Anyway, if you're new to the whole Query Ninja thing, you can check out Da Rulz here, and the past two episodes here and here. If y'all are nuts enough to keep sending me queries, I might just have to put in a sidebar or something.
Daring, aren't I?
Anyway, here's the query, courtesy of the fabulousness that is Tres Smurfy BT.
Dear Fabulous Agent,
Lusted after, abused, haunted, and with family and friends dying around her, Smurfette is starting to think being a pioneer was a bad idea.
From England to the virgin soil of Smurfland in a cramped sailing ship. Harassed aboard and ashore by the first smurf and by the spiritual leader of their group, both who have problems keeping their thoughts pure when it comes to young smurflings, Smurfette struggles to find true love, and her place in the new village.
Hostile cats, smurfy superstition, and cartoon legend collide in an atmosphere charged with unbridled lust and misplaced passions. Searching for respect from Papa Smurf and company, Smurfette’s only hope is an old black smurf.
With settings reminiscent of 'A Kingdom for the Brave' by Tamara McKinley, but with the passion of 'Madame Bovary' by Gustave Flaubert, 'Smurfette’s Laugh' has a ready made audience of slacker readers looking for a fast paced read set during early Smurfland settlement.
I sharpen my writing skills in the short story markets, with pieces published at venues such as Smurf & Smurfling, Smurf to Smurf, and Yellow Smurf.
I’m studying for an Advanced Diploma of Art in Professional Smurfing, and I’m an active member of the Australian Smurf Writers Association. For more information please visit http://smurfsaremadeofawesome.blogspot.com or contact me directly.
Tres Smurfy BT
Smurfy, isn't it?
I hope y'all don't think I'm being redundant here, but I'd like to invoke the Church Lady Rule again. There's a heckload of stuff going on in this query, what with all of the smurfish lusting, the haunting, and the dying going on. (We're here to mourn the loss of Brainy Smurf at the hands of Azrael the cat. Let us bow our smurfs and smurf.)
Anyway, there's so much going on here that I end up feeling a little overwhelmed. You've told us bits and pieces about each element in the book, and I'm sure they're so awesome that they're just smurfy, but I don't feel like I know enough about any of them to tell for sure. For example, you mention hauntings and legends (MadLibbed as "cartoon legend"), but then you don't tell us anything about those elements. Rather than telling us a little about a bunch of things, maybe focus on a couple of things that really rock.
And that means the Church Lady Rule.
The main question is what sets you apart from all of the other sweeping historical epics set in 1980's Smurfland. Based on what we know from the query, this seems to be the legendary haunting bit. There are plenty of epic passion plays out there, but how many epic passion plays can you name in which the Ghost of Thundar the Barbarian keeps popping up?
I dare you to come up with one. I DARE you.
Whatever element you choose, whether it's this one or some other bit of awesomeness that we don't know about yet, it's just a matter of weaving the elements together into the query in a way that feels natural. Smurfette moves to Smurfland; she's threatened by the passions of two very threatening Smurfs. And then the hauntings begin, and...
She's blamed for them and accused of Smurfcraft? Uh... witchcraft?
She's threatened by them, and one of the bad Smurfs may be the only one with the ability to save her?
She's so intrigued that she follows Thundar into the wild and meets the old black Smurf, not realizing that the bad Smurfs are following her?
Something even more Smurfishly awesome?
I don't know where your story goes, but hopefully you get the idea. Take the passion elements you have in the query, add the complication of the Church Lady element, and stir it all up.
And then there's the old black Smurf, who potentially has the solution to Smurfette's quest for respect. I think that if you're going to bring up a character like this, you've got to bring it back around to Smurfette before you close out the query. The book is about HER choices, right? HER adventure. So what is Smurfette's reaction to the potential solution? What potentially keeps her from taking the solution, running with it, and living happily ever after?
I think if you could just tighten the focus a little, this query would be just smurfy. But it's time to open comments up to the rest of you peeps. What words of wisdom do you have for Tres Smurfy BT? Bring it on!
And mucho thanks for sending in your query. You rock the casbah!