Hi folks! As the winner of our 30,000 hit give-a-way contest, Hélène won a query workshop and has offered to have it done here on the blog so that all of us can work on it together.
I’ll post Helene’s original query in one post, followed by Becca and my own independent comments as well as a tweaked version to correct any flow, content or editing nits. Then you guys can hack away, offering your own suggestions for improvement on any of our versions, and we all learn together! Sound good?
So, without further ado…
Original Query: Big Splash
Dear Dream Agent,
I am seeking representation for my upper middle-grade novel, BIG SPLASH, written for 12-15 year-olds.
Jade would rather crawl under a rock than squeeze into one more bathing suit in the ‘three-way-mirrored cone of truth’ at the local Jay-Mart.
Besides, losing your mom in a drowning accident doesn’t inspire much confidence in the swimming department. Plus, who said big girls looked good in green metallic sequins, anyway? And worst of all, when Jade’s first period shows up (late bloomer = freak of nature), the reasons for skipping her BFF’s pool party pile up faster than the discarded tankinis on the dressing room floor. It’s times like these when a girl could really use her momma.
But, her dad’s theory is right (he Googled it, after all). A relaxing soak in Epsom salts really does make her feel better. That is, until the salty soak reveals that puberty isn’t the only change brewing in Jade. Those raging hormones coupled with the bath salts seem to trip off another metamorphosis—complete with flippers and scales. Talk about freak of nature! How’s Jade going to explain THIS at the pool party?
Finally, the truth about Jade’s mom comes to light. A mermaid? You’d think dear old dad could have mentioned that little factoid! Especially since the mermaid gene doesn’t seem to be recessive.
Which begs the question; how does a mermaid drown, exactly?
My debut middle-grade novel, ACADIAN STAR, was published this fall by Nimbus Publishing. My writing won an Honorable Mention in the 2008 Surrey International Writers’ Conference literary competition and I was also recently awarded a juried literary grant from the Ontario Arts Council. A list of my writing credits is attached.
BIG SPLASH is complete at 40,000 words and is available at your request.
Thank you for taking the time to consider this project.
Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling.