Saturday, May 5, 2012

The ∑ of all queries

 Dear Most Exalted Shark of Snark:

JOHN SMITH (who's a girl, but her parents wanted a boy so they named her John, even though it's totally misleading because she's gorgeous with fiery red and orange tresses the color of autumn leaves, and sparkling forest green eyes that glisten with secrets) is the best friend of Aphrodite Pantaloonacy, who is actually our protagonist.

In a blinding fit of rage, John Smith (whom Aphro has nicknamed Elvis) runs off to Iceland, to better escape the ghosts of her past and the pitfalls of her own artistic temperament. While there, she plays ice hockey. They're's*** also an Amusing Scene with a Turkish ghost on holiday taking a bath (Turkish baths, etc.). But one day, when the sky churns with storms and across the see Aphrodite has a terribly chilling feeling of icy foreboding, Elvis falls down a rabbit weasel hole, killing her instantly.


In order to deal with her crushing grief, Aphro and the tortured-soulled boyfriend of Elvis, Maisie (who is actually a boy but his parents wanted a girl so they named him Maisie, go figure right?) flee to the mystical land of Genovia Canada Barbecuasia. It is a place where dragons roam free and the cursed are damned. Where blood can flow quick and fast or slow and at a snail's pace. It is here that Maisie and Aphro can find their dreams. It is here that Aphro can finally confront her destiny.


Since birth Aphro has had a birthmark in the shape of a question mark right in the middle of her snowy forehead. It is a gift from the Barbecuasian gods signifying that she is her mother's daughter. What this means, only Maisie can discover, because of the key his grandfather gave him that he's always carried around his neck that opens the chest where the true powers of Lord Carbunkle dwell.

Aphro, Maisie, the ghost of Elvis, Dandelion, Alkaline, Mjehrithuuqreaei, a baby, a snaggle-toothed troll, a shark with a devastating scents of humor, all these characters and more go on a piercing and heart/gut-wrenching journey of self-discovery and what it means to be a human. Also tacos.

As your eyes pour over each and every carefully selected word (you tell us to edit a lot so boy did I!) I know you will guffaw with laughter (The book is funny). You may even maybe snicker and chortle and giggle and titter and then maybe cackle a bit but only at the funny parts. The serious parts are the parts where I am fully and fervently convinced you will boohoo. I tested this out on test readers (ages 7-84) and there was so much boohooing that I "drifted away on a sea of beautiful tears" (Rosemary, age 67, Tulsa, Oklahoma).

I would be so honored if you would consider reading my 350,842 1/2 (people get interrupted mid-word sometimes) word gritty crime novel work of fiction, the first in a series of seventeen tomes sure to rival the epic sagas of Larry McMurtry, William Shakespeare, Homer [Simpson] and Barbara Walters. It is a compelling work of staggeringly-employed metafores in the timely and bestselling genre of young adult thriller hipster communist manifesto. It is rated X for explicit sex scenes.

I sent a joke once to a joke magazine and they printed my joke (I have included the magazine and highlighted the page for your convenience). Literature is my passion and I have named all my cats after literary characters. Please do not tell me that you do not have the time to read my manuscript, since I know where you live and I see that you stay up very very late at night reading, and there really isn't any reason you couldn't be up reading my stuff too.

Ever faithfully yours,

(name redacted) aka (pen name redacted)
 
    
***it took me this long to realize this wasn't the serious shark submission I thought it was.

Well played Redacted, well played.

Also, I think the underlying theme here is that ya'll are hungry for some more chums.

44 comments:

Kelly Barnes said...

so -- this one goes straight to "yes?"

T.L. Bodine said...

Hahah, that was pretty epic.
And, yes, more chums please! I had a dream last night that involved query letters and sharks, maybe it was prophetic!

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

Wow, that is too funny! Nicely done. ;)

BP said...

Haha BUT HOW COULD YOU TURN IT DOWN WITH SUCH A GREAT PREMISE!!! I mean, a girl named John? Nicknamed Elvis!

Tiana said...

LOLOLOL. Thanks Redacted. I needed that today.

Marva Dasef said...

Chum pun noted, yet a bit too subtle. Try to make this answer a little less obscure and resubmit.

Kimberly said...

Whoa...

:)

Diamond in the Rough said...

Glad the vicious rumors of your demise, consumed in your own feeding frenzy I believe was the tall tale, were completely false. I must say hats-off to the brave student who spun such a query that the teacher became the pupil. Even I, a newbie to your school, saw so much wrong. I wondered where the thrashing was after each sentence.

All I can say, SHE'S BACK!!!

Huntress said...

Oh, if only talent such as this 'twere mine as well.

*still LMAO*

K.L. Layton said...

Oh, man, that's great!

Catherine said...

The fact it took you so long to figure out it was fake tells me how bad some of your real query submissions must be.

-Catherine

Robert Michael said...

Terry Pratchett would be proud. At a certain point I became intrigued and the creative juices began to flow. Is it scary that perhaps I have been INSPIRED by Redacted?

Oh, forbid.

Joseph Ramirez said...

Double whoa.

Nancy Kimball said...

That was fantastic. =)

Brent Stratford said...

I don't get it. How did my query get on query shark. Didn't you immediately offer me representation?

Actually, I know I'm not witty enough to write something this bad. The fact that the shark thought this might be an actual query gives me hope for the ninetieth billion revision of my current query.

Thanks for the laughs, redacted.

Susan said...

Brilliant.

I laughed, I cried, I floated away on a sea of tears.

I also spent a good five seconds trying to pronounce that unspeakable name (even though I knew that's why it was there).

I take a knee to you, Redacted - and hope you continue using those skills for good, because there's supervillain quality there for certain.

earth said...

Haha. Just what I needed. I'll probably print it and stick it on my computer. Thanks, Redacted. Just awesome. Thanks for the laugh

nonayo beeswax said...

The greeting made me suspicious, but a few words into the first sentence I was thinking,"HA! How fun! It's a late April Fool's joke!"

Unless you really can't write better, writing like this entry is like playing a dumb blonde: it takes intelligence and talent. Well done, author!

Laura Hughes, MittensMorgul said...

I boohooed with joy! Fantastic!

And I'm co-opting the word "boohooed."

Theresa Milstein said...

I've been waiting for a critique. This was a funny alternative. After the first paragraph, I didn't know if it was for real. But then again, I've thought that from a few of the real queries too.

erica and christy said...

I made it through the query, but Catherine's comment truly made me guffaw (and maybe even chortle a little)!
erica

GillyB said...

For some reason, my first comment did not make it through... But yay!! I'm finally a published author! Oh happy day! I also have 37 full-color double page crayon illustrations I could send you. Because this obviously means my "fiction novel" is ready to hit the presses!

Glad I could bring a smile to people's faces (and my own. I wrote this while eating barbecue potato chips. You probably won't be able to find where this influenced me).

This was actually good practice for writing proper queries. I got all that junk out of my system.
I'm glad the shark is back!

31b0ce1a-97ab-11e1-aeaa-000bcdcb5194 said...

Hey, Redacted, you missed giving a direct quote from the ms.

You did include a quote from someone else's reaction, but I'm not sure that really makes up for it.

Tessa Conte said...

Brilliant.

Diamond in the Rough said...

@GillyB -

Ahh...barbecue potato chips as inspiration for the mystical land of Barbecuasia. And here I thought it was acid reflux.

GillyB said...

@31b0ce1a-97ab-11e1-aeaa-000bcdcb5194 (which is a name almost as hard to spell as one of my character’s)
D’oh! What an egregious oversight. Luckily I’ve got the whole manuscript here on my computer… Let me just cut and paste…

Mjehrithuuqreaei cleared his attractive throat. “That question mark in the middle of your forehead is a gift from the gods, Aphro.”

As nausea churned in Aphro’s swollen heart, she put a hand to her head, feeling her stomach drop from her abdomen to her knees to her feet. “What question mark?”

“The one in the middle of your smooth and snowy forehead.”

“Oh, that one!” Aphro turned her glistening gray eyes towards Maisie, who was busy riding dragons and trying to corral there wild spirits.

It was a dangerous job, corralling dragons, but someone, preferably someone like Maisie who knew a thing or too about inner demons, being as he was a victim of having his parents brutally murdered before his glistening gray eyes, just had to do it.

“But what does it mean, Mjehrithuuqreaei?”

“It means… that you are your mother’s daughter.”

“NO!” Aphro screamed, feeling the weight of generations crushing her delicate but brawny soul. The soul of a survivor. A soul Lord Carbunkle could never defeat. “But… but I thought I was my FATHER'S daughter!”

Hey, this is much more fun than doing ACTUAL work. At this rate, I'm probably just going to end up writing the whole dang novel.

Rachel6 said...

The query was hilarious, and the
"excerpt" was sheer icing on the cake.

Gilly, if you ever write more, I would absolutely read it. Your writing has this oddly addictive property...like deep-fried Oreos.

Patchi said...

I'm so glad I read this on Monday! You made my day!

Natalie McManus said...

GillyB. Legend. Completely made my (writer's block of a) day.

Sara said...

My brain was scrambling, reading and re-reading, trying to follow all the plot twists and changes, all the while wondering, "How the H is this 'the ∑ of all queries?' Where have I gone wrong?!?" LOL. #awesome

Dalya Moon said...

I giggle that it wasn't immediately apparent it was satire. That says a lot.

Ah! Great entertainment!!

Renee27 said...

This made my day! Also Gilly I agree with Rachel6, I would love to read your "real" stories :)

Sarah Negovetich said...

This is a definitie FTW. I'm glad to see the shark found a minute to peak her head out of the tank for a quick hello. Poor overworked shark. Hopefully this means more to come soon.

Patty Blount said...

Hmm. Did Jeff and Sean write this query??

Kalli said...

I actually thought this one was written by the shark as a warning to us all... I laughed even more when I realised it was the mighty redacted biting the shark!

QS, you got served...

Lanette said...

Billy, you have to publish that. I am literally laughing my ass off. Yes, literally, and it's about time I got rid of that big ol' thing.

Dan said...

Epic indeed.

Unknown said...

I love this blog! It took me a little while, but I just finshed reading every query on the site (the last one was hilarious!). Some made me laugh, others made me cringe, and one or two made me want to read the manuscript (i.e. the query for the Caligula novel comes to mind). I'm glad I invested the time because I learned a little something new from each and every one. Thank you, Query Shark!

Heather Hawke said...

The geek in me (who takes up a lot of room) appreciates the "sum."

Vivian said...

LOL! I would read whatever book the author of this fake query actually wrote.

Amy L. Sonnichsen said...

This is completely awesome. Well done Redacted!

Criticus said...

Hilarious! So what's the publication date? :)

Kim Kouski said...

Aphro, Maisie, the ghost of Elvis, Dandelion, Alkaline, Mjehrithuuqreaei, a baby, a snaggle-toothed troll, a shark with a devastating scents of humor, all these characters and more go on a piercing and heart/gut-wrenching journey of self-discovery and what it means to be a human. Also tacos.


Classic. I love the use of tacos. But I will add, the writer should have had vampires in the story and query letter. Those are so needed now.

Fiona said...

"...my 350,842 1/2 (people get interrupted mid-word sometimes) word"

Love it!