#4 Query Corner: ‘Jeffrey Dean and the Destiny Matrix’

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Morgan’s Query Corner:

Answering Your Query Quandaries

NOTE: If you submit your query to me (morgan.s.hazelwood@gmail.com), and you are selected for inclusion, I will give you a high-level review, in-line feedback, and my own draft of your query. If this is your query, feel free to use or ignore as much of the advice and suggestions as you wish.

[Disclaimer: Any query selected for the page will be posted on this website for perpetuity. I am an amateur with no actual accepted queries and a good number of form rejections. This does not guarantee an agent or even an amazing query, just a new take by someone who’s read The Query Shark archives twice and enjoys playing with queries.]

Overall Impression:

Sounds like a super fun story! Good length query and spot on. But… there is a little too much backstory, even if the novel lingers on his recruitment (even if the query is short). See what you think of my take.


The Original:

[my comments are in blue/italics/brackets]

Dear ———,

I am seeking representation for JEFFREY DEAN AND THE DESTINY MATRIX, my 61,000 word upper middle grade science fiction novel. [I like to combine this with the comps. QueryShark prefers them after the story portion, but it’s up to you. You can always start with this if you want.]

Thirteen-year-old Jeffrey Dean is a self-reliant loner who wants nothing more than to find his birth parents and stop his bloody visions of past events [wait. Is he a street kid or what? how is he this self-reliant at 13?]. Agents from a secret government project offer him exactly that. The choice seems like a no-brainer, but there is a catch – he must become their operative in the fight against an evil [melodramatic, although maybe the right tone for your novel?] organization attempting to manipulate history and rule the world.

When his training is complete, the agency assigns him an urgent mission:[this sounds like where the story starts] preventing a 1938 coup attempt against FDR to install a fascist military dictator. Things take a bad turn before Jeffrey leaves on[?] the mission when saboteurs poison the serum the project uses to send him to the past. Now he must beat the clock to defeat time traveling mercenaries and foil the plot against FDR before the poison kills him. He’ll have to overcome his self-reliance and work with a team if he’s going to prevent fascist control of the timeline, uncover the truth about his parents[what?! There’s a different truth], and save his own life.

JEFFREY DEAN AND THE DESTINY MATRIX is a cross between the television show TIMELESS and Anthony Horowitz’s ALEX RIDER series, with a bit of Pierce Brown’s RED RISING added in. This novel stands alone, but it is intended to be the first of a series[uh oh. this can sound too much like the novel doesn’t have a definitive end].

I have a bachelor’s degree in journalism, and write light science fiction and horror for middle grade and young adult audiences[a little bland? can you add something to give it flavor?]. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

[Q4]


The Revised Query:

Dear ———,

When government agents recruit thirteen-year-old, Jeffrey Dean, he sees it as a way to find his birth parents and stop his bloody visions of his past. Trained as an operative, his job is to prevent a terrorist organization from manipulating history in order to rule the world.

Sent to prevent a 1938 coup attempt against FDR, Jeffrey arrives poisoned by tainted time-travel serum. Jeffrey must defeat time-traveling mercenaries and foil the plot against FDR before the poison kills him. If he can overcome his self-reliance and work with a team, he just might prevent fascist control of the timeline, uncover the truth about his parents, and save his own life.

JEFFREY DEAN AND THE DESTINY MATRIX is a 61,000 word upper-middle grade science fiction novel. My novel is a cross between the television show TIMELESS and Anthony Horowitz’s ALEX RIDER series, with a touch of Pierce Brown’s RED RISING added in. This novel stands alone, but has series potential.

I have a bachelor’s degree in journalism, and write light science fiction and horror for middle grade and young adult audiences. Unlike Jeffrey, I’m stuck traveling forwards through time, one day at a time.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Q4
[email]
[Twitter]
[phone]

Now, not all of my feedback is going to work for the queryist, as they already let me know.

“At first glance, I do see some things in what you’ve done that I like better than what I had in the original. Other parts might need a little massaging.”

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!

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2 thoughts on “#4 Query Corner: ‘Jeffrey Dean and the Destiny Matrix’

  1. Revised query looks great to me! (Lil typo: “Jeffrey’s arrives poisoned by”)
    If I were an agent, I’d ask for (at least!) a synopsis, and the first 50 pages or so. I’m into time travel and speculative fiction in general. Good luck to the author; sounds interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

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