The Saturday Slash

Don't be afraid to ask for help with the most critical first step of your writing journey - the query.

I’ve been blogging since 2011 and have critiqued over 200 queries here on the blog using my Hatchet of Death. This is how I edit myself, it is how I edit others. If you think you want to play with me and my hatchet, shoot me an email.

If the Saturday Slash has been helpful to you in the past, or if you’d like for me to take a look at your query please consider making a donation, if you are able.

If you’re ready to take the next step, I also offer editing services.

Thank you for the opportunity to submit my query for ANA, a character-driven young adult realistic contemporary about finding self-worth and family, of first love, and of friendships, broken and then rebuilt. ANA is complete at 75,000 words, and is in the vein of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Wintergirls, and Netflix’s To the Bone. So far, so good. This is very professional and tight and it could earn you the eyes to move on to the next para. But, at the same time, it's a little generic. Lift this description and ask yourself how many other YA's this could describe.

At eighteen, Kristen Hall has an imagery imaginary? friend—Ana, the personification of her eating disorder; that negative voice inside her head that tells her she isn’t good enough. Oh my goodness, this is your hook. I can't name a single other book that this describes. Put this para first. Your comp titles and everything above are a great "in sum" para. This is your hook, put it first. Ana is everything that Kristen loathes How? Of course she loathes her if she's constantly deriding her, but by saying Ana is everything she loathes, how do you mean? Her personality? Her attribures? What are those? —but three years after her parents divorce, moving to Sedona, Arizona, from Phoenix to live with her sister, her dad remarrying, and her mother’s abandonment, she is the only one who understands, especially when she, begrudgingly, agrees to meet with her mother, to try and reconcile. Wow, okay things just got confusing - and long winded. Try something more like "after a string of major life changes like..." and don't bother mentioning them all. The point is, Kristen feels isolated enough that her only "friend" is the personification of her eating disorder. That's all we need to know. Details get sticky. Rationally, Kristen knows that Ana isn’t good for her, but the thought of letting her go is unimaginable.

Kristen thinks that she can fly under the radar Whose radar? What radar? School? until she goes to college in the fall, but her budding relationship with Alex Taylor—thoughtful, selfless, and charming—threatens her connection with Ana. In Alex, Kristen sees everything that she could be—selfless, repeated word independent, and more in control of the chaos surrounding her—and she knows that to keep one, she has to lose the other. I think this is good, but it also makes me kind of go - well, duh. Obviously, it's going to be way better for her both mentally and emotionally to lose the personification of her eating disorder. Maybe just a touch more of why she's so dependent on Ana. Right now it reads like Ana is her Tyler Durden. We need a little more of a nod as to why losing her would actually be painful, rather than just a relief. Does Ana have any better moments? Good qualities?

I began writing this novel as a Dietetics student, and recently completed it after earning a degree in Journalism / Public Relations. I believe that my time studying nutrition, as well as having overcome my own struggles with body image, makes me the right person to tell these characters’ stories.

Great bio para here. Again, I suggest getting your 2nd para to the top, adjusting the current first para to serve as a summary, and then round off with your bio. Overall, this looks pretty good!