There are two components to this contest. The one that interests me the most is the part where people send in queries to be judged by Nathan Bransford's readers, as if they were actual agents. I know not all queries will be selected, but what the heck, let's give it a shot, so I'm going to send in a query for my unfinished YA Urban Fantasy, "Knights of Avalon."
Except here's the catch: I'm going to have to write the query first. From the ground up. My Surviving Matewan query I posted a while back? I had worked on and revised that for months before anyone ever got to see it. But I think it'll be an interesting exercise to show you my thought process as I put a new query together.
Before I start writing a query, the first question I ask myself is: What should I put in it? I love to bake and to me, this is like putting together a list of ingredients. And yes, it's very easy to forget ingredients, because as writers we're so close to our own work that we sometimes assume readers know something that they don't.
For Knights of Avalon , here's the basic premise: Knights of the Round Table reincarnated as New Jersey teens. To find out who is killing them one by one and save the future, they'll have to join together and discover their pasts.
Here are my basic ingredients for the query. I'll update this list if I think of anything else:
- Story inspired by the legends of King Arthur and Camelot
- The title (you think it's obvious but people apparently have forgotten)
- No credentials will be included, because I really don't have any. Except that I love to write, my beagle thinks I'm brilliant and that I make the best pralines ever! But I don't think any of that's relevant here, so I'll leave it out. But seriously, my pralines are really yummy
- Set in Avalon, New Jersey
- In the plot summary, mention that Guinevere/Gwen has been kidnapped and it's this event that spurs her best friend Arthur/Justine to action and ultimately draws the knights together
- Mention the murder of New Jersey teens, all of them brilliant and heroic in some way
- Should I include quick one sentence descriptions of some of the individual knights? Will have to think on it. For example, for Dinadan, "a self-professed drama nerd whose only fighting experience is in West Side Story but finds herself able to take down a champion blackbelt with ease."