Becca's Query Crit Notes: Big Splash

(continued...)

Overall 2 cents: Sounds like a great premise, just needs a bit of tightening.

Dear Dream Agent,

I am seeking representation for my upper middle-grade novel, BIG SPLASH, written for 12-15 year-olds. BECCA: This sounds redundant, what with the upper-middle-grade distinction that was already mentioned. I wonder if you could instead just cut it and launch into your summary

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.

Ugh.

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, BECCA: I'd cut this because the worst part is yet to come [being a mermaid] rather than getting her period. 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? BECCA: Great line!

Finally, the truth about Jade’s mom comes to light. BECCA: This tripped me up, since there's been no mention about a mystery surrounding her mom (other than her death). You could cut this para and the line that follows to tighten things up. But I do like the bit about mom; it adds a mysterious aspect to the story. If you want to keep it, it needs to be hinted at earlier, so this flows better. A mermaid? You’d think dear old dad BECCA: Capital D on Dad, since it's being used as a common noun. 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? BECCA: Another great line. But the semi-colon should be a colon, since the phrase before it isn't independent.

My debut middle-grade novel, ACADIAN STAR, was published this fall by Nimbus Publishing. BECCA: This is an abrupt move into the writing credit section; I got confused, thinking you were still talking about your current project. To fix, I'd move the BIG SPLASH is complete at 40,000 words and is available at your request line to the start of the para, then rephrase the rest to show your starting the writing credits section of the query. 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.

Hopeful Author


Some mild tweakage:

Dear Dream Agent,

I am seeking representation for my upper middle-grade novel, BIG SPLASH.

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. Who said big girls looked good in green metallic sequins? Besides, losing your mom in a drowning accident doesn’t exactly make you want to perfect your swan dive. 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 later, during a supposedly-relaxing soak in an Epsom salts bath, Jade discovers the biggest change. Those raging hormones coupled with the bath salts seem to trip off another metamorphosis—complete with flippers and scales. Talk about a freak of nature! How’s she 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?

BIG SPLASH is complete at 40,000 words and is available at your request. My debut middle-grade novel, ACADIAN STAR, was published this fall by Nimbus Publishing. I also recently won an Honorable Mention in the 2008 Surrey International Writers' Conference literary competition and have been awarded with a juried literary grant from the Ontario Arts Council.

Thank you for taking the time to consider this project.

Hopeful Author

3 comments:

Angela said...

I like the 'swan dive' bit. Good catch on the semi colon and capital 'Dad'. Missed those *blushes*

Hélène Boudreau said...

Hi Becca!

I like your cuts and streamlining. Good catch on 'Dad' and my punctuation. I also like the idea of pushing up the MS word count etc. so there's not such an abrupt transition to my credits.

Your rewrite is great! I think I'll keep the bit about Dad and googling because it's indicative of his personality. He's geeky but adores Jade and is trying his best in the absence of Mom.

I'm glad I hit a couple of good notes with a few of the areas you mentioned.

Off to do some tinkering...

:-)

Becca said...

Looking forward to the rewrite :).

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