Query Critique/Workshop: MIGHTY MIKE AND THE ALIEN PEZ DISPENSER (MG Science Fiction)



Critiquer: Michelle Painchaud


While hiding from the school bully, eleven-year-old Mike meets Grimon, a poorly disguised, blue alien who’s been assigned to learn if humans could visit other worlds without turning orange or hiccupping forever.

Dedicated to all things Science and Science Fiction, Mike jumps at the chance to help. Testing super-power infused alien candies could help him defeat his tormentors. After all, he needs his nose in its normal shape and location since he’s pretty sure NASA’s astronaut program requires breathing.

Between flying, belching zoo-animal noises, and hiding from government agents determined to capture Grimon, Mike will have to choose between becoming a bully himself and learning what it means to be a real superhero.

MIGHTY MIKE AND THE ALIEN PEZ DISPENSER is a Middlegrade Sci-Fi/Adventure, complete at 44k. It should appeal to those who enjoy the quirky humor of Nathan Bransford’s Jacob Wonderbar series.

First of all, can I say how cute and amazing this sounds already? Your query is tight and hits all the right points.

I think you need to start with a stronger opening. We need to know about Mike. I’m thinking something along the lines of; “When wannabe NASA astronaut Mike discovers a blue alien in his school who wants to test humans for their ability to live on other worlds, he offers to help. Testing alien candy might just give him the edge over his bullies, and the orange creamsicle taste isn’t so bad either!”

“But helping Grimon isn’t all flying around and burping animal noises – government baddies want to capture Grimon at all costs. To protect his newfound alien friend, will Mike have to become a superhero and face the scariest bullies ever.”

Feel free to use any of that if you like it!

All in all, we just need a little clarification of what Mike is like, what his troubles are, before we dive into the discovery of the alien! In addition, we need more tension and relation to Mike’s struggle. Since it’s so short it’s hard to crit, but I feel like it’s almost there. You’ve got a great query that just needs beefing up in a few right places, namely at the beginning when establishing who Mike is, and at the end establishing what challenges he’ll face and why he’ll decide to face them (friendship). I feel like you danced around it in your first draft, but you just need to word it more clearly. Hopefully the sample sentences I’ve written here help you in some way!


If you have any thoughts or questions, the comments are open, but please keep it constructive. No douchebaggery allowed.

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