Dear Miss Snark,
Set in modern-day France, LA CACHETTE (The Hiding Place) is a 50,000-word, adventure story for children. err...what kind of children? first grade? eighth grade? adult children of Brie loving mothers?
Nicolas Parlier has a flair for seeing the logic of science in everything. That's probably why he is bait for bullies and his seventh-grade teachers find him exasperating. He would love to runaway (run away is two words. Runaway is a noun) from his problems, sail around the world and maybe, become a legendary adventurer. (yea, me too, let's go)
His dreams may soon come true. His parents have found the perfect sailboat in St. Malo. The port-city where corsairs once roamed is home to Alistair Machant. The ruthless politician is obsessed with a long-lost treasure hidden somewhere on the rugged coast.
Everyone knows getting in Machant's way means trouble. But Nicolas stumbles across a clue, then looks for others as he tries to unravel the mystery. Can his "irksome intelligence" lead him to the greatest treasure on Earth? Will he be able to outsmart Machant, a man who fights dirtier than the cruelest schoolyard bully?
There's no running away this time. With help from his best friend, Alfred, and quirky, kid sister, Nicolas is in a race to La Cachette.
Would you be interested in representing this story? Well I'm interested in reading it, let's start with that.
Thank you for considering this submission.
this is a good query letter. It gives us a glimpse of plot,the hero, the villain AND the conflict.
It's spare enough to make it easy to follow, and descriptive enough to entice me.
Now, let's see if you can write.
The house was quiet except for a noise that did not seem quite right. Alistair Machant dropped his keys in the antique tray by the door and muttered to himself. Wiping imaginary dust off his tailored suit and smoothing a silver strand in his perfectly groomed hair, he took the stairs at a stately pace. THAT NOISE AGAIN. Maybe it was the skittish maid.
As he reached the top step Elsa came out of the room opposite the library. Her starched cap quivered and her wrinkled face paled when she saw him. The teacup and saucer tumbled from her hands onto the polished wood floor.
"You fool! Why work yourself into such a fright because I've come home early?" He started to say more, but the old woman grasped at her heart. Her eyes stretched wide. She was staring at something behind him. Machant turned in time to glimpse a man in the doorway of the library.
"Who the devil?" he yelled. Elsa was too busy gasping and sputtering to answer, so he turned on his heels and followed after the intruder. The thief, SURELY IT WAS A THIEF, ran towards the French doors on the far side of the room. The man tossed aside the silken curtains, gave a quick twist to the brass handles, then leaped over the terrace. Machant crossed the library in time to see the stranger sprinting for the woods.
"Elsa, who the devil was that?" he shouted, irritated that the scoundrel had bested him. "What is going on here? Elsa, come here this instant!"
The old woman did not appear.
Machant bristled. He was not used to being ignored so he stormed back into the hallway.
"Elsa, you had better start explaining...." Looking down at the parquet floor, Machant studied the maid's crumpled form. He decided she looked like a discarded tissue. "You've already made enough of a mess. Get up from there," he ordered in disgust.
She didn't move. So he gave her arm a nudge with the polished toe of his shoe. Nothing. He sneered at her for being so useless then stomped back into the library.
When Machant spied the ladder propped against a bookcase he realized with a snap of clarity what had caused the noise. At least one mystery was solved.
He climbed a few rungs. At first, nothing seemed out of place. Then he thought he could see an empty space on the highest shelf where the oldest books were kept. Carefully he made his way up to get a better look. Yes, he was certain there was one missing. Next to the gap were the journals of his long-dead relative, Napoleon's trusted officer, ADMIRAL Gerard Machant. The books were still in perfect order, but the last one was gone.
WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT THAT DUSTY THING? HOW RIDICULOUS. Machant pushed his finger against the tip of his considerable nose as he tried to remember if the diary had mentioned anything valuable. There were only scribbles about the old admiral's life after the navy: managing business affairs, tinkering with experiments, visiting friends, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. No, he didn't recall there being anything even vaguely interesting ...except for the final entry. Nearly tumbling from the ladder, Machant realized that could be it.
oh yes, yes yes. Did I mention yes?
I like this a lot even though it needs a bit more polishing up.
I'd read on. I'd ask for a partial.
I love love love the dead maid pushed aside with a sneer. It illustrates this guy's character without a single bit of description.