It is your first day of training at your job as a time-traveling courier. You will have to transport items and messages through time. Before your first mission, you receive a letter from yourself -- a self two weeks in the future. Your future self tells you bad news: you will fail your first mission. However, the letter is written with the intent to help you succeed; you must learn from your mistakes before they happen. This book is that letter, detailing your every move, and you get to choose your own adventure.
Your mission is to go back to September 2005 and steal a jigsaw puzzle piece (R3C3) from Larry, a five-year-old child. The problem is that along the way, you start to wonder if you are inside a puzzle -- not a jigsaw puzzle, but a sliding block puzzle, because no matter how much you move things in space-time, you can't seem to fill in the gaps.
Sliding block is a 70,000-word work of young adult science fiction. Thank you for your time.
So this is definitely a unique query! I would be really careful about using second person, though. Most agents are going to see it and think it's a gimmick and just move on. If the book is written in second person, try writing the query in third and then mention in the wordcount/genre section that it's written in second person. I don't know exactly which agents will prefer, but it would be worth trying it and sending each one out in a few batches to see which gets the most requests. Just a thought.
I agree with the comment above. So, I'll address the story part, since I'm sure you don't want to hear what might not work again.
A time-traveling courier. Exciting premise.
Now, having a letter from the future stating you will fail. This already twists my mind into a paradox. If you fail your first mission, how can there be a future you?
You get to choose your adventure. Is this meant literally? Is the a choose-your-adventure style book for YA? I've seen them in early reader books and maybe up to age ten.
The ending "you can't fill in the gaps" is too generic to understand the stakes of the story, which seem to be to suceed in a mission you already failed. The ending statement in a query can often hint at the challenge in accomplishing this goal. Assasins? Other time travelers? Evil genius time-jumping bandit? Five-year old is you?
Last Edit: Feb 4, 2017 2:21:49 GMT -5 by aquawrites
I think one of your biggest problem is how its presented. Some agents might think its quirky, but I think most might just find it hard to read. You're probably safer off to write it in third person view. Without a person and personality to connect to, it's hard to care what will happen if this character fail. Also you might want to play with your sentence length too. Right now they're very alike, which makes it sound too even. You have a cool concept here, but underline what's at stake more than just failing the mission. Will someone die? Normally short is good, but here you're giving too little. Also the last paragraph is confusing and doesn't really add anything to the story. I would consider cutting it. Hope that helps!
Thank you all so much for the tips! I will try changing the query to 3rd person.
aquawrites yes, it is a choose-your-own-adventure thing. Your goal is to get to a point where you'll succeed, and you won't need to write a letter at the end. The failure does not result in your death, though. But yes, paradoxes! They're everywhere when you try to write time travel. Trying to overcome those is the hardest part. I'll work on it.