But in this context, that word might be confusing because of its double meanings. Maybe just change it to "is put on trial."
    That sentence is also kind of a run-on because of the repeated use of "and." This can be fixed simply by replacing one of the ands with a comma. "Jakoby, captured by a swarm of troublesome faeries, is put on trial, found guilty of being human, and sentenced to..."

    "arachnid-hitching" - I'm not sure what "hitching" means here. Riding and hitching are not the same thing. They are called spider-riders, so if you're wanting to avoid using the word "riding" again, a better way to go might be "arachnid-mounted."

    Militant monsters. You forgot the "s" at the end of monster. Also, monsters in my mind are mindless, scary things. It's hard for me to picture what a militant one would be. I'm sure it makes sense in the context of your full story, but in a query letter when we haven't been properly introduced to these monsters it sounds odd to my ear.

    "he had ever known" should be "has." It slipped into the wrong tense there at the end.

    Hope this is helpful! Sounds like a pretty cool MG book. I loves me a good top hat wearing squirrel ;)
    SisterNight likes this.

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