Query #10 March 2015

Below is the tenth public query critique I’m offering up on the blog. To enter, see the rules here. If you want a guaranteed critique (plus line edit) of your query or synopsis, private ones cost $35 each.

My comments are in blue below. To read the original query first, simply read only the black text.

Dear Agent:

Aristocrat Tanner Mills, in theory, knew not to trust anyone his parents haven’t you switch to present tense here, then switch back. extensively vetted. In theory, he should have been in school instead of the bar close to the docks How old is Tanner? Is he a schoolboy, a Yale man?You never give his age or the age category of this novel—please do…and then quickly finds himself I’m not a fanof “finds himself,” because it’s a passive cliche. If you want to use passive tense to show that he’s a victim, then you can cut the wordiness and say “is tied,” etc. tied, gagged, and bound if you want to use the bound and gagged trope, that’s fine. I love tropes! But “bound” and “tied” are redundant here. on an airship where the city of London is nothing more than a distance dot wrapped in cloud cover. I’ll be honest, the first time I skimmed this, I completely missed the “air” part and the “cloud cover” part. Since this is steampunk, and setting is muy importante in steampunk, I’d like that up front. Start with what makes your book unique, not with a trope.

I’d recommend starting with a personalization, then leading into your genre paragraph, then starting immediately with the hook (the shanghaiing of the aristocrat, not the disobedience of the aristocrat). It might look like this: Continue reading