Mustache Query

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ddegreeff
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Mustache Query

Post by ddegreeff » May 6th, 2010, 8:21 pm

Okay, one more attempt, complete with minor tweaks, in case anyone out there still cares:


If not for the handicap of being only twelve years old, Brock Rockster
would be the man’s man to end all men’s men. Brock is daring. He’s
quick-witted. He’s adored by the media. He’s a prodigious world
champion mustache grower. And until this afternoon, when he falsely
accused a popular politician of burglary and failed to successfully
solve a case for the first time in his career, he had been the world’s
greatest child investigator to the rich and famous. Now his only
chance of career redemption lies in solving the most difficult mystery
he’s ever encountered.

Brock is called to the home of celebrity socialite Madame Poogery,
whose cat/best friend, Ms. Poofytail, has been catnapped in the dead
of night. Brock arrives as soon as possible, hoping to solve the case
before his earlier failure can make the evening news. But Brock has
taken on more than he bargained for, and finds that he must also fend
off Jonny Dapper, his most devious rival, and find a way to keep
Lydia, a dorky school newspaper reporter documenting his
investigation, from taking the case over.

And as the mystery thickens, the list of suspects grows: was Ms.
Poofytail kidnapped by her poet monkey boyfriend? The butler clad in a
clown suit? The stalker leaving threatening messages in the mailbox?
Or did she simply become a victim of one of the infamous mansion’s
many booby traps? Brock only has two hours to find out, or his
reputation may not be the only thing buried six feet underground come
morning. GONE, KITTY, GONE: A BROCK ROCKSTER MYSTERY is a middle-grade
comedy complete at 38,800 words, and is best enjoyed by readers who
live for intrigue, trap doors, boogery sneezes, redemption, and of
course, being the absolute best.
Last edited by ddegreeff on May 10th, 2010, 8:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Mustache Query

Post by rainbowsheeps » May 6th, 2010, 9:26 pm

ddegreeff wrote:Gimme a hand with this, ya'll, I'd really appreciate it.


Dear Ms. Agentpants:

Brock Rockster is an unremarkable twelve-year-old boy the same way Don Rickles is a wet blanket at parties. (This isn't a bad opener. I'm not sure it's the best one you can think of, though. I know Don Rickles, and I bet most agents will, too. It's not that. It's just the structure, "is an unremarkable boy the same way..." seems needlessly wordy and convoluted, I suppose. It's the opening, so I'd prefer something more concise to get onto the details.) Brock is daring. He is quick-witted. He is adored by the media. He is a world champion mustache grower. (Nitpicking: I'd probably use contractions for these after "is daring." It would flow better. But anyway, I like this a lot. Childhood extraordinaire.) And until he failed this morning to successfully solve a case for the first time in his career, he had been the world’s greatest child investigator to the rich and famous. Now, with everything he has ever worked for on the verge of being stripped away, his only hope for saving his reputation lies with solving the most difficult case he’s ever encountered. (This one's weighted down a little bit. Maybe try: Now he might lose everything he ever worked for. His only hope for saving his reputation is to solve the most difficult case he's ever encountered." Nitpicks, though.) GONE, KITTY, GONE: A BROCK ROCKSTER MYSTERY (Firstly, I love Gone Baby Gone. Secondly, the character's name really does roll off the tongue smoothly.) is a middle-grade comedy complete at 38,500 words, and is best enjoyed by readers who live for intrigue, traps doors, devious archrivals, boogery sneezes, redemption, and of course, being the absolute best. (I would probably advise cutting this down a little bit. "Devious archivals," for instance, is clunky. The voice is good here, but I don't think you need it, either.)

When celebrity socialite Madame Poogery’s cat/best friend goes missing in the dead of night, she immediately calls for her favorite no-nonsense, responsible detective: Jonny Dapper. But when she’s told that guy can’t make it due to a scheduling conflict, she calls for Brock Rockster. (Good voice, but it clashes a little bit with the fact you introduce Brock in the beginning as the "world's greatest child investigator to the rich and famous." Either she's going after that guy because he's good looking (Dapper?), or you're hinting at the fact Brock's reputation was recently dirtied. If it's the latter, it definitely needs to be clarified. Ifff it was just a "voice thing", I'd say cut that part.) With his career on the line, Brock must fight past (off?) the advances of a nosy tag-along school news reporter and the side-swiping efforts of his most hated rival (I would clarify this part more too. Perhaps give the character a name or something) as he searches for clues amongst the hidden dangers of a creepy funhouse mansion (creepy funhouse mansion... that's a few ideas clashing together for me. Particularly "creepy" with "fun house." Is there a better way to describe it?). Was Ms. Poofytail kidnapped by her poet monkey boyfriend? (Are the animals really dating and writing poetry in the book? Even though this story isn't particularly realistic, it still strikes me as surprising) The clown costume-wearing butler? ("clown costume-wearing butler" could probably be reworded. Even "Butler in a clown suit" sounds better to me.) The stalker leaving mysterious messages in the mailbox? Or did she simply make a run for it, hoping to find a little peace away from the bright glare of fame? Brock only has two hours to find out, or his reputation may not be the only thing buried six feet underground come morning. (The last line needs clarifying. His reputation isn't the only thing at stake. What else is? Who else might die? Him? If so, you should probably set up that particular danger more clearly somewhere.)

My publishing credits include the TOMMY BOMANI: TEEN WARRIOR series from Magic Wagon, which is the MG arm of the ABDO Publishing Company, and short pieces published in Skive Magazine and on YankeePotRoast.com. Reason for picking this agent. Please email me at *** if you’d like to request a full manuscript, or if you’d just like to chat. I know battling your way through the slush all day can be lonely.
The voice is there, which counts for a lot. I think it could benefit from some tweaks and a little bit of restructuring. The character seems likable. I'd say almost all of the "big" important stuff is covered. You might just need to fret the little things. Some spots could use more clarity. Others, the sentences could probably be restructured for maximum impact. But I'd say it's pretty good already.

Excellent work.

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ddegreeff
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Re: Mustache Query

Post by ddegreeff » May 7th, 2010, 8:58 am

Wow, that's a fantastic amount of help, I really appreciate it. Anyone else have something to add?
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Re: Mustache Query

Post by JMB » May 7th, 2010, 11:03 am

Loved the title and can see that the story has real potential. I think the query can be clearer and do more to bring out the personality of your Main Character.

A few thoughts for you to consider. The opening line should be humorous but the comparison you chose doesn't quite work. The Don Rickles/wet blanket reference is too dated.

I was confused by the mustache growing reference with respect to a 12 yr old. Is that even possible? If so, it must be funny so explain it in the query.

I agree with rainbowsheeps' other comments, particularly that the first part of paragraph 2 is confusing. If Brock is world-famous, why is Madame P calling on Jonny Dapper? Is this it maybe . . .

"Having botched his latest case, Brock is off the investigators' A-list so when Madame P loses her favorite cat, Ms. Poofytail, she turns to Johnny Dapper. Luckily, Dapper can't take the case due to a scheduling conflict so Madame P is forced to turn to the down but not quite-out-yet Brock. This is just the break Brock needs. If he can find Madame P's pet, he'll pull his reputation out of the crapper and get his business back in the black."

Good luck. Hope this helps you make your query as entertaining as I am sure the book must be.

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ddegreeff
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Re: Mustache Query

Post by ddegreeff » May 7th, 2010, 9:30 pm

Okay okay okay, I really appreciate all the help so far, here's my next crack at it:


If Brock Rockster wasn’t just a twelve-year-old two-type prodigy, he’d be the man’s man to end all men’s men. Brock is daring. He’s strong. He’s quick-witted. He’s adored by the media. He’s a world champion mustache grower. And until he failed this morning to successfully solve a case for the first time in his career, he had been the world’s greatest child investigator to the rich and famous. On the verge of losing everything he’s ever worked for, his only hope lies in solving the most difficult case he’s ever encountered. GONE, KITTY, GONE: A BROCK ROCKSTER MYSTERY is a middle-grade comedy complete at 38,500 words, and is best enjoyed by readers who live for intrigue, traps doors, boogery sneezes, redemption, and of course, being the absolute best.

When celebrity socialite Madame Poogery’s cat/best friend is catnapped in the dead of night, Brock recognizes his chance for atonement, and arrives as soon as he can. With his career on the line, Brock must fend off Jonny Dapper, his most dangerous rival, and find a way to keep Lydia, the school newspaper reporter documenting his investigation, from taking over his case. Was Ms. Poofytail kidnapped by her poet monkey boyfriend? The butler clad in a clown suit? The stalker leaving threatening messages in the mailbox? Or did she simply become a victim of one of the infamous mansion’s many booby traps? Brock only has two hours to find out, or his reputation may not be the only thing buried six feet underground come morning.

My publishing credits include the TOMMY BOMANI: TEEN WARRIOR series from Magic Wagon, which is the MG arm of the ABDO Publishing Company, and short pieces published in Skive Magazine and on YankeePotRoast.com. Reason for picking this agent. Please email me at *** if you’d like to request a full manuscript, or if you’d just like to chat. I know battling your way through the slush all day can be lonely.
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Re: Mustache Query

Post by Quill » May 7th, 2010, 10:04 pm

ddegreeff wrote:If Brock Rockster wasn’t just a twelve-year-old two-type prodigy, he’d be the man’s man to end all men’s men.Brock is daring. He’s strong. He’s quick-witted. He’s adored by the media. He’s a world champion mustache grower.

Questions:

1. What is a "two-type prodigy"?

2. What is a "man’s man"? A personal valet?

3. Can a twelve-year-old grow a world class mustache? If so, how?

I don't think these are the kind of questions you want your potential agent to get stuck on right from the get go, but then again, maybe I'm not as hip as the average agent.
And until he failed this morning to successfully solve a case for the first time in his career, he had been the world’s greatest child investigator to the rich and famous. On the verge of losing everything he’s ever worked for, his only hope lies in solving the most difficult case he’s ever encountered.
How many superlatives does it take to mitigate their effect?

1. world's greatest child investigator

2. On the verge of losing everything he's ever worked for

3. The most difficult case he's ever encountered

And previous:

4. man's man to end all men's men

5. world champion mustache grower

And to come:

6. being the absolute best

GONE, KITTY, GONE: A BROCK ROCKSTER MYSTERY is a middle-grade comedy complete at 38,500 words, and is best enjoyed by readers who live for intrigue, traps doors, boogery sneezes, redemption, and of course, being the absolute best.
Shouldn't this go at the END? And, typo on "traps".
When celebrity socialite Madame Poogery’s cat/best friend is catnapped in the dead of night, Brock recognizes his chance for atonement, and arrives as soon as he can.
Ah, this is the beginning of the story. Previous was all backstory.
With his career on the line, Brock must fend off Jonny Dapper, his most dangerous rival, and find a way to keep Lydia, the school newspaper reporter documenting his investigation, from taking over his case. Was Ms. Poofytail kidnapped by her poet monkey boyfriend? The butler clad in a clown suit? The stalker leaving threatening messages in the mailbox? Or did she simply become a victim of one of the infamous mansion’s many booby traps? Brock only has two hours to find out, or his reputation may not be the only thing buried six feet underground come morning.
Sounds like fun.

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Re: Mustache Query

Post by ddegreeff » May 8th, 2010, 12:07 am

Thanks for the help. And while I imagine most people are familiar with the term, here's a nice Urban Dictionary definition:
Who is the Man's Man? He's the real class act. He always shaves and wears clothes that fit. He's worldly, educated, and a gentleman. He thinks that buttoned shirts are not just for special occasions and that newspapers have more than one section. While he is polite, he is not a pushover. He will swear when he needs to, but will try to control his temper. He can handle his liquor and keeps himself in shape. Most importantly, he will admit his faults and errors, because that is what real men do. He don't have to be gay or straight, black or white, Republic or Democrat, Athiest or Evangelical; he just does what ever he thinks makes himself a good person that he can be proud of. For these reasons, women want him and men want to be him.
Cary Grant, Gregory Peck, Denzel Washington are all examples of a Man's Man.
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Re: Mustache Query

Post by HillaryJ » May 8th, 2010, 12:40 am

ddegreeff wrote:Okay okay okay, I really appreciate all the help so far, here's my next crack at it:


If Brock Rockster wasn’t twelve years old, he’d be the man’s man to end all men’s men. Brock is daring, strong and quick-witted.*cut* He’s a world champion mustache grower. And until he failed this morning to *cut: if he solves it, it's a success, no?* solve a case for the first time in his career, he had been the world’s greatest child investigator *cut: just to get us to the heart of the story a bit quicker*. On the verge of losing everything he’s ever worked for *Perhaps: hoping to refurbish his tarnished reputation or something more specific? to show what's at stake for him, personally?*, he must now embark on the most difficult case he’s ever encountered. GONE, KITTY, GONE: A BROCK ROCKSTER MYSTERY is a middle-grade comedy complete at 38,500 words, and is best enjoyed by readers who live for intrigue, traps doors, boogery sneezes, redemption, and of course, being the absolute best.

When celebrity socialite Madame Poogery’s cat/best friend is catnapped in the dead of night, Brock recognizes his chance for atonement *cut: just not necessary*. With his career on the line, Brock must fend off Jonny Dapper, his most dangerous rival, and find a way to keep Lydia, the school newspaper reporter documenting his investigation, from taking over his case. Was Ms. Poofytail kidnapped by her poet monkey boyfriend? The butler clad in a clown suit? The stalker leaving threatening messages in the mailbox? Or did she simply become a victim of one of the infamous mansion’s many booby traps? Brock only has two hours to find out, or his reputation may not be the only thing buried six feet underground come morning.

My publishing credits include the TOMMY BOMANI: TEEN WARRIOR series from Magic Wagon, which is the MG arm of the ABDO Publishing Company, and short pieces published in Skive Magazine and on YankeePotRoast.com. Reason for picking this agent. Please email me at *** if you’d like to request a full manuscript, or if you’d just like to chat. I know battling your way through the slush all day can be lonely.
The first time I looked at your query, I couldn't comment because I was laughing so hard - that's a compliment. The revision makes it better. The voice and energy are excellent. However, with so many creative twists on sayings and descriptors, it's just a tad too much, especially in the first paragraph. The exposition on the character, before you get to the story, is clever but too lengthy for saying too little about Mr. Rockster, CI.

I think the introduction of the title/genre/word count should be moved to the end of the second paragraph. Other than the minor slice, I have no suggestions for improvements on the second paragraph.

Thank you for the Urban Dictionary definition. I actually lol'd, so now I can type it honestly. LOL.

Best of freaking luck! I want to read this, and I am not a middle-grade boy, nor do I enjoy buggery sneezes.
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Re: Mustache Query

Post by JMB » May 8th, 2010, 3:27 am

Agreed. Attempt number two is much better. If you incorporate a combo of Quill and Hillary's suggestions, you'll be there.

Also enjoyed the Urban Dictionary definition of Man's Man, but like the other readers, needed to see the term defined. Maybe you want to give a one sentence definition of the term in your query in lieu of the rest of the superlatives about Brock.

Any chance you will explain the mustache-growing 12-year-old line?

I think you could use an adjective or two to describe Mr. Dapper and Lydia, say debonair and snoopy, respectively (although Dapper's name gives us a hint at his personality, as does Lydia's job as a reporter).

I would use the cat's name when you first mention it. I actually got confused by the Ms. Poofytail reference at the end, although as I write this I see it should be obvious from the name that you are referring to the cat. I thought you were talking about the pet owner. That happens a lot in a quick read, when both names begin with the same letter.

Quite entertaining.

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