Thursday, September 27, 2007

Query 16: I'll Never Eat Tuna Again

If you are looking for something to fill your fantasy void since acquiring THE SQUIRREL KNIGHTS and NANNY’S MAGIC KNICKERS, and now that HP is finally complete, perhaps I have something of interest to you. Although, it should be noted that if you are looking for more wands, wizarding schools, rodent knights or magical underwear, I am afraid I may not be the right author for you. But what I can promise you is a medieval orphanage, wretched chores, dragons, talking mushrooms, gargoyles, banshees, sylphs, kobolds, and a genderless oddity called Mimick.
Please let me elaborate further.
Perhaps you are sitting at your desk enjoying a tasty tuna fish sandwich. Might I interrupt, and ask that you imagine seven colored stones, arranged in a circle upon your desk. You put your hand in the centre of the ring, but with caution, for you do not know what this author is purporting for you. And sure enough, as soon as your fingers touch the surface of your paper-covered desk, you are whisked off to another world – a medieval realm where magic lives and thrives. You think to yourself, “Oh no! - another story with a portal to a fantasy realm.” Your finger hovers over the delete key,
Or pounds at it
but something makes you hold. You wonder, perhaps there is something more to this. And you learn, much to your surprise, that you were actually born upon this world, and that your parents transported you to Earth many years ago. They fled an evil king that usurped your mother’s throne. Your parents must now attempt to regain their stolen kingdom and are sending you and your little brother Sam off to an orphanage located in a castle. You now think to yourself, “Oh, I’m going to live in a castle!” Alas, your excitement is sadly misplaced, for the castle is not only haunted, but is in shambles. It is mired in a boot-sucking bog, and around every corner rather unexpected things await you –dark magic, Dragons, Mimicks, Gargoyles, Sylphs, Sprights, Banshees, Kobolds, and wretched chores like emptying chamber pots, serving royal snobs that treat you like a lowly peasant, and cleaning Master Cobblepot’s spittle bowl. The latter notion makes you shudder uncontrollably.
Who can tell?
You learn that you haven’t got a magical bone in your body and you covet your brother’s special abilities. Everyone around you seems able to wield some form of magic, and the best you can do is learn to use a bow and arrow – you might become a Knight one day. Wonderful. Of course, you do not really think it’s wonderful. You cannot wait to escape such a miserable existence. Your parents must be absolutely, and most undeniably crazy to have sent you to this place. To top it all off, your evil cousin, Festrel, has shown up at the orphanage and terrible things start to happen. One of the children is turned to stone and a deadly plague is spreading through the orphanage. Now, you and your friends must try to discover who is bent on destroying you with this Warlock’s Plague, and how you can survive. This is the story of Rudy Doyle, minus the tuna fish sandwich, of course. She much prefers smoked ham and mustard, thank you very much.
This enchanting middle-grade novel, which is approximately 81,000 words and contains characters from culturally diverse backgrounds, is the first of two parallel series. The first series (with three books) centers on a young girl named Rudy Doyle. The second series (also three books) revolves around a young boy named Kelvin Bo. So, imagine two intertwining series that take place in the same world, where characters and events overlap. As each series is weaved, the two main characters will look to each other for help. The two series culminate in one final tale that will bind them together, for the evil that haunts Rudy and Kelvin is a common foe. If you can hold a little longer on that tuna fish sandwich, I have endeavoured to create two fantastical web sites. There you will find additional information on this project, as well as sample chapters for both series: and
If you are interested, I'd be happy to forward further material to you. Thank you for your time and consideration. You may now return to your meal. Bon appétit!
Holy crap, I think this is serious. Who would like to comment?


Karen said...

I want to know more about Nanny's Magic Knickers...

Editorial Anonymous said...

I know, me too! I think I'd like some magic undergarments myself.

Anonymous said...

Re: the websites, facebook/myspace pages...

Dude, that is SO not your job. You are wasting your money and possibly even making it LESS likely that you will be published. (They may feel that you've locked the ms into a certain look or style.) I bet most editors would look at this and think, "WTF? No."

Now, I'm a lot more patient than EA, and although the pages took too long to load, I was even willing to read a sample chapter. Unfortunately for you, everything on the site is popups, which I block ruthlessly (and if you think anyone's going to make an exception for your site... hmmm, what's that word again, EA? NO.)

Now my patience is gone, and your form rejection is in the mail.

Marissa Doyle said...

"Or pounds at it."

EA, that made my morning. A comment not even Evil Editor himself could top.

Anonymous said...

This one made me feel sorry for editors. And tuna.

Anonymous said...

To be a bit more kind to an author willing to throw it all out there for the world to see, this query has too many no-nos for a first time author, such as...
1. pitching a series
2. non-standard query (tuna sandwich)
3. taking way too long to get to the details of the story. A whole paragraph passes before there's any talk of the ms, and that's a major time waster to the person doing the reading.

I'm all for being original, but with the ms, not the query. Do what the pros recommend: Get to the point. Write a tight paragraph with your hook. Mention why chose this person to query (I know it's not possible with the anonymous EA). And keep at it!

Sarah Laurenson said...

Starting with squirrels on this blog had me thinking - this is a major joke. And that's how I read it. But then came the websites. Wow.

I didn't try to get to sample chapters so I have no idea what the writing is like.

As for the query, there's some good information buried in there. The problem is - it's buried.

But 2 separate series that culminate in one book? And the characters help each other out? Are you sure you can't write this as one series at least?

Can each book stand on it's own? If yes, query that one book. If no, you have bigger problems.

Joni said...

I DID look at the sample chapters, after waiting for the annoying stuff on the website to load. Chapter 1 starts with a long aside to the reader, then the charachter waking from a dream, then the character looking at herself in the mirror so we can know what she looks like, then a lot of background about the character.

I don't personally like the way-wordy style, but others might; it's at least competent. Author, start with some action and get rid of the websites and you'll probably be closer to publication. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable! I was totally cracking up at all the tuna references, since my writing teacher was extremely fond of picturing all editors perusing manuscripts over their tuna fish. (None of them like a pbj? Ham? Hummus?) I thought the whole thing was a well-written joke; perhaps the query was, but the book is not. David?

I admit, I am going to be very fond of saying, "At least I don't have to empty Master Cobblepot's spittle bowl."

Anonymous said...

OK, it's time for said author to jump in and comment:

I'm actually finding this all quite amusing. Believe it or not this query has gotten me invitations to submit to major publishing houses and agents entirely because of the humor and charm in the letter. I'm now waiting on agents that have read the partial and are reading the full before I submit to the editors that have requested the full. It is an example of how subjective this business truly is. What one person may think as a joke, others see as having possibility. And as for the web sites, I've received just as high compliments on the those as well from editors and agents alike. I don't think there is any hard and fast rule in this line of work. I do appreciate the feedback and comments on this though, including EA's (by the way, "or pounds at it" was hysterical!). This was a wonderful exercise and I would do it all over again. I think EA's blog is not only funny but highly valuable. So to answer your question, yes this is a real query (it's gimmicky, I'll grant you that), but it seems to be working for me so I'll stick with it for now.

All the best,

Anonymous said...

Good for you, David, anon 10:15 here. And your response was a class act all the way. Some of these rude comments really surprise me...I thought we grew out of teasing kids on the playground back in junior high.

Springpeeper said...

Doesn't posting your writing on a public website count as "publishing" it?

Seems to me this alone would make the work unappealing to an editor... it's already published!

LindaBudz said...

Interesting, thanks for sharing your experience with this David ... definitely not MY style, but if it's yours, I say, Work It!

Sarah Laurenson said...

Posting a magazine article online is publishing it. Not so with chapters of a book.

More power to you, David, if this is working for you.