Imagine upon meeting someone for the first time, you divulge your entire life story (actually, just the top 5 most horrifying/embarrassing/frustrating moments) in about ten sentences, then ask them to be your best friend.
Yeah, I tend to suffer from verbal diarrhea so I’ve actually done this a few times, but so far it’s only resulted in another restraining order filed 😉
But that’s basically what a query letter to an agent and/or editor is. Because these
gods people receive hundreds of daily submissions, there’s no way they can read everyone’s manuscript, so you send this thing called a query letter. Something I totally blow at writing. And I haven’t had to in almost three years, when my YA trilogy got picked up by a publisher. But now I’m in the thick of writing a new YA novel, so although it’s terrifying, I’ve written another query letter, and I need your help.
I know it’s not as tight as it should be, but I also don’t know how to fix it. But hey, this isn’t Pottery Barn. Here at the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, we’re not all: You broke it, you buy it!!
I’ll leave out all the intro and credential stuff and just give you the meat and potatoes. The working title is Random Lee Chosen and it’s a satirical multicultural coming of age love story. Here goes nothing:
Seventeen-year-old Danielle Harris had a plan. Top of her class at Ballet Tech, she was on her way to being the first African-American female to earn the title of principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre. Forced to live with Dad in Hick Town, USA in the middle of her senior year? Never once had Danielle jotted this down on the kick butt to-do list for her life. When she last visited Dad five years ago, an old white dude assaulted her. Danielle pointed out the Florida cracker, but Dad didn’t have the balls to do anything about it. And that’s just not something a girl can forgive and forget.
Now her entire world dissolves into a tornado of upheaval, and she’s left with nothing but her As Seen on TV obsession and Mom’s credit card to console her (you know you’ve hit rock bottom when the Home Shopping operator recognizes your voice). That’s when Random Lee (weird name, long story) steps in. Random dresses to please himself in funky hats, fluorescent tennis ball shoes, and alien themed pajama pants. Oh yeah, and he may be hot, but he’s also a hippie trying to save the planet. Dating a white dude who’s also a tree hugger? Definitely not part of the plan.
Danielle manages to survive various disasters, like dancing for a less than subpar ballet studio, enforced Daddy/Daughter dates, her first job as a waitress at the local tiki bar (where there are actual monkeys), and falling for Random, the biggest weirdo she’s ever met (coming from New York, that’s really saying something). Just as she’s coming up with new goals for herself, she gets into a blowout fight with Dad on her eighteenth birthday and takes off in the convertible Mom bought as an ‘I’m sorry I ruined your life’ consolation prize. Not having a license kind of becomes a problem when she gets into an accident with the same racist she encountered when she was twelve, who also happens to be Random’s father. Danielle doesn’t know their relation yet, and her actions that night are full of irreversible consequences. As she’s brought face-to-face with her deepest anxieties, she must learn to accept herself and even find a little compassion (for once in her life) to accept others if she’s to have any future at all.
How’d I do? *puts on big girl panties*
This has been a post for IWSG, the brainchild of Head Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh (and he let me crash his blog on Monday. Let me take you Back to the Future here . . . thanks again, buddy!) We post the first Wednesday of every month, so please join us by posting your own thoughts on your blog 🙂