Morgan’s Query Corner:
Answering Your Query Quandaries
You’ve got a cute middle-grade adventure! You’re following query format beautifully. I think this just needs a bit of polish to avoid cliche phrasing and really make your story shine.
[my comments are in blue/italics/brackets]
Dear Ms. Hazelwood,
When 12-year-old Jo and her cousin Andy find a mysterious [cliche!] egg in their favorite hideout – the cave on the bluff near their Wisconsin home [singular? Do they live together?] – Jo’s first instinct is to leave and never go back. The egg is bigger than any she’s ever seen, and so stinky she doesn’t want to be near it. But when she finds [using ‘find’ again] the corpse of the beast that laid the egg, she can’t just walk away. Her own mother left when she was just a toddler, and Jo would never do that to anyone[might be too explain-y?]. So she prepares herself for two things: a serious commitment and a baby dragon.[I think it’s just 1 thing. Serious commitment to a dragon!]
Once the dragon hatches, Jo and Andy help it learn to fly, hunt for its favorite food (pine cones), and speak a few words of English[the dragon can speak!]. But the dragon’s hoarding instinct kicks in and it steals treasure from people in town. Then it eats some of Jo’s chickens, including her favorite hen. When the dragon learns to breathe fire and accidentally burns Jo, Andy insists on sending their dragon away. But Jo doubles down – she will never abandon her dragon even though keeping it risks her friendship with Andy, the safety of her town, and her own life.[a little clunky]
EGG combines the longing and secrecy in THE TIGER RISING with the light-hearted play of PETE’S DRAGON. Set in modern-day rural Wisconsin, EGG is a middle grade contemporary fantasy, complete at 43,000 words.Thank you for your time and consideration.
The Revised Query:
Now, not all of my feedback is going to work for the queryist. They know their story best, but hopefully, it puts them on the right path!
And for the rest of you out there?
Best of luck in the query trenches!