Entry Name: Palm Beach
Title: Of a Palm Beach Persuasion
Word Count: 90,000
Genre: Adult Women's Fiction
Maggie is finally ready to come home. Trust-fund untouched, a self-made success, she will step back into the role of dutiful socialite on her own terms. Her return comes shortly after the bubble pops on the real estate market, and her father, although Palm Beach royalty, finds himself upside down on multiple properties. Maggie is amused when he decides to rent their Palm Beach mansion to an L.A. band. Amused that is, until the musicians reconnect Maggie to her first love, her high school boyfriend, who’s proposal she once fled. Literally.
And yes, more than ten years later, she’s still flustered about that.
Back in high school, Gavin doesn’t understand Maggie’s surprise invitation to her father’s annual fall gala. Rumor has it she only dates Ivy Leaguers down for crew training. It isn’t that Gavin comes from “the wrong side of the tracks,” but that he lives on the wrong side of the water - off “The Island.” Not a Palm Beacher, not a Beach Clubber, not an anything. But when the Beatles cover band brought in for the gala strikes up, “Can’t Buy Me Love,” for their first song of the night, he takes it as the perfect omen.
He’s wrong. By the next summer Maggie leaves Gavin standing by the sea wall - the Flagler Museum where they’d danced prom night illuminated across the water. The ring he’d designed to showcase his grandmother’s diamond still in his own hand.
And yes, more than ten years later, he’s still holding a grudge.
It’s Persuasion under the glare of the south Florida sun, but the only one going by the name of Wentworth is a peacock who takes residence in Maggie’s yard, and the modern heroine is not lifted in and out of carriages because she drives her own Mercedes thankyouverymuch.
First 250 Words:
February 15, 2007
Almond Granola Bark, a.k.a. Road Trip Fuel
Blog Recipe Box: snacks, other
Blog Recipe Box: snacks, other
What do you like to eat on road trips? What if it begins on snowy roads and ends in 85 degree heat? What if it’s a moving road trip? A you-lived-somewhere-eleven-years but... it’s time. Chapter closed. On the road.
Is there a food for that?
When this publishes I'll be winding around DC’s Dupont Circle, my townhouse disappearing in the back window. I’ll weave and turn until I find myself on 395 soon to be spit out on 95 - the highway that takes me home.
When I’m welcoming the heat of seat warmers under my jeans should I fill my mug with hot chocolate, but later, when sweaty denim starts sticking, do I toss the bottom-sludge in a 7-11 parking lot where I’ll have stopped for an icy Slurpee? Maybe I’ll begin with a toasted sandwich and end with, I don’t know, what are they eating in Florida right now? Mangoes? Kiwis? Avocado everything?
No surprise - my kitchen was the final room dwindled down to boxes. What to make? What to make!
I’m a Florida girl. I love heat, thick salty air, those mangoes. Watching Sandhill Cranes by the dozen peck through empty fields or finding a smaller family of the birds honking a parade down my driveway. (It’s happened.) I don’t mind braking for alligators (also true), though I’m not crazy about giant lizards (tiny dinosaurs). We’ll blame them for my hiatus.
Entry Nickname: She Wears Bruises Like Trophies
Title: Lucky Punch
Word count: 71K
Genre: Adult Contemporary
Widowed military veteran Poppy Leon is desperate to rebuild her life and be a great single parent to her son Milo, despite suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, after almost losing her life in a mortar attack in Iraq.
When Poppy finds a veteran’s outreach program of mixed martial arts (MMA), she hopes it will help curb her debilitating PTSD. After two years of MMA competition Poppy is undefeated, and her relationship with her five year old son has never been better. But a vicious blow to the head during a match triggers a flashback, and Poppy loses control, nearly killing her opponent. She’s immediately plunged into a mental and physical nightmare. Unable to function, Poppy lashes out at those she loves the most, including Milo.
Despite the resurgence of her PTSD, Poppy still has contracts and commitments to complete that her honor demands she fulfill. If she doesn’t, she loses her fight money, and the home she and Milo picked out that she just signed a contract for. If she doesn’t get her shit together and Marine-up, Poppy knows losing a match is the least of her worries. But what was once her most cherished outlet soon has her reliving her past trauma with every strike and blow. Now Poppy must decide between Marine and Mother if she's ever going to give her son and herself the life she deserves.
The tent was in flames around her and Poppy felt like she’d been thrown against a concrete wall. Sand filled her mouth, her head was splitting apart. All, she could think was, move! Her eyes teared up as she opened them, and rough hands grabbed her and dragged her from the tent.
Poppy was dropped on the ground next to another Marine and watched in a haze as her savior ran back into the tent to bring out anyone left inside. He was a God damn hero.
She looked around, the ringing in her ears increasing, and took quick inventory of the action around her. There were men and women in uniform, running hither and to with their faces bloodied and their once clean uniforms tattered and covered in dust. She heard herself asking the question, what happened, in a voice that didn’t sound remotely like her own. She brought her hand up to her head, grimacing as she felt something sticking out of her skull. She had the presence of mind to leave it where it was, and leaned over to retch into the sand.
She crawled over to the body next to her, putting her shaking hand on the Marine’s neck to feel for a pulse, but not even a whisper beat against her bloodied fingers. Poppy drew her hand away and felt herself up. She didn’t feel any obvious wounds, and she glanced to the side, wondering who was in charge. Then she remembered: she was.
Your query is very intriguing. I like that the voice of each character comes through.Since the first paragraph suggests things are set in the present day, I'd like a little more about what happens after the pair is reunited. Is this told in dual POV? I would either say so or tell the whole query from Maggie's POV. Let us know the stakes when they meet again. Also, at the end of Maggie's paragraph, it should be "whose proposal" not "who's."
Your MC has a great voice. I can easily spend a few hundred pages with her. It seems like she's talking too much about food, but I only have 250 words. I'm guessing the blog entries are more of an introduction to the chapters and not the entire story (and if I'm wrong, you may want to mention that in the query). And now I need to go to Florida. Excuse me.
SHE WEARS BRUISES LIKE TROPHIES:
I LOVE that this is a story about a woman who does MMA! And I love the nickname, which is probably not relevant to anything. Honestly, this is an excellent query. I can't suggest anything to make it better. It introduces us to the character, sets up the voice, gives me the conflict, and tells me what's at stake. Exactly what I want from a query.
I'm torn on your first 250. They say not to start with action. But it's such good action, and it really works for me that I can't really suggest a change. My primary suggestion is to try to use more active verbs than "was." For example "Poppy fell to the ground" instead of "was dropped" or even "Poppy's unseen savior dropped her to the ground." Or "Her heat split apart" instead of "was splitting." Instead of "There were men and women running," you could say "Men and women ran." Things like that. Also, I'd use a semi-colon instead of a comma in the second sentence.
I feel so sorry for our judges right now. Excellent job, both of you.
Your query would definitely snag my eye if it was on the back of a book cover. I'm a huge Austen fan and I love the idea of a modern spin on Persuasion. That being said this bit threw me off "the Flagler Museum where they’d danced prom night illuminated across the water." This sentence flows awkwardly. It's missing a comma after danced perhaps? I love the voice of your MC. She sounds like someone I would like as a road trip companion. From this excerpt, it seems like food might be an important part of your story, and I'm interested to know how that works.
Bruises Like Trophies:
Your query was spot on. I'm already invested in this character with these three paragraphs. I sympathize with her, and hope she gets the happy ending she deserves. I really like that your ex-marine is female, and that she refuses to let her PTSD control her life. She's a fighter, and she instantly earned my respect.
I have to agree with the above comment about your passive verbs. Action should have strong verbs to make it pop. In this segment "running hither and to with their faces bloodied and their once clean uniforms tattered and covered in dust," I would cut straight to "faces bloodied." Also, you have Poppy reach up to feel something sticking out of her head, then she feels herself for wounds and doesn't find any. Has she already forgotten there's something stuck in her head? Is she just checking for additional injuries? I was a little confused by this.
Both of you presented really strong entries, and I truly enjoyed reading them. Good luck, judges.
Of a Palm Beach PersuasionReplyDelete
Okay, I loved the voices here. Maggie is a spunky gal! The query is good, but I'm not fully drawn in yet. I get it that she's a socialite, obviously, but why is she amused with her father having to rent out his properties. Did they have a rough relationship? Maybe mention that somewhere. The third paragraph with Gavin sort of pulls me out. It could be simplified quite a bit in some way shape or form. I do love the the detail, but it's a bit much. to me. As for the first 250, I'm a bit torn. I REALLY like her sassy voice, except she's sort of all over the place. She's obviously writing a blog post, but I have no sense of anything current, other than the fact that she's getting ready to go on a trip.
Wow. I felt query like i was punched in the gut by that query alone. A female suffering from PTSD and an MMA fighter? Excellent ideas. It's a struggle for me on this one to try and pin point any changes because it's really well done. But I'm curious if her deceased husband was military too. The first 250 are intense. I'm a big fan of starting out with action, personally. Yet I'm focused more on whats going on around her, rather than the character in general.
Victory to: She Wears Bruises Like Trophies
Both stories have great hooks. Love ex-lovers reuniting and female MMA is fabulous. I would read both. For reals. But first some critique, and then I have to choose. Yikes.ReplyDelete
PALM BEACH, great voice in your query, which I LOVE. But also some unnecessary info that would work well to trim out. Here are some phrases that really don’t push the story along and can wait for the MS to be revealed:
“Trust-fund untouched” Saying she is a self-made success is enough.
“Her return comes shortly after the bubble pops on the real estate market, and her father, although Palm Beach royalty, finds himself upside down on multiple properties.” We don’t need to know the when or the how in this instance. The important thing is TO WHOM the property is rented. That’s the story.
“Back in high school…” paragraph confuses me because it’s in present tense, and I’m assuming this is the back story, so we need to go past here or else the reader is going to be thrown about where and when the story is. I’m rereading the paragraph again, and I really don’t know when/where we are. If this is the back story, it can be trimmed. All we need to know is that Gavin (LOVE this name) comes from the wrong side of the water, but Maggie liked him anyway, even though she ended up leaving him high and dry (can we get a hint of why?)
Love the mirroring of the “And yes, more than ten years later…”
Yes to what LH said about who’s vs. whose.
What’s missing overall is the stakes. What are these two characters fighting for? What do they stand to lose? Why should we keep reading?
Blog entry is cute. Reminds me of Jill Shalvis’s Lucky Harbor books with the witty quote introductions to each paragraph. Gives a good sense of voice, but it doesn’t cement us in the story. We don’t know why Maggie is traveling, why she writes this blog, or why it’s important. We need more story. Who is Maggie? What’s her status quo that’s about to get all shaken up by this move home?
SHE WEARS BRUISES LIKE TROPHIES
Wow. First off, great emotion here, in the query and 250.
Grammar nitpick—the comma between Disorder and after in first paragraph shouldn’t be there.
Love the mother/son dynamic but wondering why Poppy would, now that she’s a vet, endanger her physical safety more now that she’s home and trying to rebuild. I get the therapeutic aspect of the MMA for her PTSD, but if Milo is only 5 and she’s a widow, I think she’s risking a lot for her son. Can you give us an idea in the query as to WHY/HOW doing something physically dangerous is a good thing for a single mom? Or how she’s able to maintain MMA commitments while she’s got a kid at home? Plus, how does she lash out at Milo? And if she’s unable to function, who is taking care of Milo?
Last paragraph, you use CONTRACTS twice. Omit one. You’ve got some good stakes lined up, but I’m still not sure what exactly she’s fighting for. PTSD is serious, and I have to think she needs more than MMA to get through it, especially if she’s unable to function (mentally? physically?). I think the stakes need to be more specific. Does she need to decide to seek better help? To give up fighting? To do whatever it takes to not get her son taken away from her (if that’s a possibility as I would think it is if she can’t take care of him)? The stakes are overgeneralized and leave me with more questions.
Love the action here, but it doesn’t cement us in the present of the story. It gives us a glimpse of Poppy’s life in battle but doesn’t show us where she is now and how her present might get altered by her unshakable memories of the past. I’m torn on whether or not you should start here because it is great action, but I have no idea how it connects to Poppy now. If Poppy and her relationship with Milo is the crux of the story, we need to see her with him how she’s trying to rebuild her life with him but has this PTSD standing in the way.
These are great stories, writers, and SO different. So for me it’s coming down to execution of voice, which is what’s pulling me most right now. VICTORY TO PALM BEACH.
Dual POVs in queries is usually not a good idea, but the biggest rule of all is rules can be broken if done right. I actually like the way you set it up and broke the rule. For me, it works. You didn't give us the stakes, which can be an issue, but you gave us enough of the story problem that the stakes are inferred. As to the 250, I like the voice. The character sounds like someone I'd want to read about, but I'm not sure where you're going with this opening. I assume this is a diary entry, but I could be wrong. Personally, I'd rather be introduced to your main character by having her act in her usual way rather than being introduced to her through a diary entry. If it's an epistolary novel, then ignore what I said.
Bruises Like Trophies:
You have set the story up well, and the stakes are fantastic! Choosing between your sanity or providing for your child? Love it! The first 250 are well written, but I don't like being thrown into a battle scene. I prefer everything the be set up first and know the main character. However, because it's so strongly written, I would request pages if I were an agent and then work with you on finding a better opening.
OF A PALM BEACH PERSUASION:ReplyDelete
Query - The beach, bands, old high school sweethearts...? The premise of this story if fun and definitely sucked me in. But, it was jarring when you switched POVs/tenses midway through to Gavin. If your story is told in dual POV, maybe you can smooth the transition over to Gavin's POV or just keep the query in Maggie's? The switch is confusing and I felt like I'd gone through a time warp. I do love the last paragraph.
250 - Writing it in blog form is cute and relevant. Maggie also gives us clues into her character without being too tell-y. It didn't claw me right into the story and doesn't give me much to go on, but I'm interested and would keep reading. Maggie's voice is present in both the query and the 250 and I'm pretty sure I could hang out with her. :)
SHE WEARS BRUISES LIKE TROPHIES:
Query - Nicely done in regard to laying it all out there. We know where Poppy's been and what's she's going through. All good. I would like to hear more of Poppy's voice. I'm missing that piece for sure. And, like Captain Yawp, I wonder why she's back to fighting (now through MMA, but still...) when she is the sole caretaker for her young son. Is it her only coping tool? Her only way of making a living? What about the MMA makes the benefits outweigh the risks for her? Does she justify the risks for the sake of her sanity?
250 - Whew! Intense. It definitely grabbed me. The voice is passive at times, which pulled me out of the action here and there. There is also overuse of commas and some repetitive language. I would have liked more emotion from Poppy (more voice). That being said, the scene felt true without being overdone. I'm not sure if this is a prologue or a flashback and I'm curious how you bring the story to the present.
Ok. This is tough. These are evenly matched but so, so very different! Both are unique in their own right, but I'm going to have to go with overall delivery and, for me, VICTORY GOES TO PALM BEACH. Best of luck to you both!
Palm Beach: I really like the counterpoint beats in your query ("And yes, more than ten years later ..."). It's a nice way of framing the story. I was a little confused about the switch back in time and I'm wondering if there's a way to move things around so the query is a bit more linear? Do you have a flashback in the story? Either way, maybe have the historical stuff first about her running away from his proposal, then fast forward to the present and he's back in her life. But it's a nice voice, especially the reference to driving her own Mercedes. She's clearly not a girl to mess with!ReplyDelete
Bruises Like Trophies: I take my hat off to you writing a story with a female military MC, with PTSD, who's literally fighting for her life. That ticks so many boxes that I really really want to see this book published! And addressing the huge issue of PTSD is a brave and innovative move. The story is powerful - you can't really get much greater motivation than a mother fighting for her child - and this has a tough grittiness about it that I don't think I've seen much and wish there was more of, especially with female leads. Great work.
Palm Beach: I love the spunk of your heroine. Her voice is great in the query. Gavin's isn't quite as evident. The 250 threw me at first until I realized it was a blog entry.ReplyDelete
Bruises Like Trophies: Great concept and the query showcases the conflict perfectly.
I like that you started with the action, but I think using action verbs instead of "was" will make a much bigger impact.
Good luck to you both!
Palm Beach -ReplyDelete
Love that we're going to see a rarefied world and I will read any Jane Austen retelling I can get my hands on. The setting makes me want to read on. In your query, I think I'd consider rearranging so we meet Maggie and Gavin right away, and let us hear about her dad later. You could reword the sentence about leaving him standing by the sea wall - it's a little awkward. Love it otherwise.
Like the commenter above, I was a little thrown by the 250 until I realized that it was a blog. Seeing the formatting in print will help with that, but it has a good voice.
Bruises Like Trophies:
I love that this is the female veteran's story. I don't see that on the bookshelves and we need to. That said, you have a lot of acronyms in your query. I associate acronyms with my job and I glaze over. PTSD is well known and probably fine. I'd go ahead and type out the mixed martial arts. I also don't care for the profanity - this is a professional letter. You have done a great job of infusing your query with the voice of your story, and it is well written and describes the book well.
I agree with the commenters above about your verbs in your 250. It's evocative, but would be more so with more active verbs and fewer filter words like "felt" and "could."
Great job to both!
I like the blog opening of this 250. It’s a neat way to ground the reader without it feeling like backstory/telling, because it’s also giving us insight into the character and how she thinks. Nicely done. I will mention though that I found the paragraph starting with “When I’m welcoming the heat…” a little choppy (as in, for some reason I had to reread the first two sentences several times to make them work for me). Maybe take another pass and try to smooth it out a bit?
In the query, the jump back in time with Gavin didn’t quite work for me. Also, unless the book evenly divides itself between Maggie’s and Gavin’s POV, I think I’d limit the query to focusing primarily on Maggie and only mentioning Gavin as needed.
She Wears Bruises Like Trophies
I really liked this query. That her one means of getting control of her life turns against her makes for a great premise. I’m hooked on that conflict alone. My two nits are that the opening sentence felt a bit long. Maybe cut in two? And “contracts and commitments to complete” felt a bit clunky (mostly “complete”; it doesn’t feel like the right word there for some reason).
I also found the 250 to be quite gripping. My one suggestion would be to make “The tent was in flames” a sentence on its own and turning what follows into a new sentence. I think it makes for a tighter opening line.
Good luck to both!
Let me just say, the voice in the query (and 1st 250, but I'll get to that later) is great. I like the introduction of the story in the 1st paragraph, but it could use a little tightening. ("A dutiful socialite, Maggie returns home with a self-made success and trust-fund untouched.") I especially like that your story is a spin on Persuasion. Try shortening or breaking up the last "paragraph" (it's actually one very long sentence). What didn't work for me was the flashback to high school. IMO, a little back story is okay, but when it takes up two paragraphs in a query, it's too much, and it removed me from the pitch.
Love the voice in your 250, although all of the rhetorical questions drove me bonkers. But then I thought it was a journal entry...until I reread and realized it's a blog entry yet to be published. I'm not sure this works for me as the first 250.
SHE WEARS BRUISES LIKE TROPHIES
I like the premise and the emotion it evokes. The query introduces your MC, her world, and her stakes. Good job. There are a couple of errors ("After two years of MMA competition(S) Poppy is undefeated..." and it should be "five-year-old" with hyphens since the age describes her son). But overall, I thought you did a great job with hooking me with the query.
I enjoyed your first 250. It's action, but it's clear to me that it's combat action, giving us the setting and tells us a little about your MC. I would tighten up the sentences though (especially the first sentence), by using more active verbs. There are also a few errors with misplaced/unnecessary commas. But the idea is great for an intro. Just needs some tweaking.
Good job to both Kombatants and good luck!
This comment has been removed by the author.Delete
(It seems like Blogger doesn't like my code for inserting a comma. Let's try this again.)ReplyDelete
I forgot to add that this sentence needs a comma:
"After two years of MMA competition(S)[COMMA] Poppy is undefeated..."
The query didn’t grab me like I’d hoped it would. I was drawn out several times. The phrase ‘back in high school’ made me think that the story had gone back in time, but after I reread it several times I realized it was just referring to a their time in high school. The idea that Maggie left Gavin after his proposal and it still bothers them both ten years later interests me very much. The way the query is set-up though reads as if the main conflict is whether or not they’ll get back together. Only the genre is Adult Women’s Fiction, so I’m assuming it’s not a romance. My main concern with the query is needing a clear picture of the main goal. What are the stakes? If it’s for them to get back together, then I would definitely label the story as romance.
The first 250 words left me wondering where it fit in. Was the opening a flashback or a diary entry? The italics were distracting. The information is definitely something you need to know about your protagonist, but it needs to be weaved in a little more organically to the story. Right now it reads as an information overload, which makes me think that the story may not be starting in the right place.
She Wears Bruises Like Trophies:
To be consistent, make sure to include (PTSD) after it’s spelled out the first time in the query—the same way you do for (MMA). Normally military stories don’t speak to me, but this query definitely grabbed me. I really liked the role reversal by having the mother as the marine. Also, the choosing between Marine and Mother spoke to me. I definitely wanted to read pages after reading the query.
The opening sentence could be stronger. And having ‘her and Poppy’ in that order made me have to go back and reread it to make sure I hadn’t missed something. Having the first sentence as: The tent was in flames around Poppy. would grab the reader immediately. Avoid using ‘felt, started’ to tell emotions. Show us what she felt. Delete the comma after ‘all.’ Would your protag use ‘hither and to’? It read oddly, almost as if it were a historical. By the end of the 250 the hook is there. We’re already seeing that she’s struggling not only with her own issues, but with her rank.
Victory to She Wears Bruises Like Trophies
Your query has great voice and humor. However, the whole change in time frame for Gavin's side of the story through me off. I know queries should be in present tense, but his piece obviously happened in the past. Could you put his first and emphasize the "10 years later" part?
The word count seems like a red flag to me; 90,000 words is very long.
Your 250 has a refreshing approach as a blog post. And again, Maggie's great voice comes through. However, some of the sentences were rambling (the second sentence in the seat warmer paragraph) and there was confusing inconsistency in the opening paragraph. First Maggie speaks of road trips (plural), then changes to road trip. You could easily clear this up with "What do you eat on a road trip?" I'd like it if this opening hinted more at the plot - could Maggie reveal why she's leaving and what she hopes to gain in FL?
Query- You've got a very compelling character here, one who immediately grabbed my sympathy. However, as a mother, I'm not sure I'd have a dilemma - if my outlet was threatening to ruin my relationship with my child, I'd give it up and find another safer way to make money. But I guess that's not as interesting a story.
I like the action and the sensory details, but it doesn't hint at the main conflict of the story. Could you capture the same action by starting with an MMA fight? Milo could be watching, and you could give us a better idea of the conflict between what Poppy wants and what she needs now.
Great job and good luck!
Also, I saw a lot of comma issues in Lucky Punch - usually, there were too many commas. For example, no comma is needed after "All" in "All she could think was, move." You also don't need a comma when two dependent clauses are linked by a conjunction, as in "She had the presence of mind to leave it where it was and leaned over to retch in the sand."Delete
PALM BEACH -ReplyDelete
Love your premise. When I was reading the query, I felt as though I could smell the sunscreen! That being said, I don't think your query is doing the story justice. There's entirely too much detail and it is very confusing. I followed it until "Back in high school, Gavin doesn't understand" - is Gavin in high school? Is this a flashback? Many of the above comments mention the same thing - tighten this up. Choose details carefully. Watch the grammar - but I LOVE the last paragraph. The "thankyouverymuch" really gives me a taste of the MC's voice. The word count didn't bother me at all and shouldn't be a problem as long as your story doesn't lag.
Great work, love the spin on Persuasion.
I wasn't crazy about the first 250 simply because it felt like a buffer between me and the world. I can't tell, from this snippet, if the whole book is going to be in her voice or not. It could be third person, for all I know. I would consider keeping it for a sentence or two and then settling in to your long-term narration style to give me a taste of that narration style so that I can settle in with the character.
Overall, awesome work. Love the world and the conflict.
SHE WEARS BRUISES LIKE TROPHIES -
Again, I love this premise. Your query feels very tight, but I would like to know what "contracts and commitments" we're talking about, here. THESE ARE YOUR STAKES, PLAY THEM UP! I get that she'll lose her house, but you've made it sound like there is more to the story here, and that's the meat of the conflict. If there isn't any more, cut that line and focus on her losing her house.
The first 250 are very strong, but I would heed the above mentions of comma usage. I would also cut the line about the soldier being a "God damn hero", simply because I want to remain in this visceral moment with Poppy. She's bloody, her ears are ringing, and you've done an amazing job painting this sweaty, chaotic picture. Commenting on something like heroism - something that is totally true but would have more weight if it came from a later reflection - takes me out of the moment.
Your last line is awesome, and I think it needs to be the first real, non-visceral thought Poppy has: she's in charge. If you put anything before that, it softens the punch of that realization.
A couple side notes - I don't know if you omitted word count on purpose and decided to just give the meat of the query, but don't forget that. I'd also tweak the name - it threw me, a bit. I've never worn a trophy. I think you could come up with something that really drove the point home without creating confusion.
Excellent work - both of you. This is a really hard decision, but I'm going to award the victory to SHE WEARS BRUISES LIKE TROPHIES. The query and first 250 were tight and battle-ready.
I know I already left feedback, but I've been thinking about this comment about wearing trophies. As someone who also has a hobby that causes a lot of eye-brow raising injuries, I completely understand the sentiment. However, Mrs. Reynolds (who stole my husband) is right that most people don't wear trophies.Delete
What about She Wore Bruises as Badges of Honor? That's how we refer to ours. Or She Wore Bruises as Medals? Either of those incorporates the military background, too.
Or even just Her Bruises were Badges of Honor.
Just an idea.
Palm Beach - I agree with the POV switch in the query, I found it a little jarring. If you are switching POVs in the story you have chapter breaks to soften the blow, but not in the query. Also the time frame jump also broke the flow for me. The first 250 was good. The blog entry style at first put me off to it and I kept thinking, this is the opening scene where the reader is suppose to be hooked - I'm not getting hooks on reading about someone deciding on snack foods for a car ride. But by the end I think it actually worked on setting the mood and giving us a taste of who Maggie is.ReplyDelete
Lucky Punch - Very intense! Love the plot. The query had me tense throughout as did the first 250. I get that you want to start the story off with the experience that started this roller coaster, but reading the query first I was more interested in Poppy's life now as a single mom dealing with her past, rather than reliving it...even though that's what she does. You opening makes perfect sense though, so I realize I'm sort of contradicting myself. But I feel that it prevents me from immediately connecting with her.
OF A PALM BEACH PERSUASIONReplyDelete
I'm not a huge fan of the flashback-style query, even if that's the format of the novel. Also, is this a dual-perspective? Because the first half of the query seems to be about Maggie, but the second about Gavin.
I'm not sure that this query starts in the right place - I initially thought that the problem was her PTSD and the MMA was the solution, but then you jump ahead two years to the REAL problem. Maybe start there instead?
Victory to She Wears Bruises Like Trophies
Of A Palm Beach Persuasion: This query was going great for me until it went into another POV which was also a flashback. I think that should really be something you reconsider. I love the fun of Maggie going back home and the LA band and the ex boyfriend stuff--love it! I really wish I got to know more in the query that wasn't based on a flashback. For your 250, the italics was really distracting in the sense that I had no idea where I was. Was this a blog post, an article she's working on, diary, or just thoughts? I think you have a great story here but am worried that a couple issues might deter some from reading on--and I'd want to read this!ReplyDelete
Lucky Punch: this query has a lot of backstory and with all the inspiring and suspenseful stuff going on--it needs to start with the story and get into the catalyst and stakes. Otherwise I'm wondering what is the story now--is it about her getting back on her feet or is it about her losing her footing and trying to regain it? But once again, there's a query with great plot and premise--I just wished it was tighter in a way that told me what's going on now and focused mostly on that.
Your 250 works to pull me in. It's intense and has a great hook at the end. since it's a flashback, it now has me wondering if the story does do a lot of back and forth? If that's the case be sure to make it clear in the query, so the reader knows what to expect.
This was another tough call and it's practically a tie but...VICTORY TO: OF A PALM BEACH PERSUASION