Sunday, August 11, 2013

#246

Dear QueryShark:

When Nix’s father locates a good map of Honolulu in 1868, she knows she’s in trouble.

It’s not the trouble of time travel -- Nix grew up sailing from map to map and era to era. Nor is it her father’s opium habit -- she’s only too used to dealing with that. No, Honolulu in 1868 poses a threat she’s never faced -- the threat of remaking her own past.

Her father is undeterred; Honolulu in 1868 was when he last saw Nix’s mother alive, and, for a chance to see her again, he seems willing to sacrifice anything -- or, Nix fears, anyone. In an effort to get his hands on the map, he leads Nix into a political intrigue involving sugar barons, opium dealers, and a plot against the last King of Hawaii, and Nix has to decide how much she will sacrifice to free her father -- and herself -- from the yoke of their own history.

THE GIRL FROM EVERYWHERE is a young adult Historical Fantasy, complete at 101,000 words.  Thank you for your time and consideration.



This works.
The first sentence catches my attention. The rest of the letter tells me who the main character is, what her problem is, who the antagonist is and what he wants, and what's at stake.

If I took on YA novels, I'd ask for pages.

20 comments:

Attorney At Large said...

Damn. I really want to read this.

heidi heilig said...

You don't know how terrified I was when I saw the email. I'm just glad I was sitting down.

Thank you so so much for your kind words, and for the generous help you give here. I really did read the archives thoroughly and this is the result.

Robyn Lucas said...

Holy-Mother-Batman-Balls!!!!

This is AMAZING. Clean and precise... and the stakes.
Great job.

Kathleen said...

Holy wow! I want to read this right now!

Nora said...

So...please come write my query for me! That was great!

Raquel said...

I think this query is the perfect example of what works. Wonderful job!
I must read this. Yesterday. Can Nix bring me a copy when she's done with Hawaii?

Eliza said...

I would read this. I like time travel and the end of Hawaii's royalty isn't a setting I've seen often. Time travel is all about setting. Good luck finding an agent!

The Girl With Words said...

Wow! This is excellent. I would definitely read this book :D Clean, precise and enticing. Could not ask for more. Well done!

Rachel6 said...

Oooooohhh, that sounds fantastic!!

GillyB said...

I WOULD SO READ THIS. I'm a YA book blogger, and I'd request this so fast I'd probably hurt myself.

Greg L. Turnquist said...

It really does sound intriguing. No boring characters, no whacko names mistaken as mispelled words, and clear/concise risks/rewards.

Sarah Brand said...

I would read this in a heartbeat.

Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...

Just reminded myself why I hate this site.

Now I want to read a book that's not even represented and not even close to being published. The Girl From Everywhere, when you hit the shelves, I'll be waiting.

Kalli said...

Um... am I the only person who is hopelessly confused by this query? And I'm sorry to say, not in a good way that makes me want to read more. There are just too many ambiguous sentences here, where I think brevity has compromised clarity. If the novel was written in the same style, I'd be putting it back on the shelf with a perplexed frown.

Purple Rose said...

Wow! I love, LOVE this query! Not a fan of this genre but ready to read this one :-)

Alaina said...

Why can't I do this? Forty drafts of one query, and it's nowhere near this tight.

Well done.

George Kaplan said...

Is there a procedure for submitting query letters for critique or does one just post it as a comment.

Thanks,

George

Theresa Milstein said...

Wow, somehow I missed this query. I can see why you'd request pages. Important parts of the plot and character are said with a small # of words.

It's a long book, but much world building (or world buildings) would be involved.

Love the title too.

heidi heilig said...

For readers who may find this information useful, with this query, I queried fifteen agents. Of those fifteen agents, two requested an entire manuscript, and of those two, both offered representation. Good luck to all of you, and my deepest thanks, Query Shark!

Amanda Helms said...

This query is a success story! From today's Publisher's Lunch:

"...NYU Musical Theater Writing MFA Heidi Heilig's debut THE GIRL FROM EVERYWHERE, in which a 16-year-old, whose father uses vintage maps to time-travel the world, must determine whether to journey with him to 1868 Honolulu to save her mother's life, knowing that changing history risks her very existence"

Not sure if Heidi is reading this anymore (I see she commented), but CONGRATS!!!