Participants must comment on as many queries as they can to pay it forward. All query critiques are subjective. And rabbits don't come out of my hat, but I'll do my best. Objects in mirror may be closer than they appear. Buy one and I'll throw in a set of free steak knives, just pay separate shipping and handling fees.
As sent to me:
Kelsey Friedman is killed each time she turns 18.
She is shot during her birthday party by two assassins, but one of the assassins can’t be born if Kelsey dies. A paradox is created and time loops—the first eighteen years of her life repeat over and over again. Her only warning is déjà vu. Until a man named James contacts her.
Claiming to be from the future, James explains the time loop to Kelsey and says he has been sent to save her and resolve the paradox. Despite her many doubts, Kelsey cooperates with James and they work to draw the assassins into a trap. But everything goes terribly wrong when it becomes clear to Kelsey that James is hiding something from her: His real mission.
WHEN TIME ENDS is a 73,000 word YA science-fiction thriller.
Kelsey Friedman is killed each time she turns 18. First thoughts: This puts more questions into my head. Why use 'is killed' instead of dies? 'Each time' is interesting. I'd spell out 18-eighteen. On my second pass, I think getting something about this being a time story into the hook would be a good thing. A paradox has Kelsey Friedman doomed to be killed each time she turns eighteen.
She is shot during her birthday party by two assassins, but one of the assassins can’t be born if Kelsey dies. I want a little more information on the second part of this sentence. Why can't he be born? Maybe be more specific. She is shot during her birthday party by two assassins. Only Future Kelsey is supposed to cure one of the assassin's mother of cancer, or he won't be born. A paradox is created and time loops—the first eighteen years of her life repeat over and over again. Her only warning is déjà vu (expand just a little? Her only warning is the tingle of deja vu?). Until a man named James contacts her. All subjective, but this has me really curious. I'm eager to see more.
Claiming to be from the future, James explains the time loop to Kelsey and says he has been sent to save her and resolve the paradox (This sentence falls a little flat. Some of it I think can be left unsaid. It would be understood by the reader. I'd like a little more of their personality in this paragraph. But can she believe a dashing/crazy stranger, claiming to be visiting the past to save her life?) Despite her many doubts, Kelsey cooperates(Is there a way for more voice to show Kelsey's personality? Trusting her instincts, Kelsey rolls the dice, working with James to draw the assassins into a trap. with James(comma) and they work to draw the assassins into a trap. But everything goes terribly wrong when it's crystal clear
WHEN TIME ENDS is a 73,000 word YA science-fiction thriller. Good word count. Everything here you need.
Call it subjective, but I'm a sucker for this time story. I found it enticing. It's sort of refreshing that you don't use the traditional this has to happen OR this bad thing will occur. What does everyone else think?
I agree, this story sounds like something I'd like to read, but I'm having a little trouble with believability. Why is this 18yr old girl so important to warrant not one, but TWO assassins coming after her? Is she some politician's daughter? Will she be someone special in the future, and the assassins know it because they're from the future?ReplyDelete
Right now, it sounds like the only reason she gets assassinated is because you need her to for your story to work. Even a little hint will go a long way, but of course, this is just my opinion! I'd still totally read it :)
Good point! It would be cool if she isn't the target, but is shot accidentally.Delete
Good premise but I agree with Michelle, killed doesn't feel right I would use dies. Also that first sentence in the next paragraph is confusing. I read it a few times and I fear an agent who takes one pass at the query might get stuck there and not give it more thought, which would be a shame. Also maybe a few added words about her doubt - why does she have doubt? And I agree with Madesasongirl why are assassins after an 18 year old girl? How is she so special?ReplyDelete
I do love the idea of book, sounds very intriguing.
I thought the first paragraph was good. It was written in a way that made me excited to read the second paragraph to find out what happens next. But I agree with Michelle in that the first sentence of the second paragraph falls short of my expectations. I think you did a really good job of arousing mystery in the first paragraph, and I think you should continue to do it a little more in the second paragraph, or at least add more emotion to the writing.ReplyDelete
In the second paragraph, you say "Despite her many doubts..." Could you give a specific example? Obviously this would be a situation that would be difficult for anyone to believe, but if you can show what she is feeling, and perhaps explain what draws her in to believe in James, then I think this would make the tension stronger.
The idea is really cool!
I want to read this book! I like science fiction and time paradoxes are fascinating. However, I do agree with some of the others. Like Madseasongirl, I want to know why this girl is important. Along those lines, I know you say Kelsey has doubts, but why would she believe that James has been sent to save her? I think you're implying that there's a love story there? If so, maybe it would be good to add a line or two into the query about the love story. One of the things I love most about YA is the love stories.ReplyDelete
Is there more to your query? Most of the agents I've researched request some kind of author bio somewhere in the query. I think they like a bio even if you have no publishing history, probably so they can find out a little bit about you since they'd be representing not just your book but also you.
Also, just curious, is the story told in first person or third person? It sounds like either way it'd be complicated since she dies and repeats her first eighteen years. Maybe try to include this somewhere in the query unless you're only sending to agents who also request the first few pages?
I hope this helps. Good luck!
This sounds like a really cool story, and definitely something I'd like to read one day! :)ReplyDelete
This story sounds so interesting! And if I knew just a little more, I'd be inescapably hooked. I agree with everyone else that we need to know why Kelsey is special enough to be assassinated. When I think of assassinations, I think of the targets being the men and women in power. I'm not sure kelsey could have that kind of power at 18, unless there's something more here you should tell us?ReplyDelete
Voice would also be such a plus for this query. I'd like to get a feel for the person I'm going to meet if I pick up this book. And maybe it would be intriguing if you told us what organization James was working for, or a little more about this trap they are setting up for the assassins. What does it involve? And if you could expand on "it all goes terribly wrong," that could help us get a feel for what the stakes are as well, and James' true character.
Hope this helps, and I hope this publishes soon, because I want to read it!
Thank you everyone. You've all been extremely helpful!ReplyDelete