Monday, December 28, 2009

Face-Lift 713

Guess the Plot

Queen of Freaks

1. Daisy leads the circus clowns with a regal spirit, an iron fist, and six fire-juggling dwarfs who always do her bidding. So when Gladys says she won't wear the yard-long shoes or the red nose anymore, war breaks out.

2. Did Eddie lose his mind because of Wanda's bad meth? That unfortunate UFO sighting in New Mexico? His stint in the dancing chorus? His sister Lois isn't sure, but now that he's living in her basement, she wants him to ditch the bouffant wig and get a real job.

3. Someone is murdering teens in nearby towns, and suspicion falls upon Lily's school, where all the students are super-powered freaks. If Lily can't lead her team of future X-Men in solving the murders, the school may close. And Lily will never get a date with that really hot werewolf.

4. When a drunken surgeon replaced her hands with lobster claws, Natalie's popularity crashed. Exiled from polite society, she takes off sailing solo round the world -- only to be shipwrecked on a desert island inhabited by walrusmen, midget vampires, and zombie pirates. But it's not so bad once they make her their queen.

5. Prom sucks when you're a nerd or geek. David and Jared have an idea: have an Alternate Prom for the freaks & outcasts of Highland High. Only problem: how will they get the nerve to ask girls to participate?

6. Frank Stark, ultra-conservative father, has finally had it with his son, Michael. Will Frank cut his only child off, emotionally and financially, or will he learn to accept Michael wearing ball-gowns during his leisure hours?

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

I'm seeking representation for my upper YA urban fantasy, Queen of Freaks, complete at 85,000 words. It will appeal to fans of Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series and PC and Kristen Cast's House of Night series.

People think Lily Gardner is a freak because of her dyed hair and combat boots, but what really makes her freaky are the superpowers she's hiding. When she loses control of them during a breakdown at the mall, [disintegrating Abercrombie and Fitch for not having that cute pink top in her size,] the headmaster of the Great Lakes School for Exceptional Young People comes calling. GLS is secretly a haven for the supernatural. What Lily finds there is very little acceptance and a whole lot of rivalry. Her life was never normal, but now it's complicated by super-powered cat fights, [If you think cat fights at your high school were bad, you should see Tigress and The Lynx go at it.] a best friend who has complete access to her mind, and a crush on the hottest werewolf in school. In a place where everybody else strives to stand out, Lily just wants to fit in.

Just when things start going well, [You haven't made this sound like a place where things are going to start going well. Can you mention something Lily likes about being there?] Lily and her friends find the body of a dead classmate. The death links the school to a string of murdered teens in nearby towns. [Did the victims all have their throats ripped out when the moon was full? Just asking.] As everyone wonders who did it and who will be next, rumors fly about GLS closing before the investigation reveals the school's secrets. Unwilling to give up her new home, Lily bands together with her classmates to catch the killer. What use are superpowers if they can't catch one bad guy?

Queen of Freaks is the first in a series. Per your submission guidelines I have included the first 5 pages and synopsis. Thank you for your consideration.



Sounds good. We know there are werewolves and a mind reader; why don't we get to know Lily's super power(s)?

Is Lily the queen of the freaks? She's an outsider, just wants to fit in, bands together with the others (rather than leading them?). Why would she be considered the queen?


Anonymous said...

Hair dye and combat boots are optional fashion choices so if they get a bad reception people who want to 'fit in' can solve this fashion failure with new shoes and a more pleasing dye job.

_*rachel*_ said...

Knowing what she can do would be nice.

I'm not so sure about comparing books at the beginning. You could try, "It will appeal to fans of superhero academies, as well as lovers of general mayhem." If you're really daring, you could try "bedlam" or "chaos" in place of "mayhem."

The more you emphasize the mayhem, the more likely I am to read it. As it is, if I saw this in a bookstore, I'd read a bit of the first chapter to see if I liked it. If I did, I'd buy it without reading it all the way through first--a rarity for me.

I really like some lines in this, like "what use are superpowers...." And I'm interested in those super-powered cat fights.

Judging by my own reaction, this is a pretty good query and you mostly need an agent who likes this type of book as much as I do.

Anonymous said...

This sounds exactly like X-Men.

150 said...

This seems like a pretty well-constructed query. I'd like to hear about Lily's powers. If you have anything that makes this different from the X-Men, it's probably worth mentioning. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

What I said about previous 'magic' school queries.

Dave Fragments said...

I have a true story from 10 years ago about a boy in black army boots, multiple piercings, dyed black hair and the "goth" look driving his teachers and counselors crazy and when we went to a robotics competition, he met a gal wearing much the same stuff.

They had twinkly eyes for each other. It was love at fist black clothing, army boots, pierced ears and dyed black hair, etc...

That was ten years ago. You need fresher words to describe parts of your story. What's special and unique about it?

Chelsea Pitcher said...

I liked this a lot. My only issue was with, "What use are superpowers if they can't catch one bad guy?" If the killer is a guy, referring to him as a guy effectively eliminates all the girls as suspects. However, if the killer is a girl, the line works effectively as misdirection.

_*rachel*_ said...

I think "bad guy/s" is pretty androgynous. But English really should have gender-neutral human pronouns, instead of automatically using the masculine.

Wonderwood said...

This is the best query I've seen posted in a long time. It's not my usual kind of read, but the query was well-constructed, gave a hint of the voice, presented an interesting story. I have no doubt that you'll query the right agents and they'll be reading the pages you included. Good luck!

Kelsey (Dominique) Ridge said...

Sounds pretty good. I'd read for more.

I feel like there's a missing transitional sentence in " GLS is secretly a haven for the supernatural. What Lily finds there is very little acceptance and a whole lot of rivalry." Something with along the lines of, "Except GLS isn't the haven she'd hoped for" would probably improve the flow.

Knowing what her power is would be helpful.

Bee Magic Chronicles for Kids said...

I liked the query. I didn't think that dyed hair and combat boots were strange enough to label her a freak though. Maybe mention some of her other exceptional or unusual qualities that make people want to call her that.

Chris Eldin said...

I'm guessing her superpowers have something to do with nature? (her name...Lily quite clever if that's the case).

I can't tell you how much I am tired of YA paranormal. Nevermind. I will. I develop hives and eye twitches when I see this stuff yet again. But, I really like your query. Its humor sets it apart, and if in the right mood, I might even pick it off the shelf. Good luck with querying. I think this will get snapped up.

Anonymous said...

I like the query. I would consider reading this book based on that summary.