Query Critique #2
- By: Jessica Faust | Date: May 17 2007
In most books, the lovable loser magically becomes a superstar everyone admires—in a span of mere pages. Voza has to work her hardest just to be average.
So I assume Voza is already the superstar? There is no transition here. You say “in most books,” which leads me to believe this is not most books, so I don’t get how Voza fits in.
Voza loves singing more than anything else, but everyone knows she has the worst pipsqueak voice of the entire fifth grade chorus. The choral auditions this year are especially tough: they’re going to perform for the President of the United States, so Ms. Hohum, the teacher, must be picky.
This paragraph sounds incomplete. If she’s already in the chorus why do they need to audition, and are the auditions performed in front of the president?
Voza’s enthusiasm is contagious so Ms. Hohum keeps her in the chorus as the made-up Rest Leader. Voza practices the silences and all of the notes in between with a zeal only found in someone who will never be great. Moments before the big performance, Voza is the only one backstage, due to an unfortunate ice cream mishap. Her choices in this tough situation are inspiring for readers at every skill level.
Since you are writing a picture book, known for being short, there’s certainly no reason why you need two paragraphs to explain this book.
My biggest concern is that after two paragraphs I have no idea what this book is about. Is it about Voza’s audition? Or her choices? If it’s about her choices I need one paragraph that gets to the heart of the story. What is the tough situation and how will it inspire readers?
I’ve enclosed a copy of the manuscript VOZA SINGS, a well-paced picture book for mid-elementary grades. I’ve been writing professionally for several years and am a SCBWI member. This is my first work of fiction.
Look for the next query critique on Monday.