My editors, hard at work.So like I said I would, here are two potential forms of my query letter. At the moment, I'm asking which is the better form, but I'm also open to any and all crit. They're still fluid and malleable, but once they harden a little bit (and once one of them is slated for execution), I'll float them through the sewers of forums and see what kind of germs they attract. I learned real hard not to post anything there until I thought it was pretty darn good. Anyway, back on topic, which style would be more effective?
Style #1: "The classic synopsis."
They are Nephilim: descendants of fallen angels and mortal women.
God sent His great flood, in part, to wipe out every trace of their abominable civilization, yet a remnant survives to this day, hidden beneath ocean and earth, striving to redeem themselves under a suspended form of their punishment.
When fourteen-year old Noah Fiersom finally meets his real family, he is thrilled to find that they are fabulously wealthy. But strange events soon begin to erode that joy. His father is reclusive and mysterious. His five siblings are secretive and petty. And after only one week at Fiersom Manor, Noah’s new home is invaded by soil-borne demons. So begins a cross-country race for answers. Where have they taken the Fiersom’s father? Who is he, really, and why does it seem that he’s lived many lifetimes? What are these strange powers awakening within the Fiersom teens? And the most frightening mystery of all… what’s in the bassinet?
Style #2: "Risky first-person."
I’m fourteen years old, and I just met my real family. My name’s Noah Fiersom, and I’ll make this quick – you’re probably won’t believe it anyway. Turns out my father’s 300 years old, my siblings have mental powers, and we’re descended from Nephilim – fallen angels – like in the Bible.
So here’s what’s going on…. Some time in the past, like lifetimes ago, our father made this horrible mistake, and all kinds of fun people came looking for him: high-tech pagan commandos, soil-borne demons, Nepheel Inquisitors, you name it – if they’re freaky and scary, they’re hunting him.
Long story short: they found him. They blew up our mansion on stilts, broke into his secret lab to steal our old bassinet, then they captured our father. And now – they’re after us. I don’t know why, we never did anything to them, but they want us bad. The only thing we’ve got going for us is a few fake credit cards, some minor martial arts training, and yes, mental powers (which aren’t all that impressive until you need to prank one of your jerk brothers). We’ve also got a backpack full of ants. Sounds weird, I know, but it turns out to be important. You’ll see why if you take a chance and read our story.
Here are some factors that will surely muddle your opinion-forming proccess. I like the classic synopsis, but no matter how hard I try, any attempt to list the major events of this book, as well as any attempt to summarize the central concept, winds up with a strong 'horror-esque' feel. Not neccessarily bad, considering I think what I have is compelling, but should any agent ask for sample material, what he gets will bear very little resemblance to the query letter. "What the hell is this? I ask for horror and he sends me kitsch?... I'm crossing him off my Christmas card list."
The risky first-person version is, well... risky. I fully expect every writer and agent on every board to remind me that it has to be in third person. You can't write a query in first person because nobody writes queries in first person and agents aren't expecting to see queries in first person and you're probably gonna make their eyes bleed, and if you make their eyes bleed, they're not gonna want to risk looking at the rest of your manuscript.
Frankly, this argument doesn't really bother me. What bothers me is that the sentences and paragraphs in this version are like wet paper. I'm having a heck of a time tweaking it because pieces of it keep dissolving beneath my fingertips. In other words, it's one tricky, slippery eel of a thing to write. I'm completely open to suggestions in this regard.
There you have it. Any and all thoughts would be appreciated, even from my non-writing friends. I'm simply asking you to pretend you're a literary agent. and tell me which letter is more likely to make you want to see more of my story. Then, I'm asking you to criticize all the spelling and structure and whatnot, rewrite it so it's proper, then send it to every agent your research shows to be appropriate for young-adult urban fantasy. Let me know if any of them offer representation. Thanks.