I guess I am really wondering why we must know right off the bat how he got his nickname and that he reads books. I mean, this is your all-important opening.Avalon Ink wrote:
For eleven-year-old James “Smith” Campbell, apart from a failed attempt to run away to the Smithsonian, the only adventure he has experienced is in the many books he reads.
However is a word I would include in a query very carefully, if at all.However,
I would open with this and omit "tiny and", which adds little (pun intended).in the tiny and remote fishing village of Moonstone Bay,
I'm liking your setup a lot. I wonder if trouble-making would be better. At a glance what you have looks like he's having trouble making cousins, as if he's a mad scientist with a cloning program. Hey, could be.where Smith is sent to stay with his trouble making cousins,
This sentence doesn't pop. At the least, I'd take out "is a bit" and "ever". Those type of little qualifiers sap the life out of a sentence.life is a bit more exciting than he could have ever imagined.
Again, I'm liking where you're going with this but not sure about some of your word choices. Not only is "eclectic" and "residents" unspecific, but they are words an eleven-year old probably wouldn't use. Do they really fit the voice of your book? Eclectic how? What residents? Other kids? Their parents? Shopkeepers?Between the eclectic residents,
Keeping up with what, or whom? Sounds like keeping up with the secret passages, which doesn't make sense.secret passages, tall tales, pranks, and ghosts, he will have his hands full just keeping up.
Great! I already like her. And Smith, too.When Smith's new friend, the bold and outgoing Noelle goes missing,
Not coherent, to me. When she goes missing, he knows they are following? There are two jumps here; sounds like as soon as she's missing they are following leads, and the minute they follow he knows they are the wrong leads. Don't a certain number of hours need to go by before a person is officially missing? Doesn't it take time to organize a search?he knows the townfolk are following the wrong leads.
You've also introduced Noelle in the same short sentence. I think some of these four things need to be separated. Uncompress this part of your query somehow for greater clarity and heightened drama.
Also, townsfolk is a bit generic. Simplistic. Are the shopkeepers and old widows combing the woods? Isn't there a police department conducting or at least spearheading the search?
I believe "the stranger seen in town" is passive voice, though not sure what to do about it. At least maybe say "the stranger she and Smith had seen..."Noelle wasn't abducted by the stranger seen in town,
I love this line. It shows Smith's personality in volumes.she's too smart for that.
"Vanished" seems deceptive, like she was taken or magically transported, when it appears later in the sentence that she has merely gone off to look for something. Is that it? She simply wandered off? Do you want to tell us anything more to increase the tension, something about the shape; is it dangerous, ominous, portending a deeper mystery to the story?He believes that she's vanished into the mist-shrouded woods behind Moonstone Bay, searching for a ghostly shape that they had spotted earlier.
How about "embarked" instead of "intent."They are already more than intent, are they not? And, reach for the strongest possible verbs, to punch up the query representing this obviously fine story.With the adults intent on their own hunt for her,
Good. See, that word "rescue" points to more. See if you can reinforce it with something more than "ghostly shape that they had spotted earlier." I have a feeling that the word "shape" may not sell (do justice) to this story. Apparition?his cousins under curfew, and a storm approaching, Smith decides he must brave the forest alone to rescue her.
Again, I think it is unneeded, thus unprofessional, to state that the manuscript you have completed and for which you are querying, is available.THE WHISPERING FERNS: A MOONSTONE BAY MYSTERY is a middle grade novel, complete at 45,000 words, and was inspired by the rich mythology and landscape of the Pacific Northwest. It will appeal to readers who enjoy adventure, intrigue, haunted forests and rain-drenched beaches. The full manuscript is available upon request.
I think it is great that you compare to other books! I still do not know why you consider it a benefit to state that you are a reader.Raised on a healthy diet of John Bellairs, Roald Dahl, the Hardy Boys and Donald J. Sobol, I am an avid reader and freelance artist. (Agent specific stuff)
Again, I do like the atmosphere, characters, and what part of the story you have shared here!