Friday, May 2, 2008

#17- revision

Dear Ms. Reid:

In my YA thriller, the day before Rick Hunt’s sixteenth birthday begins like any other, right until a government operative dressed like Saddam Hussein’s stunt double decides to start “training” him.


This sentence reminds me of the surrealist joke: "Knock knock!" "Mustard."

All the words are in English, I recognize and understand the meaning of each one. I just don't understand the meaning of the sentence. I know what it says. I have no clue what it means. I honestly don't even know where to start. Here's just a random list:
what government? why is Rick Hunt targeted? Targeted for what..he's 16, he's a walking erection with acne and an ipod, what the heck good is he?

Warning Hunt about this apprenticeship, however, might ruin the surprise. But when a one hundred and thirty year old German suffering from visions of a Fourth Reich mistakenly abducts the girl Hunt is secretly in love with, he joins forces with the man known only as the Generalissimo (and his merry band of lunatics from ARDVARC) in their never-ending battle against evil, and the search for the world’s finest cheese Danish.

Enter the Nazis? Why not. Again, there's no internal logic here, and I'm not sure Nazis are all that funny without some sort of context. And of course ARDVARC is undefined.


You're being funny, and I'm missing the joke.


And if that wasn’t enough to deal with, he’s got a history test the next day.

From the streets of Alexandria, Virginia, to the mountains of Central Pennsylvania, Hunting Aardvarks, subtitled Lesson 1: Keep up or take notes!, weighs in at 63,500 words. This is the first in a series of novels involving these characters. I am an Associate Member of the SCBWI
and received First Place in the 1,000-Word Fiction Contest at the 2007 Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference. You can read the first chapter of Hunting Aardvarks – Lesson 1 at my website, www.walterthurman.com, or upon your request I can send you the complete manuscript.


Thank you for taking the time to consider my work. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,
----------------------------------
Revision


Dear Query Shark:

It’s hard to tell your best friend you’re in love with her. It gets a bit more difficult if she’s been kidnapped.



Five years after foiling an armored truck hijacking, high school junior Rick Hunt’s biggest challenge in life is figuring out how to tell Heidi Pinkowski that he wants to be more than “just friends.” Unfortunately for Hunt, a U.S. Government operative dressed like Saddam Hussein’s
stunt double has other ideas. The man known only as the Generalissimo is convinced that Hunt is the fulfillment of a prophesy about a boy who could defeat his nemesis (a one hundred and thirty-year-old German suffering from visions of a Fourth Reich). He decides to start training
the young man. Warning Hunt about this apprenticeship, however, might ruin the surprise.

Well, you've got it organized better now.

But the first lesson doesn’t go as planned when a team of mercenaries mistakenly abduct Heidi. Hunt joins forces with the Generalissimo and his merry band of lunatics from the Advanced Rapid Deployment Verification Assault Retreat Command (ARDVARC) to get her back. The rescue goes wrong when the mercenaries capture Hunt and deliver him to their boss. Hunt escapes and retrieves Heidi, but now they’re lost in the woods at night, with the German’s goon squad hunting them down.


And if that wasn’t enough to deal with, Hunt’s got a history test the next day.


From the streets of Alexandria, Virginia, to the mountains of Central Pennsylvania, my YA thriller HUNTING AARDVARKS, subtitled Lesson 1: Keep up or take notes!, weighs in at 63,500 words. This is the first in a series of novels involving these characters. I am an Associate Member of the SCBWI and received First Place in the 1,000-Word Fiction Contest at
the 2007 Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference. You can read the first chapter of HUNTING AARDVARKS – Lesson 1 at my website, www.walterthurman.com. Upon request I can send you the complete manuscript.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my work.

Sincerely,

You'd get a rejection letter from me on this one but that is why I yammer on about querying a lot of agents. Here is the classic example of why "not right for me" means just that. Someone else might find it hilarious. There are things I don't like that sell zillions of copies.

This is a much more coherent query though, good job on the revisions.

12 comments:

BuffySquirrel said...

Always useful when the writing in the query accurately reflects the book.

talpianna said...

Who submitted this---John Cleese?

Walter said...

Ms. Reid, thanks. I tried the "less is more" theory, but just ended up with less. I think I'll give this one another crack.

And no, I'm not John Cleese. He's taller and sports a much finer mustache...

Lehcarjt said...

I kind of liked this. The query definitely has problems, but the story itself reminds me of Alley Carter's I'd tell you I love you but then I'd have to kill you books.

I checked out the website (nicely done) and am wondering who the target audience for the story really would be. Most of the 14 -18 boys I know who read stick to adult SF/F. Girls read books like this one and I'm wondering if a male POV would really appeal to them. Anyways, it's a thought to consider.

Nerd Goddess said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Southern Writer said...

A walking erection with acne and an ipod? Oh my gawd. I spewed sweet tea all over my flat screen.

beth said...

I'm with Southern Writer. Funniest line ever.

Belvoir said...

"Dressed as Saddam Hussein's stunt double".

Is this different than dressed as hussein, but with a helmet and kneepads?

I is confuse, but this seems like japery anyway.

kitty said...

I have know two girls, ages 12 & 16, who might be very interested in this book. In fact, I e-mailed them the link to his site.

...

ChrisEldin said...

There's a mustard museum in Wisconsin, I just found out.

And they're having a writing contest. :-) (seriously!)

Marian said...

ARDVARC - All Your Reich Are Belong To Us? No, that doesn't fit. Shoot.

Walter said...

Ms. Reid-
Many thanks. Seriously. For those of us stuck in the trenches, searching for some signs of hope, this blog is a godsend.

Bad news for me, though. The revision I sent you is about 90% of the query that I used until about a month ago. The version at the top (short and not so sweet) is what I decided to send to agents after not much response to the original. Glad I didn't send too many of those out...

Anyway, thanks again. With a little luck, I'll find the right agent for my work. If you're ever in the greater Seattle/Tacoma area, the first round's on me. Probably the second, too.