Guess the Plot
1. One man's struggle with Narcolepsy, and the challenge of staying awake long enough to finish a book about it.
2. Tired of being called a heartless bastard, a teenager leaves the Earth and crosses the galaxy accompanied by her spineless navigator Nigel, A.K.A. . . . N.
3. The letter pinned to the starlet's bikini said only "N." For Zack Martinez, homicide detective, this meant only one thing: those first thirteen murders were related.
4. With a brutal serial killer holding him hostage and his life depending on a game, it's not the best time for Mason to discover he lost some of the Scrabble tiles.
5. In the shadowy backstreets of a nameless city lurks N, a man of mystery. Who is he? Does anyone, even N himself, know for sure?
6. In an alternate world of gneissic knolls, gnu-sized gnats and gnocchi-kneading gnomes, the unlikely hero is a knuckle-headed knight in pneumatic knickerbockers.
7. Zorro II sets off on an epic journey to find an optometrist who's not afraid of a man with a sword. Turns out she's hot, too.
8. Q has gone missing and N is running the show with agents Orange and 013. Can they foil a plot to assassinate the PM?
Dear Evil Editor,
Thank you in advance for taking the time to consider representing N, a young adult science fiction novel. N is complete at 45,000 words and is my first novel.
Like many girls her age, Dance West [has a ridiculous name.] [Last week we had a character named Satiety. Is it common practice these days to name your kid by randomly choosing a word from the dictionary?] [At least they didn't choose East.] falls under several labels. [Not sure "falling under" labels is a known expression.] Unlike most girls her age, those labels are more along the lines of “criminal”, “deserter”, “con artist”, “heartless bastard”, “thief”, or “pirate.” [You left out "cannibal." Try to keep your lists to three items.] Sick of the problems and injuries these labels cause, Dance sets out to find the one bargaining chip in the galaxy large enough to clear her name – a massive lost ship dubbed the Archon. [I don't see how a ship is a bargaining chip, what kind of bargain she would make with it, or how it would clear her name. Unless . . . "I've acquired a massive ship; I'll give it to you if you stop calling me a heartless bastard."] [Wouldn't it be easier and faster to acquire a ship that isn't lost somewhere in the galaxy?]
She begins her journey alongside her absolute wuss of a ship's computer, Nigel. [Also known as N, because it's a cooler title than Nigel.] Nigel's lack of a figurative spine antagonizes Dance's aggressive inclinations [Nothing's worse than having your inclinations antagonized by something that doesn't exist.] and the closer they get to the Archon, the more their constant struggles against each other threaten to compromise the mission. [Their struggles are irrelevant. Either the the Archon is empty and there for the taking, or someone else has the Archon, in which case they certainly aren't turning it over to a heartless bastard from a primitive planet that's the laughingstock of the galaxy.] Unexpected threats loom as they draw closer to their goal and ultimately a trauma forces them to band together and reverse roles to defend their prize, with Dance's future on the line. [This is complete vagueness. What threats? What trauma? What happens?]
N has been nothing short of a hit with the young adults who have read it. [Uh oh.] Readers have enjoyed the realistic characters, [You've mentioned only one character. Unless Nigel counts as a realistic character.] engaging style, and fluid storytelling. They said the novel weaves together humor, tragedy, and richly imagined fictional history. [They declared it to be the greatest book ever written; I reminded them of Shakespeare, Stephenie Meyer and Dr. Suess, but they stood by their claim. And who am I to press the argument?] Many noted that N redefined their perceptions of science fiction [If someone traveling through space with an uncooperative computer redefined their perceptions of science fiction, it's only because they never saw 2001. Or about a third of all Star Trek episodes.] [Also, young adults don't say things like "It redefined my perceptions." They say, It was sick. Or crunk or tope or buck or whatever this week's word for awesome is.] and generated interest in a genre they had never considered interesting before.
Again, thank you for considering N as a novel worth representing. I look forward to hearing from you.
Top fifteen things I see in query letters, ranked in order of how much I care about them:
1. Your plot.
2. Your main character's motivations and growth.
3. Your genre.
4. Impressive credits.
5. Word count.
6. Why you are
7. Unimpressive credits.
8. Your biography.
9. Names of successful authors you write better than.
10. Titles of books that meet each other, resulting in your book.
11. Whether your book would make a good movie.
12. Titles of movies that meet each other, resulting in your book.
13. Who should play your main character in the movie.
14. Number of people who follow you on Twitter.
15. What people you let read your book said to you about it.
You need to tell us specifically what happens and why Dance does what she does. Who is she? Why has she been labeled a thief, con artist, heartless bastard? Why will finding the Archon change anything? Has anyone else looked for it, and if so, why should Dance have better luck? Won't everyone she knows be dead when she returns?