Monday, September 28, 2015

Query Critique Winner

This month's query critique winner was Chris Owens!  Below is his original query letter:

Dear Ms. Pestritto,

If being shy around girls were a serious disease, sixteen-year-old Jason Martyr would be on the critical list. When Lorelei Quinn shows interest in him, it seems too good to be true – and it is. Their first date ends with Jason drugged and abducted.

Lorelei is the recruiter for a secret government time travel program: Project Rewind. Their scientists believe Jason has a rare genetic ability for time travel. To gain his cooperation, they promise him information about his parents, who are locked up in Gitmo on unspecified charges.

Jason has to stop the Masters of Infinity, a secret society of chrono-terrorists, from travelling back to 1937 and replacing FDR with a fascist dictator. If the Masters succeed, the U.S. might never take part in World War II, setting off a catastrophic domino effect across history.

Jason wonders whether he’s working with the good guys after all when he discovers that his parents are in prison for conducting genetic experiments for the Masters. In 1937, he faces a gang of time traveling mercenaries assigned to stop him. With the future of the world and his own life at stake, Jason must sift through secrets and lies to choose which side of the battle he’ll join.

THE DESTINY MATRIX, a YA Sci Fi novel with a diverse case of characters, is complete at 83,000 words. It will appeal to fans of the Tempest series by Julie Cross, and Roland Smith’s Cryptid Hunters series. It is a stand-alone novel with series potential.

I have a bachelor’s degree in journalism and MBA with emphasis in marketing, both from the University of Missouri.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Chris L. Owens

And here is my critique:

Dear Ms. Pestritto,

If being shy around girls were a serious disease, sixteen-year-old Jason Martyr would be on the critical list. When Lorelei Quinn shows interest in him, it seems too good to be true – and it is. [Because you talk about Jason being shy around girls, I was waiting for something describing that here.  Talk a little about their first date and how his shyness leads to being drugged/abducted or what his shyness has to do with it.] Their first date ends with Jason drugged and abducted.

Turns out, Lorelei's interest wasn't as innocent as it seemed. She Lorelei is the recruiter for a secret government time travel program: Project Rewind. Their scientists believe Jason has a rare genetic ability for time travel. To gain his cooperation, they promise him information about his parents, who are locked up in Gitmo on unspecified charges. [When did this happen?  This comes out of the blue...I'm also wondering what Gitmo is.  Give us a little lead in and explanation here.  Have Jason's parents never been around or are they imprisoned suddenly after he is kidnapped?]

Jason has to stop the Masters of Infinity, a secret society of chrono-terrorists, from travelling back to 1937 and replacing FDR with a fascist dictator. If the Masters succeed, the U.S. might never take part in World War II, setting off a catastrophic domino effect across history. [Is he working with Lorelei on this?  Or does she only drug in and bring him into the agency, and then he never sees her again? Because Lorelei is mentioned by name in the query letter, it makes me think she is part of the story in a more integral way.]

Jason wonders whether he’s working with the good guys after all when he discovers that his parents are in prison for conducting genetic experiments for the Masters. In 1937, he faces a gang of time traveling mercenaries assigned to stop him. With the future of the world and his own life at stake, Jason must sift through secrets and lies to choose which side of the battle he’ll join. [I love this last sentence, but again, does Jason's shyness come into play with things he has to overcome to save the world?  If not (and if Lorelei isn't a major player either), I suggest cutting the critical disease bit and just say that Jason thinks it's too good to be true when a beautiful, random girl asks him on a date.]

THE DESTINY MATRIX, a YA Sci Fi novel with a diverse case of characters, is complete at 83,000 words. It will appeal to fans of the Tempest series by Julie Cross, and Roland Smith’s Cryptid Hunters series. It is a stand-alone novel with series potential.

I have a bachelor’s degree in journalism and MBA with emphasis in marketing, both from the University of Missouri.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Chris L. Owens

This is a great query letter!  It draws me into the story and gets me interested to read more, and Chris did an excellent job of using comp titles and saying that the title is standalone but has series potential!  The only thing I really ran up again was assuming that certain things were going to be bigger in the story than they were, only to not hear of them again, namely Jason's shyness and Lorelei.  Other than that, I think this is great!  What do you guys think?  Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section below!