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  1. #1
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    Query Letter: Leap Forward

    Hey!

    This is the second query letter that I mentioned earlier. In this query I try out the name Leap Forward instead of Keep Faith. It's the same story.

    Once again, any constructive advice is appreciated! Thanks .

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    Dear [Agent’s Name]:

    The day Jamie Harding, Liberty High’s queen of popularity, chucks a large cup of lemonade at fifteen-year-old Faith Lane’s face, Faith decides she’s had enough.

    That night, Faith sneaks her Mama's bottle of sleeping pills into her room and begins downing a bunch before she finds the strength to stop. With renewed courage Faith resumes life determined to deal with her peers and the unreasonable pressure from her parents of being the embodiment of perfection.

    Weeks later, as Faith rushes to the school bus after being the laughing stock of upperclassmen boys looking for an easy target, she meets Alex Caputo, a varsity basketball player with a mysterious secret of his own, and the two strike an unlikely friendship. Alex encourages Faith’s passion for dance nudging her to try out for the school’s team instead of dancing alone in front of her bedroom mirror. But being on the dance team isn’t the only thing she owes Alex. It’s just the beginning.

    Soon Faith and Alex experience the joys that come with first loves. Faith blushes every time she relives the sweetness of their first kiss on a cool summer night lit by a full moon, the nervous tingles still making her heart race. Her entire body floods with a kind of warmth she’s never known before whenever she discovers a surprise love note from Alex. And feels safer than ever each time Alex wraps his strong arms around her.

    But little does Faith know that all it takes is one night to shatter her newly created world.

    Enduring the loss of a loved one, Faith shuts out everyone and everything, especially dance, choosing instead to twirl in guilt.

    Does Faith have the strength to let go of her past and leap forward or will she continue down her self-destructive path?

    Leap Forward is a realistic young adult novel that [insert specifics of what agent’s looking for].

    Working first hand with young adults as a teacher and counselor for nearly ten years inspired me to write Leap Forward. When I manage to pop my head out of the young adult world, I freelance for magazines.

    If interested, I’d love to send you the manuscript completed at 89,260 words.

    Thank you very much for your time and I look forward to future correspondence.

    Best,
    K.P Gazelle



  2. #2
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    Way too much detail and not enough story. Is it Alex that dies? If not, who? And does Faith feel responsible in some way? Why? Tell the story so the agent wants to know what happens next. Hit the agent with the story fast and hard. Try to keep it under 300 words. Here...I cut all the crap outta your post. This is essentially all the story you present:

    Bullies at school and the pressure of her parents’ high expectations nearly drive fifteen-year-old Faith Lane to suicide, but then she meets Alex Caputo, a varsity basketball player with a mysterious secret.

    Alex helps Faith withstand the bullying and encourages her passion for dance. The two soon fall in love, but little does Faith suspect one night to shatter her perfect little world. Enduring the loss of a loved one, Faith shuts out everyone and everything, even dance, choosing instead to twirl in guilt.

    Does Faith have the strength to leave her past and leap forward or will she continue down her self-destructive path?

    Leap Forward is a young adult novel of 89,000 words.

    Thank you for your time consideration.


    You need more story

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Oberon View Post
    Way too much detail and not enough story. Is it Alex that dies? If not, who? And does Faith feel responsible in some way? Why? Tell the story so the agent wants to know what happens next. Hit the agent with the story fast and hard. Try to keep it under 300 words. Here...I cut all the crap outta your post. This is essentially all the story you present:

    Bullies at school and the pressure of her parents’ high expectations nearly drive fifteen-year-old Faith Lane to suicide, but then she meets Alex Caputo, a varsity basketball player with a mysterious secret.

    Alex helps Faith withstand the bullying and encourages her passion for dance. The two soon fall in love, but little does Faith suspect one night to shatter her perfect little world. Enduring the loss of a loved one, Faith shuts out everyone and everything, even dance, choosing instead to twirl in guilt.

    Does Faith have the strength to leave her past and leap forward or will she continue down her self-destructive path?

    Leap Forward is a young adult novel of 89,000 words.

    Thank you for your time consideration.


    You need more story
    Hi John,

    Thank you so much for your honest feedback! It's appreciated .

    Yes, it is Alex who dies and yes, Faith does feel responsible. Would it be a good idea to include the fact that Alex is the one who dies within the query? Or would it be better to leave that part a bit vague so the agent wants to know more?

    Once again, thanks for all your help!

    Best,
    K.P Gazelle

  4. #4
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    How's this? Is the description of the night too detailed?

    Dear [Agent’s Name]:

    Love can be destructive.

    Bullies at school and monstrous expectations from her parents nearly drive fifteen-year-old fashion enthusiast Faith Lane to suicide. But then she meets Alex Caputo, a varsity basketball player with forever-messy hair and a lopsided smile.

    The two soon fall in love as Alex helps Faith build a backbone and encourages her passion for dance, Faith never suspecting one night to shatter her new world; the night everything around her catches fire while she’s dancing in a trance.

    Faith prepares for an inevitable death until Alex breaks into the locked room and shakes her out of unconsciousness. Faith reaches for Alex as soon as she breathes in chilly air instead of smoke, ready to celebrate their victory. Instead, her fingers get covered with Alex’s blood trickling down his temple. With a siren booming in the distance, Alex takes his last breath in Faith’s lap.

    Unable to endure the guilt of being the reason for Alex’s death and of surviving the night Faith shuts out everyone and everything, especially dance, her mind once more fogging with ideas of suicide.

    Faith is now left with the decision of cultivating courage from deep recesses to heal equally deep wounds and forging a new life, a life that is her own or succumbing to self-destruction.

    Leap Forward is a young adult novel that [insert specifics of what agent’s looking for].

    Working first hand with young adults as a teacher and counselor for nearly ten years inspired me to write Leap Forward. When I manage to pop my head out of the young adult world, I freelance for magazines.

    If interested, I’d love to send you the manuscript completed at 89,000 words.

    Thank you very much for your time and I look forward to future correspondence.

    Best,
    K.P Gazelle

  5. #5
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    Yeah, too detailed. Just tell the story simply hitting the important points:

    Bullies and parents almost drive Faith to suicide.
    She meets Alex and they fall in love.
    He brightens her life and encourages her to dance.
    One night Faith is caught in a fire (did she cause the fire?).
    Alex saves Faith, but dies in the process.
    Faith feels guilty and responsible for Alex's death.
    Thoughts of suicide re-emerge, but will Faith overcome and gain a new lease on life?

    Use good verbs and clever language to hook the agent. Tell a good story that makes the agent want more, that pulls his hands to the keyboard to ask for your MS.

    You don't need to tell the agent what he's looking for, he already knows. If your story doesn't fill the bill, no amount of specifics about how it does will make a difference.

    Lose the teacher/counselor/freelancer paragraph. None of that is needed. You include that kind of information only if it reveals an expertise or education that is required or extremely advantageous to the book. You don't need to be a teacher/counselor/freelancer to write your book; anyone could write a similar book, and many do.

    Visit QueryShark. Lots of good advice. Then give it another go.

  6. #6
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    Dear [Name]:

    Love can be destructive.

    Faith doesn’t want to die. She really doesn’t.

    But with the devil reincarnating himself as evil bullies at Liberty High and her parents expecting her to be a flawless diamond, Faith wants nothing more than to jump off the rocky cliffs near her coastal home.

    Faith chooses to dance instead. She immerses herself in her passion of dance to heal scars only she knows about, vowing to get a grip on her life.

    Then Faith meets Alex. It isn’t long before the two are in love. And through Alex’s encouragement Faith finds herself dancing on stage to a roaring audience instead of her bedroom mirror.

    Faith never dreams of life reaching such perfection.

    She also never suspects her love of dance to be the reason for a death.

    Faith doesn’t know how to continue living knowing she caused a death while she’s still alive. She blocks out everyone and everything, even dance is unable to seep through the blockade. And her mind floods with the seduction of the ocean below those rocky cliffs.

    Faith does know how to end the pain clawing at her heart.

    All she has to do is jump.

    Keep Faith is a young adult novel complete at 89,000 words.

    Thank you very much for your time and I look forward to future correspondence.

    Best,
    K.P Gazelle
    [Contact]

  7. #7
    Rogue Mutt
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    Should probably decide what your title is. The way this is formatted seems like you're writing a list of bullet points instead of a query. Go to QueryShark as John suggested or Agent Query or one of those places and see how these are done.

    Quote Originally Posted by kpgazelle View Post
    Dear [Name]:

    Love can be destructive.

    Faith doesn’t want to die. She really doesn’t.

    But with the devil reincarnating himself as evil bullies at Liberty High and her parents expecting her to be a flawless diamond, Faith wants nothing more than to jump off the rocky cliffs near her coastal home.

    Faith chooses to dance instead. She immerses herself in her passion of dance to heal scars only she knows about, vowing to get a grip on her life.

    Then Faith meets Alex. It isn’t long before the two are in love. And through Alex’s encouragement Faith finds herself dancing on stage to a roaring audience instead of her bedroom mirror.

    Faith never dreams of life reaching such perfection.

    She also never suspects her love of dance to be the reason for a death.

    Faith doesn’t know how to continue living knowing she caused a death while she’s still alive. She blocks out everyone and everything, even dance is unable to seep through the blockade. And her mind floods with the seduction of the ocean below those rocky cliffs.

    Faith does know how to end the pain clawing at her heart.

    All she has to do is jump.

    Keep Faith is a young adult novel complete at 89,000 words.

    Thank you very much for your time and I look forward to future correspondence.

    Best,
    K.P Gazelle
    [Contact]

  8. #8
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    Hello,

    The biggest problem I see with your query is that the tone is always changing. When someone gives you advice and you repost your query, the tone has changed. Try and write a query that matches your story's tone. That will help it come to life. I also feel like there is still too much detail. We can know she attempts suicide (or almost does) but Alex saves her then dies himself and now she has to save herself. Traditionally, your query should have about two to three paragraphs for plot. Try and write it with that in mind.

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