STATUS: Today I took a reading day at home and voila, queries done.
What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? BENT by Matchbox Twenty
I actually didn't time it but it sounded catchy. Not to mention I can't type up everything I saw.
I asked for sample pages:
1) a YA cyberpunk novel set in India
2) a coming of age literary novel
3) and 2 wildly different YA novels that were both inspired by The Scarlet Pimpernel (the latest trend?)
4) A YA novel set in a zoo
5) an SF novel with a very cool premise
I passed on:
1) a literary novel about a disillusioned man in his 40s as there didn't seem to be a clear plot. (You need plot to make it commercially driven.)
2) a multicultural middle grade novel (which I always like to see!) but had a plot where four characters inexplicably find themselves in another world. Actually there were several MG novels with portals. This only works if the portals actually mean something to the story. They aren't solely a door to another world. In other words, it can't just be a vehicle that starts the novel--not original enough.
3) a mystery that was based on someone's life (by the way, I tend to pass on queries that highlight the "based on my life" fact. I'm just suspicious that the author could really fictionalize it. It's fine to have a story based off of a real occurrence or series of events. No need to highlight that in your query letter. Let your writing speak for itself.)
4) A dystopian YA or SF that actually sounded more like an adult novel than anything YA. It also had "memory" as a key component and we've actually seen a lot of that lately.
5) Several romances under 50,000 words (which is category length and not something we'd really represent).
6) A novel that had a lot of mysticism at the core of the story. Not really my thing.
7) Several YA novels that begin or hinge around a brutal murder. Hum… a bit dark for me.