Thursday, January 31, 2019

Feedback Request

The author of the book featured in Face-Lift 1212 would like feedback on the following version of the query:

When a giant rat terrorizes his underground city, twelve-year-old Cody’s got some exterminating to do. 

Cody is fed up with his too-busy-to-care divorced parents and runs away. Then he discovers a secret underground city with crystal caves, slugs-and-bugs soup, and new friends with awesome abilities like reading minds and blending in with nature like a chameleon.

Best. Home. EVER.

But Cody’s adventures take a dark turn when the Detectors, the people who protect the underground city, start disappearing. Without their warnings, the city could get blind-sided by earthquakes, floods, or invasions by deadly beasts.

Cody isn’t about to let his new home come crashing down around him, but every time he tries to help find the Detectors, a mutant man-sized rat attacks him. Ratman roasts Cody with a hot crystal, pushes him down the Devil’s Mouth hole, and tries to drown him in the river. But since Ratman has a talent for mind control, and an annoying habit of turning invisible, no one else believes the freaky fur-face even exists. [Starting that sentence with "But" led me to think you were going to explain why Ratman's attacks failed to get the job done. Perhaps you should explain that there, and start the next paragraph: Because Ratman turns invisible when anyone besides Cody is around. . . .]

Cody knows it’s up to him hunt down Ratman in order to save the Detectors and the city from whatever this whiskered weirdo is plotting-or at least before Ratman’s next attack actually kills him. Looks like Cody’s got some exterminating to do. (Will eliminate this sentence if I keep the hook.)

RATMAN'S REVENGE, my middle grade adventure story complete at 54,000 words, may [should] appeal to readers of Brandon Mull's Fablehaven.  May I send you the manuscript?

Thank you for your time.


You've taken much of the advice the minions provided way back when, and it's an improvement.

As paragraph 2 precedes paragraph 1 chronologically, if you keep P1, Change P2 to past tense.

It probably reads better without the hook, but that puts Ratman too far down in the query. You could work him into what would be the first sentence: Fed up with his too-busy-to-care divorced parents, Cody runs away to a secret underground city with crystal caves, slugs-and-bugs soup, chameleon people . . . and a mutant man-sized rat that keeps attacking him.

This would require changing the rest of the query somewhat, but that might be a good thing if it gives you room to tell us how Cody plans to defeat Ratman and what goes wrong, and what  happens if he fails.

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