Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How NOT to Write a Query 2

I'm still busy trying to fix my own query, so, until I get tired of it, I'm going to continue this feature. Mostly because it was fun last time. :)

Here's how the game is played: I take an excellent book blurb for a book I love that has demonstrably good sales (so it WORKS), and I see how badly I can screw it up. Sort of reverse-engineering it back to the drivel that it might have started out as, if the author had been a noob like me.

Today's book is in honor of my next Authors' Advisory guest: Jessica Day George. (She'll be talking about Retelling Fairy Tales, if you wanna come join us. Wednesday night. 8:45 EST. Just saying.) I love soo many of her books, but her newest is my favorite. Here's the real blurb:
Tuesdays at Castle Glower are Princess Celie's favorite days. That's because on Tuesdays the castle adds a new room, a turret, or sometimes even an entire wing. No one ever knows what the castle will do next, and no one-other than Celie, that is-takes the time to map out the new additions. But when King and Queen Glower are ambushed and their fate is unknown, it's up to Celie, with her secret knowledge of the castle's never-ending twists and turns, to protect their home and save their kingdom. This delightful book from a fan- and bookseller-favorite kicks off a brand-new series sure to become a modern classic.
Sounds awesome, yes? It is. Magic castles rock.

So, this is how it could all have gone terribly wrong (again--don't do this with your own query):
Celie's brother is training to be the next king--and the castle she lives in likes him enough to move his rooms right next to the throne room. Her sister is regal and efficient, just like their mother, the queen. The castle likes her, too, and gives her lavish rooms to live in. But the castle likes Celie the best. It gives her ramps to slide down and turrets to hide in. All of which comes in handy when Celie's parents go to pick up her oldest brother from wizard school and don't make it home. As the Counsel moves to set up a regency and control the royal children and as foreign powers close in, the castle will have to help Celie protect her siblings and keep her country safe... until her parents come home.
Can you help me spot the flaws? Leave them in the comments: What did I do wrong, here?

In other news, it seems I'm not completely useless when I'm not writing a query, since my first page is a semi-finalist in Brenda Drake's Can We Guess Your Character's Age blogfest/contest! Yay!


  1. Jessica's book sounds awesome! And I love the cover.

    I didn't get a real sense of what the conflict was in your query. And there was too much backstory and world building.

  2. I agree with Angela, too much backstory, and I didn't get a sense of conflict at all. Nothing that made me want to read it like the real blurb did.

  3. Hard to believe these are even from the same book.

  4. i like the castle as the protector!
    but there doesnt seem to be a point?
    thx for the exercise =)

  5. Just ordered this book as a Christmas present for my daughter and looking forward to reading it myself - hope to tune in tonight!

    Congratulations Robin!