Your Input Wanted!

Howdy All–

I’m preparing for an eventual rejection on my latest novel (not because there’s been any indications of that, but because I want to be prepared for the worst, just in case), and so I’m working on a query letter for it. However, I have very little experience with those little beasties, and so I’d like your help with it. The following is an EXTREMELY rough draft. Any and all comments are most welcome. Thanks in advance!


When you get down to it, it wasn’t Parker’s fault. After all, what self respecting, movie loving, field hockey goddess worshipping fast food worker would believe it if Marlon Brando walked into his McDonald’s and told him he had to defeat a zombie horde? All right, so it wasn’t Marlon Brando–just a guy who happened to look like him. That doesn’t make it any more believable. (Although I’ll grant you that if it really had been Brando making that request, Parker shouldn’t have refused. That’s like Rule Number One of Offer-Making.)

But I digress.

It wasn’t Parker’s fault, and so you have to hand it to him: he did a pretty smash bang job with what he had to work with. Sure, it took him a bit to catch on to what was really happening, and yes–he had a bit of help from that field hockey goddess. And okay, so he got a magic trinket or two from the Marlon Brando wannabe. But if you start pointing out that he almost screwed everything up by falling for the evil prophetess who was leading the horde, stop right there. Evil prophetesses are supposed to be ugly. You turn into a hormonal sixteen year old and then try resisting the wiles of Sex Incarnate. That’s a superhuman feat right there, but he managed to pull it off, somehow.

(Of course, some of that depends on how you define “pull it off.” As long as you mean “less than 100 people died, a theme park was only partially destroyed and a high school simply traumatized instead of wiped off the map,” then yes–Parker pulled it off. If you expected less damage than that, then you really ought to reevaluate your expectations of 16 year old protagonists facing down world-destroying armies of the undead.)

PAWN OF THE DEAD is a 65,000 word young adult, urban fantasy novel. I’m happy to provide a complete manuscript for your review. Thank you for your time.

10 thoughts on “Your Input Wanted!”

  1. Nice voice. I think you need more of a plot hook in there. So far all I’m getting is Marlon Brando wants kid to defeat zombies, which doesn’t make me go, Ooh! I want to read that! plot wise. You know? Maybe you could play up the “teenage film buff has to use his film knowledge to win in a zombie apocalypse” angle.
    Also, I still haven’t gotten your swag in the mail. It’ll happen this week.

  2. Thanks, Janci. I’ll think some more about the hook. I’m hoping that the voice itself is a good hook to start with–I think it’s one of the strongest parts of the book, so that’s why I’m leading with it. But I agree that the plot needs a good hook in there, too.

  3. Personal feeling: Leave out the digressions and keep to the point in the query letter. Also, the second sentence of the first paragraph seems a bit long. I had a tough time remembering how it began when it ended. 🙂
    Like Janci said, the voice is strong. Give me more about who Parker is and why I should like him. Tell me about the stakes involved and why I should care.
    Just some thoughts. I like the idea.

  4. Please send manuscript
    I would love to see the full manuscript. The story line sounds fascinating.
    I would love to see the world he has to save through the eyes of a sixteen year old protagonist determinedly setting out to free the world from a horrible evil with the help of his friends. Are they real people or super-hero folk, or magical beings?
    Your cousin, Melanie

  5. Re: Please send manuscript
    Melanie–If you’d like to read it, I’d be happy to email you a copy. My email is on facebook–drop me a line, and I’ll send it off to you. 🙂
    Oh–and they’re real people. No super-heroes or magical beings. 🙂

  6. Sorry I’m late. I’m just now catching up on the blog and maybe you can still use some input. I think this section could use a re-word.
    “Evil prophetesses are supposed to be ugly. You turn into a hormonal sixteen year old and then try resisting the wiles of Sex Incarnate.”
    My brain did a hiccup between “falling for the evil prophetess” and that they are supposed to be ugly. Since you said Parker almost fell for her, I sort of assumed the not ugly part already. Also, based on the draft I saw, I never pictured her as Sex Incarnate. She seemed more like a damsel in distress who happened to be pretty cute.
    Oh well. As I read on, maybe I’ll see the next draft and this comment will be negated.

  7. Are you back? Great to hear from you. Thanks for the comment–still waiting to hear from the original agent. I’ll be revising this again once I hear no from him . . .

  8. Yep, I’m back. Someday I’ll actually get to posting on my blog.
    My, you really are taking the negative attitude on this. I hope that strategy works in your favor on this one.

  9. At this point, the power of positive thinking has proven itself wrong time and time again. Better to prepare for the worst, mentally. Getting an official rejection on something you’ve spent more than a year of your life working on . . . I can think of things I’d rather do. 🙂
    Glad you’re back–have a good trip?

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