Query Critique 59

Dear [Agent Name],

I usually insert some kind of personalization here about why I chose the agent followed by My debut novel BIG MURDER ON CAMPUS is a 64,000 word YA mystery with series potential.

Sixteen-year-old Deanna Jameson is smart– like starting-college-two-years-early smart. After a miserable, friendless high school experience, all she wants is to put the past behind her and enjoy life as a university student: go to class, make a few friends, and maybe get her first boyfriend. That’s why when a friend is brutally murdered–and her body discovered on the college’s football field–Deanna’s hopes for a “normal” college life are crushed.

Over the next two months, two more friends are killed. The police have few leads, and fewer suspects. What they do have is a single connection among all three victims: Deanna. As the killer closes in on her, Deanna wonders if he’ll wear the face of her enemy, or her friend. There are some great stakes and tension in the query letter. It is really short, though, and I’d like to see some of the conflict fleshed out. In particular, I’d like to see a little more attention given to the details in this paragraph. The foundations for a great query have been laid. Now we just need to ramp up the intensity. Also, because Deanna is so smart I’d like to get the sense that she’s going to have to outsmart this killer.

I was born and raised in Arkansas where I live on a farm with my husband, our three children, a dog, six cows, and 90,000 chickens. I’m addicted to Mountain Dew and running obstacle course races. 

Thank you for your time and consideration.


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