3rd SR Crapometer #47

Dear Miss Snark,

I recently heard about Snark Agency through my online writing and critique group, as well as the Agent Query website. I wanted to submit to you a query letter for the young adult novel I have written. (ditch this like a bad date)

(start here)
A couple of weeks before her junior prom, Gayle Clarkson abruptly decides she would like to attend the event. Unfortunately she doesn’t have a date, a dress, or transportation to get her there.

Little Details, complete at 42,000 words, is a young adult romance novel that follows Gayle on her quest to go to prom using her “Prom Prep” manual. (you've buried this thing abou the manual , and it's your hook) Along the way Gayle learns about love and trust with Ryan, her crush of six years. She learns that friendship isn’t always what it seems when Jeremy, her best friend, attempts to sabotage her budding relationship. She also learns to dispel some of her preconceived notions regarding her young mother, Joanna, who micromanages each and every prom detail.

I currently freelance for several websites on a variety of topics, including kids math, parenting, and women’s issues. I have written four non-fiction books in the puzzle and games category, and they are currently available in most major bookstores. (Miss Snark adores puzzles. If she ever loses heart in her pursuit of Mr.Clooney, she's going for Mr. Shortz).

Thank you for taking the time to consider my work. If you wish to receive any portion of the manuscript or a synopsis please contact me via e-mail, or by phone. (SASE!!!!)


Encl: First Page of Manuscript (yup, this is the way to do that)

Well, we've all seen worse query letters. This one isn't all that enticing but it doesn't totally suck so I'd read pages.


Having long legs isn’t all it’s hyped up to be. I’m known for doing totally klutzy things. Like tripping over a footstool in the bookstore. ARGH.

“May I help you?” A tiny old woman appeared from nowhere to stand stiff in front of me.

I lifted my head from where I lay sprawled on the ground. Five books, previously held in a neat stack across my forearms, now littered the aisle. Several other items seemed jarred out of place.

The woman peered over the top of her turquoise bifocal eyeglasses and down her nose at me. Her brass nametag indicated she worked in the bookstore.

“No, thanks.” My mouth pulled up on the right side in an embarrassed grin. I pushed myself into a sitting position, brushed imaginary dirt off my knees, and began to gather the books now lying at odd angles on the floor.

“You’ve made quite a mess here,” she said with a tsk tsk. “I’ll help put them back, er … what’s your name dear?”

“Gayle.” I reached over and tried to align the books on a shelf.

She leaned in and squinted at the titles. “Oh, wedding books.” Her expression changed from stern disapproval to delight as she squatted down next to me.

“They’re not for me,” I said, thinking that should be obvious. After all, I was only sixteen. “They’re for my mother. She’s getting married. Again.”

“Is this her second marriage?” the clerk asked. She handed me one of the books on the floor.

“Uh, no. But I heard the third time’s a charm.”

I'd read the next pages. If it holds up, I'd read a partial. For YA though, your readers are three years or so younger than your protaganist so I'd be watching to make sure the story is ok for junior high girls (no orange cunts allowed in YA). I'd be watching for an authentic voice too.
(for example, no 16 year old I know ever says "Im only 16").


Anonymous said...

orange what?

i must be reading the wrong crapometer.

Elektra said...

I can empathize with the protag right away, which is lovely. The promise of a slightly crazy mother is also perfect for YA, because at that age, we all think our mothers are slightly crazy. I want to see more!

Virginia Miss said...

This sounds promising. I liked the first paragraph, esp the first line. Also the line about third time's a charm.

I suggest you replace "After all, I was only sixteen" with something less formal, like "Duh."

Why does the bookstore lady ask her name? It seemed a device to give the narrator's name.

Good luck.

lizzie26 said...

Yeah, 16 year olds consider themselves grown up. When asked if the wedding books are for her, it would be more like, "Uh, no, not me this time."

The book does sound interesting.

Sherry Decker said...

Miss Snark said: (for example, no 16 year old I know ever says 'Im only 16").

Heck no - she'd say, "I'll be seventeen in just nine months."

BuffySquirrel said...

If her mother's that managing, wouldn't she have made sure she 'managed' Gayle into intending to go to the prom sooner? Just a thought.

McKoala said...

Third time's a charm - lol! Nice dialogue, but maybe not the name/age thing. We can wait for those.

'jarred out of place'? Funny expression for a book - 'knocked out of place'?

Anonymous said...

Nice! Tight and solid writing. Great hook. Thank God someone got it right. I would want to read more too.

writtenwyrdd said...

Author, this isn't bad, but it's rather stiff. It makes me think you're trying too hard.

An example of overwriting, "My mouth pulled up on the right side with an embarrassed grin."

That is having the narrator tell us stuff, stuff she can't see. You'd be better off having the girl say something like, "I felt my face pull into that stupid grin I get when I'm nervous" or something similar which shows her personality and give her a unique voice.

Catja (green_knight) said...

Minor quibbles and I'm not too certain of the plot, but if I'd picked this off the shelf I'd read on - it flows, it has a sense of humour, and this scene tells us things about the protag without being blaringly obvious. (Ok, apart from the age exposition)

Shani said...

Actually writtenwyrdd, I thought that line was brilliant. I know my grin pulls up more on the left and I'm always conscious of it when around new people. I just can't make it go symmetrical!