Query Critique 50

DEPRAVED is a 55k word commercial fiction piece. Can we pin the genre down a little more specifically. Also, any comparative titles? What age range is this? Young adult? New adult?

We all have our sick secrets, and the characters of Depraved are no different. This opening is a little vague for my tastes. I think the query would be stronger if it addressed a specific character or characters and a specific sick secret. What happens when a humble boy crosses paths with a self-loathing narcissist? Sex, drugs, murder—and that’s only the first night. When Edward ends up in bed with the schools most notorious girl, Jessica Harwell, he falls fast and hard into her drug induced world. I think this would make a better opening sentence than what you have. It’s specific and cuts straight to the conflict. This wild beauty shows him the uninhabited pleasures life has to offer, but hides a sinister agenda all of her own. This doesn’t bode well for young Edward. Again, “sinister agenda” and “doesn’t bode well.” Are sort of vague. Giving specifics would make the query more interesting. Unbeknownst to him, Edward has somehow offended the great and vicious, Sebastian Hartley, who’s made it his mission to destroy the boy from the inside out. This hedonistic bisexual has a way of enthralling all those around him, and in doing so has made a decision to drag Edward into the depths of Hell. Can Edward break free from the desire and vice Jessica provides in time to figure out the dreadful plot Sebastian has in store? Or will he fall into an abyss of sex, drugs, and death? I see that these two sentences are trying to set up stakes, which is good. They come off as a little melodramatic, though. In the process of watching their own lives fall to pieces around them, nobody seems aware of a star-crazed psychopath roaming the streets of their quiet little town. He has a game changing plan that may land everyone in an early grave. The psychopath sort of came out of nowhere. I’d like to see him brought up somewhere sooner. Also, I’d like some indication of why the psychopath has fixated on these three.

This query letter is really pretty short. As I mentioned several times, it’s important not to be too vague about the conflict or stakes. Especially when you have room to flesh out some of the plot points.

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2 thoughts on “Query Critique 50

  1. I agree with Kyra. She’s very awesome at this. Over all it’s very vague. When you use words like ‘secret, mysterious, unknown,’ that’s usually a sure bet you’re not being detailed enough. The only other thing I’d suggest is not to use redundant questions. There shouldn’t be any question marks in your query. Almost every agent I’ve talked to hates that. Keep it detailed, sharp, and have a period at the end of every sentence.

    Good luck!

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