Monday, April 12, 2010

Entry 23

Genre: YA

He’s going to call on me, I think. He’s going to call on me and I’ll
probably puke.

Writing is a means of self-expression. It can also uncover the truth
about events and people. Writing is a means of self-discovery,
catharsis and re-invention. These are some of the discoveries made by
Kiersten Stoltz, the eighteen-year-old protagonist of my 71000 word
Young Adult novel, Assignment 9.

Kiersten was thrilled to have been accepted into a prestigious
creative writing class, but as the second semester begins, she is
struggling. The class has been given an assignment to write something
autobiographical, with the proviso that the event has to have been
meaningful and life changing. Unable to even start
writing, she accepts an invitation from Mark, a classmate she knows
little about, and discovers that Mark is having difficulty with his
own piece.

As their relationship develops, Kiersten and Mark learn that their
childhoods were similar, and they are both still reconciling old
hurts, fears and obsessions. Through writing their “Assignment 9”,
both Kiersten and Mark discover things about themselves and their
families that will change their lives forever. But is their
relationship strong enough to withstand the often-devastating

My short stories have appeared in HER Magazine, Viola Beadleton’s
Compendium, All Things Girl, Halfway Down The Stairs and Residential
Aliens. My play, All In A Day’s Work, was produced by the Victoria
University Drama Club and another, It Was In The Paper, was
workshopped as part of the AGC Young Playwrights’ Festival.

Thank you for your time and attention. I look forward to hearing from you soon.


  1. my only concern is that I don't think that "YA" is a genre.I think YA fantasy, YA horror, YA literary etc. but just YA?

  2. I'm not sure about the way you start the query. It's frowned upon to start with an out of context quote from the character's point of view. I think you could scrap the "writing is a means of self-expression" paragraph because at that point the reader doesn't know what the story is about yet. You want to start the query where the story starts, i.e., Kiersten starting the creative writing class.

    Hope that helped!

  3. I'd start this query at the third paragraph. The first is a nice example of voice, but it's a character quote, which I believe is generally frowned on.

    The second is too preachy until you get to the nitty gritty about your story. You can open with just those details: I am seeking representation for my Young Adult novel, Assignment 9 (71,000 words).

    Then hit us with the hook. This sounds like a solid contemporary piece and it should have a query that does it justice.

    Good luck!

  4. Jamie Weiss ChiltonMay 7, 2010 at 5:00 PM

    I'm seeing some inconsistencies in Kiersten, beginning with the first sentence. An eighteen-year-old must be able to handle being called on in class, right?

    I think you can cut your second paragraph and work in the relevant details into what is now paragraph 3.

    The voice in this query is an adult voice -- an adult telling a story about teenagers. I'd like to get a stronger sense of Kiersten's voice here.

    I can see in this query that Kiersten and Mark develop a strong relationship, and reveal a lot to each other. Can you give a detail or two? It will help the reader connect with your characters.

    Nice job.


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