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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Query Critique - THE RISE AND FALL OF A HALLWAY SUPERHERO

Original - 

THE RISE AND FALL OF A HALLWAY SUPERHERO is a middle-grade contemporary adventure of 50,000 words, falling somewhere along the lines of a combination of BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES and THE BIG SPLASH by Jack Ferraiolo. This is the nicely personalized reason I'm submitting this project to you.

Fifth-grade comic geek Jack McLellan is the new kid at a school infested with (almost super) villainous thugs, most notably a perilous giant and a bone-chewing maniac. For fear of being attacked, students don’t dare stay out after the bell, the principal cowers in his office, and even the teachers travel in packs. Without the guts or muscle to fight back, Jack’s next two years seem destined for misery, until Super Tough, a masked student with a tendency to appear at just the right time to protect his innocent classmates, saves Jack from a sure beating. The encounter awakens something in Jack, and when he stumbles into a bully’s warpath, Jack steals a play from his favorite comic book and tricks the bully into admitting defeat. The next day, he’s rewarded with a note in his locker from none other than Super Tough, asking for a meeting.

After Jack uses brains over brawn to conquer a series of tests against some of the school’s worst bullies, Super Tough presents him with an opportunity: he’ll be moving on to middle school next year, and he’d like Jack to take over his hallway superhero operation. Jack eagerly accepts, but when he begins to suspect that the bully attacks are more organized than they appear, he digs deeper, and learns that his new-kid status may be blinding him to questions of who is worth protecting, and who has more to hide than they’re letting on.

I am a member of SCBWI. 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.


My Crit - 

THE RISE AND FALL OF A HALLWAY SUPERHERO is a middle-grade contemporary adventure of 50,000 words, falling somewhere along the lines of a combination of BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES and THE BIG SPLASH by Jack Ferraiolo. This is the nicely personalized reason I'm submitting this project to you. *this is my slightly shocked face*

Fifth-grade comic geek Jack McLellan is the new kid at a school infested with (almost super) villainous thugs, most notably a perilous giant and a bone-chewing maniac. For fear of being attacked, attack, students don’t dare stay out of what? after the bell, the principal cowers in his office, and even the teachers travel in packs. This needs cut up for drama and easier reading. Without the guts or muscle to fight back, Jack’s next two years seem destined for misery, until Super Tough, a masked student with a tendency to appear at just the right time to protect his innocent classmates, saves Jack from a sure beating. The encounter awakens something you mean courage? Guts? A sense of right and wrong? in Jack, and when he stumbles into a bully’s warpath, Jack steals a play from his favorite comic book and he tricks the bully into admitting defeat. The next day, he’s rewarded with a note appears in his locker from none other than Super Tough, delete comma asking for a meeting.

After Jack uses his brains over brawn to conquer a series of tests against some of the school’s worst bullies, Super Tough presents him with an opportunity: he’ll be moving on to middle school next year, and he’d like Jack to take over his hallway superhero operation. Jack eagerly accepts, but when he begins to suspects that the bully attacks are more organized than they appear, he digs deeper, and learns that his new-kid status may be blinding him to questions of who is worth protecting, and who has more to hide than they’re letting on. Looonnnggg last sentence. Break it up.

I am a member of SCBWI. 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.

At 242 words in the meat section, this is pretty long for a query. I would find words to cut. I am a big fan of short sentences interspersed with long. Also, I am a fangirl of one-word fragments.

But the premise is amazing! You have an excellent bio and a platform that is sure to impress any agent or editor.

I think if you read this again and look at ways to cut the fat, this query will find multiple takers. Good job!

Anyone want to chime in? Crits are welcome.

4 comments:

Patchi said...

This query seems pretty strong to me. I love the premise and the "things are not as they appear" twist at the end. Huntress has great suggestions for trimming the fat. Good luck!

Jessica Lawson said...

Just popping in to say that this sounds like a super fun story!

Davy said...

Thanks guys! I agree, there was definitely some fat to chop there, I'd just read the dang thing too many times to see it -- I'll get all of that taken care of right away. Thanks! Keep up the awesome work!

Amy Butcher said...

I like the cuts, but I do think that taking out the (almost super) makes for some odd logic when it comes to the descriptions of the bullies, because "villainous" doesn't really conjure up images of "giant" or "bone-chewing" in my opinion. Maybe "super-powered thugs" or "super villains"?

Great exercise!