Tuesday, April 19, 2011

It's Query Letter Blogfest Time!


Today is the Supercool Query Letter Blogfest hosted by Slice of the Blog Pie. So I am posting a query from WIP #2, Family Genius, Species.

Now, I'm in the middle of revising this project... and I've tentatively added a sort of fantastical element. So this is really, more or less, a giant, bloggy trial balloon.

Okay, enough with the disclaimers here it is:

"Rocker Roger “Zorro” Weitz is living off 70’s cool. Almost thirty years after his hit, single “Hate You (Gonna Eat Cheese),” he’s still driving his trademark purple Buick, sporting a jet black mullet and working on his next great song. He’s the closest to big-time cool the town of Burning Falls has ever seen. And since a near-death experience in a motel bathroom in 1978, he hasn’t aged a bit. Life is good… until he falls off his roof and has another go at the almost-dying thing.

As his internal clock lurches into fast forward, Zorro seeks the purpose his super-long adolescence never had. He dedicates himself to helping his girlfriend Carla’s social outcast of a daughter. Although children have never been his “thing”, he will school the adolescent in the mysterious art of “cool” even if it means going behind Carla’s back to do it.

Cool is beyond her, but the kid, a budding zoologist and certified genius, has no trouble mastering the art of blackmail. Her quest to find and rescue a long-lost gibbon drags Zorro into theft, kidnapping, and an actual car chase, and—most unexpected of all— he finds he actually cares for the kid, enough to sacrifice his last shot at the big time to save her.

Readers of Tom Perrotta and Nick Hornby will enjoy FAMILY, GENIUS, SPECIES, a sort of reverse Pygmalion, with a touch of Peter Pan, a few cheesy music references, a lesser ape, and a lot of heart. The book is 84,000 words."

Okay then, have at it!

15 comments:

Holly Dodson said...

This is a really good query. I'm totally intrigued!

The only thing that confused me was your first sentence, "Rocker Roger “Zorro” Weitz is living off 70’s cool."

The Rocker Roger part reads kinda weird and "living off 70's cool" took me several reads to understand. lol (Maybe I'm slow, idk haha)

You could just say something like, "Zorro Weitz is still the personification of 70's cool -- 30 years after..etc." Just an idea of a way to make it easier to understand.

Great job!

Brandileigh2003 (Blkosiner's Book Blog) said...

I'm not hooked by first line. It actually confuses me a bit. Is he living off money or just the high?
This flows well, and I understand the stakes pretty well.
If I were an agent, I would pass because I don't do adult, only YA. But otherwise I would request a sample chapter.

Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

Scott Springer said...

Zorro sounds like a fun character. The story starts when he falls off the roof. About this dying thing, I'm confused. Is this some paranormal thing? Or just a moment of internal change like he's going to be a grownup now. The biggest deal about the story is that he starts out not particularly liking the kid but ends up willing to sacrifice his career for him. Is that an easy choice, or a really big one for him? I like your voice and this sounds super fun and I hope it really is that good. I'd like to read the first pages. Good luck.

Lori M. Lee said...

I have nothing of value to say lol. Just that I love the voice in this query and even though I got a little confused at times, I didn't even care b/c I thought it was fun and compelling. I'd read it!

mooderino said...

Hi,
First line is hard to understand. Opening with quotes doesn't help (necessary?). You use the word 'cool' too often, i would save it for when he has to teach the kid th mysterious art of..., find another way to describe it otherwise, through behaviour. If you're going to write a book about it I need to know you know what it is.

The kid needs cool why? Popularity, confidence, bullies... be specific.

Is the fantastic thing that he hasn't aged at all, and then he suddenly starts aging rapidly? It isn't clear and agents probably won't be interested in trying to work it out.

I like the idea, sounds like it could be very funny, bit scattergun at the moment though, imo.

Hope that helped.
regards
mood

Christine Murray said...

This made me laugh so much! I want to read this book now!

I really hope you get an agent.

Alicia Gregoire said...

I was giggling through the entire query, but that's because I've also read parts of this during Lisa's class.

I think the query can stand for some tightening overall. I took at stab at the opening paragraph:

Roger "Zorro" Weitz is the the closest to big-time cool the town of Burning Falls has ever seen. Almost thirty years after his only hit song, he still drives his trademark purple Buick, sports a jet black mullet, and works on his next great song. Life is good... until he falls off his roof.

Since a lot of the story deals with Zorro's relationship with Carla's daughter, I think it would be more important to know her name than her mother's.

I like how you call this a "sort of reverse Pygmalion."

I'd request pages just because I think Zorro would be hilarious. (In a good way.)

Charmaine Clancy said...

I didn't see the fantasy element (or did you mean you are adding that after this query?).

I like the character but wonder why we would want Carla's daughter to become cool? Sounds like being a budding zoologist and certified genius is pretty cool.

I also had alarm bells going off when some block hung up on himself wants to go behind his girlfriend's back to spend time with her daughter. Made him sound creepy and dangerous to me. That might explain better in the synopsis or book, I'd leave it out of the query.

I'd think about starting with 'Children have never been Zorro's "thing"... then I'd explain about him living off his 70's cool and then the big 'but' for why Carla's daughter is the one to change that.

I like your last paragraph :)

Marie Rearden said...

Hmmm...a lot of jumping around. Grain of salt for all my comments. :)

Consider this:

"Rocker Roger “Zorro” Weitz is the closest to big-time cool the town of Burning Falls has ever seen, and since a near-death experience in a motel bathroom in 1978, he hasn’t aged a bit. Life is good… until he falls off his roof and has another go at that almost-dying thing.

Now, his internal clock lurches into fast forward, and Zorro seeks the purpose his super-long adolescence never had. He dedicates himself to turning his girlfriend’s daughter from social outcast to coolest kid in school. All behind her mother’s back, of course.

The kid's beyond Zorro, though. She may be a budding zoologist and certified genius, but she has no trouble mastering the art of blackmail. Her quest to find and rescue a long-lost gibbon drags Zorro into theft, kidnapping, and an actual car chase. In the midst of that chaos, he finds he actually cares for the kid, enough to sacrifice his last shot at the big time to save her.

I loveLoveLOVE Peter Pan, so you had me there. Overall, just a little tightening, and it'll be great!

Thanks for sharing!

Marie at the Cheetah

Marie Rearden said...

Oh, and I really like your title!

Marie

Kalen O'Donnell said...

I am REALLY intrigued by the fantastical elements of this, plus kidnapping, ape theft, car chases - sold! The only things are I would watch your word repetition - I think you use 'cool' and 'kids' a little too much and it sticks out and makes it feel like you're trying a little too hard. Other than that, I would tighten up your ending and leave out the 'sort of' -- '''...will enjoy FAMILY, GENIUS, SPECIES, a reverse Pygmalion with a touch of Peter Pan, a dash of cheesy music references, lesser apes and a lot of heart.' Something like that just flows a little better I think.

Erinn said...

You had me all the way up until the paragraph Cool is beyond her, but the kid, a budding zoologist and certified genius, has no trouble mastering the art of blackmail." The wording seemed off and it's too many new idea.

I was hooked by the idea of a rocker who didn't age-- awesome, totally living in the past.. awesome, but the uncool girl lost me.

It's a great idea just needs some tightening up

Perri said...

Thanks so much everyone! I have much to think about now-- and a some clear avenues for revision. Good thing I have a while before I am planning to send! :)

FranceRants said...

Hey there - you are one of my followers (but I never hear from you) and I don't know how I missed this blog, which seems right up my alley. I think overall this is a good letter and with a few tweaks, it will be great!

Perri said...

Welcome France!

Great blog! I struggle to keep up on the comments, but know I am out there, lurking away :)

Thanks for the feedback!