Monday, May 20, 2013

Query help!

I'm trying to throw together a halfway decent query for STUMPED, and am finding it difficult.  And since my lovely blog readers were so helpful when I was writing my query for Sidewalks, I thought I'd give you all a shot at ripping this new one to shreds.

So have at it!  I'm struggling to get Ozzy's voice in there.  He's a very funny guy, even if his story doesn't sound humorous.  And some of the situations he gets himself into are hilarious, even if they are kind of tragic at the same time.

Dear Agent of my Dreams,

XXXX (reason for choosing agent) so I thought you might be interested in STUMPED, a 75 000 word contemporary YA novel.

Sixteen-year-old Ozzy Hellier has a shelf groaning with swimming trophies, his brother’s car, good friends and a super-hot girlfriend who’s ready to take their relationship to the next level.  Tonight. At the lake. 

But a missing condom scuttles his elaborate plans for seduction.  Furious with himself, Ozzy drops his girlfriend home and drives off - into the path of an oncoming truck.  He wakes up in the hospital, both legs amputated above the knees.

It’s hard enough to come to terms with everything he’s lost, but when his girlfriend finally comes to visit and runs out of his hospital room gagging after one look at him, Ozzy knows he’s a hideous freak. He becomes convinced he blew his only chance at losing his virginity and sex takes on such a mythic quality he’s sure it’s the only thing that will make him whole again.

Determined to prove he can still be a man despite his disability, Ozzy throws himself into dumping the burden of his virginity, but finds there’s a limited number of women willing to touch legless dudes in wheelchairs. He tries his luck with a fellow amputee in his support group, but with only one leg between them, the physical challenge leads to the first of many humiliating failures.  Another goes viral on the internet. With every misadventure, it becomes increasingly obvious that if Ozzy is going to do it, he’ll have to pay for the privilege.

Ozzy’s obsession takes him into the seedy underworld of brothels and escort services where he learns that sex and intimacy are not the same thing, and that sometimes the price you pay for getting what you want is much higher than a sex worker’s fee.

I was inspired to write this book after meeting an Australian sex worker whose advocacy for the disabled is extraordinary.

My short stories have appeared in Halfway Down The Stairs, A Fly in Amber, Daily Flash Anthology, The Barrier Islands Review, Death Rattle, Drastic Measures, Rapunzel’s Daughters and Cutlass and Musket – Tales of Piratical Skulllduggery among others.
Per your submission guidelines, you will find XXX below.  Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you soon.



Thanking you in advance for your help.... Happy to return the favor whenever you need it.

1 comment:

  1. First story paragraph - I'd rearrange it a little. Right now it sounds like the shelf contains all those other things.

    As for the rest of it, the query has a dark comedy kind of tone to it, and I know that's appropriate to Ozzy's voice. You've done a great job focusing on the conflict

    The one suggestion I have is it feels like it needs to be trimmed a bit. I like mention of the mishaps, but it tells us more than once that he's obsessed with losing his virginity, and more than once that he's decided he needs to pay for it in order to get it.

    The consequences spelled out in the query letter (all the mishaps) almost feel stronger than the concluding consequences. You may have tipped your hand just a little too much in this one.

    Those are my initial thoughts. It's still a great query though. Definitely conveys the story well.