Friday, July 22, 2011

GUTGAA Query Winner! + Final week around the corner





What a whirlwind of a week! I can't tell you how much I've learned from all the participants in this weeks festivities. Seriously, I loath writing queries and being able to read so many good ones really gives me hope.
I have said it before and I will say it again, I truly wanted to pass everyone through. I have grown to love my blogfesters and it killed me to have to only give ten names to Lora...well fourteen and she picked the last one.

Anyhoo, that isn't what you really came here for so let's get on with it shall we. Lora has whittled the ten finalists down to one and the WINNER IS.....

LISA CHICKOS
Query for The Mermaid Gene

For a refresher on her query:

Dear Agent:
An arctic mermaid is the last thing seventeen year-old Kai Murphy expects to glimpse when she joins a beluga whale research team in Alaska.
An aspiring scientist, Kai dismisses Anchorage’s mermaid myths until the late-night sighting of a silvery, speckled tail threatens her convictions. Teamed up with flirtatious twin deckhands Noah and Aidan Fischer, she decides to investigate.
Turns out a mermaid sighting isn’t her research team’s only mystery. There are also secret closets filled with hunting rifles, blood-filled plastic bins and shadowy beluga poachers haunting the inlet’s icy waters.
As Kai searches for answers and begins falling for Noah, she realizes even he isn’t above suspicion. The fate of her team, her belugas and the mysterious creature in the inlet just may rest in her hands.
THE MERMAID GENE is a YA urban fantasy novel, complete at 98,000 words. I have worked as a zookeeper and educator at many facilities, including the Alaska Zoo of Anchorage, and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks & Aquariums published my article “The Dangers of Human Interactions with Marine Mammals” in its 2007 Ocean Literacy and Marine Mammals: An Easy Reference Guide. This experience sets THE MERMAID GENE apart and allows me to take readers behind-the-scenes into the thrilling and often-misunderstood world of beluga whale research.

Thank you for your time and consideration.
Sincerely,

Me


Here is how Lora did her whittling:
10 total points were possible, and I awarded half, quarter, and three-quarters points in categories that were so-so, a hair off, or nearly there.
Categories:
1. Muscular prose (tightness on the sentence level)  
2. Overall flow
3. Clear MC throughout
4. Clear stakes
5. Logic of plot points as revealed through query
6. Voice and voice consistency
7. Compelling plot
8. Professional bio/closing
9. Info-dump
10. Length (adhering to the 250 ideal / 300 max standard)
 Lisa, congrats! You've won your choice of a query critique or a first five page critique from Lora herself!

And congrats to everyone else here is what Lora had to say about them all:
 
Whew. SOOO hard. BTW, on the scale, nobody scored lower than a 7, and final three-way tie was broken by a quarter of a point. Great job, everybody!
***

The fun doesn't stop yet people! We have one more week and the best has totally been saved for last. Agent Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency and the ultra-talented, already hooked an agent, Monica B.W. are teaming up to help out with our final week of the Gearin' Up to Get an Agent Blogfest by picking the winners of the first 200 words novel competition. Two winners will be chosen and this contest is open only to young adult, middle grade and picture book submissions as that is what Kathleen is on the prowl for. Sorry to everyone else.

Beginning Sunday evening I will put up the sign-up list along with some extra tidbits. If you haven't gotten your name on the master GUTGAA list, go here and get to it. You will be in the presence of awesomeness. I hope to see you there!
Until then...
Keep learning. Keep writing.

20 comments:

Kristi Bernard said...

Congratulations Lisa!

amber said...

Lora Rivera is a rock star -- she's very helpful and has great insight. You're in very capable hands, Lisa! :)

Alleged Author said...

Yay for Lisa!!!!!!

Jen Daiker said...

Congrats to the well-deserved winner!!!

Best of luck to everyone for the next portion. I won't be participating, seeing as I'm not one who is writing Young Adult. But have fun!

Michelle Fayard said...

Congratulations, Lisa! Your query was one of my favorites, not only because of your story line but because of your credentials for writing such a story.

Carol Riggs said...

Congratulations Lisa, and that sounds like a cool book! I love mermaids. Nice to meet you, Deana, and find your site. :)

Donea Lee said...

Congrats to Lisa!! The Mermaid Gene sounds like a great story!

And thanks to Lora for judging - I love the list of ten. I've copied it down to apply to my own query. Thanks!! :)

alexia said...

Congrats, Lisa!! And thanks to Lora and everyone else for all the time that went into this. That 10 point list is amazing!!

Deana, my novel is adult, so I won't be an official participant in Week 4, but I'll hop around and say hello!

amy kennedy said...

Yay for Lisa! Your query rocks!

Looking forward to the next week -- what fun this has been.

K.V. Briar said...

Ya Lisa! Loved your query :) A well deserved win for sure!

Thanks for supplying us with the 10 point list Lora!

And a HUGE thank you for hosting the bloggest Deana :)

LisaAnn said...

Oh my gosh, I have been teaching summer camps all day, so I just realized my query is the winner! Holy smokes, thank you guys sooooo much for this! This blogfest has been soo helpful, and this really is a team win--as everyone gave me such incredible feedback on my original query letter. I can't wait for my critique, and I also can't wait to read all the amazing opening lines of everyone's manuscripts next week. You guys are AWESOME, and thanks again to Deana and Lora for everything!! :)

Mandie said...

Your book sounds good LisaAnn

Deana said...

What a cool suprise for you Lisa! Congrats again:)

I'm glad you all are getting excited for next week! It will be so helpful...I think. How could it not with Monica and Kathleen helping:)

Alexia- I'm sorry you can't submit your first 200 for this but I am glad you are still going to be around. You can still post yours on your blog by the way for crits from the bloggers.

Leslie Rose said...

Yay for Lisa. Her story exudes originality. Love the checklist you used. Great filters to run a query through.

Christine Danek said...

Congratulations Lisa!!

Small Town Shelly Brown said...

Big Congrats to Lisa!

And a pat on the back for Deanna. That must have been a lot of work.

This has been fun, so thank-you!

Josh Hoyt said...

Congrats to the winners can't wait for the last week. Great job on this month it has been very helpful.

Donna Perugini said...

I forgot to post here as I already shouted out to Lisa.
What a great idea you have going Deana! Yay for Lisa and all the team effort!
Looking forward to Monday.

catherinemjohnson said...

Congrats Lisa, you've got a great sounding story there and excellent query. Well done.

catherinemjohnson said...

Congrats Lisa, you've got a great sounding story there and excellent query. Well done.