Wednesday, June 15, 2016

QK Round 2: Meet Me at Lake Nevaeh vs. These Little Earthquakes

Title: Lost Inside Her
Nickname: Meet Me at Lake Nevaeh
Word count: 71,000
Genre: YA Thriller


Query:

For as long as seventeen-year-old Violet can remember, she’s had a voice in her head she calls Gabby. She’s her best friend. And to Violet, she’s real. But to her doctors and parents, the voice is a mysterious mental aberration they’ve tried treating for years with meds and therapy. But nothing’s worked.

Usually playful and carefree, Gabby’s visits are now filling Violet with unexplainable fear, and even making her dizzy and nauseous. Worried they’ll put her away for good, Violet keeps Gabby’s troubles to herself. When Neil joins her English class and they connect in church, his down-to-earth, gentle nature draws her closer. So close, she trusts him with her secret. And he’s the first to believe her.

But Gabby doesn't trust Neil. She rebels, causing blackouts and strange bruises that land Violet in the hospital, and now they want to send her for long-term testing. Feeling betrayed by everyone, Violet runs away with Neil to his reservation, where his grandfather performs a shamanic ritual. In a trance-like vision, Violet enters one of her own body’s cells and witnesses how her atoms’ electrons link her—through a long-distance magnetic force—to another person. A real person. It explains her blackouts and bruises. They’re really Gabby’s. And Gabby is in big trouble.

When police arrest Neil for harboring a runaway, Violet escapes in his truck. Now on her own to save Gabby, all Violet has to work with are cryptic clues about Gabby’s location and Neil’s intelligent dog. If Violet can’t save her, she not only jeopardizes her own safety, she risks losing her lifelong friend and the first guy who ever believed in her.

First 250:

Three days since I’d secretly quit taking my meds. Or was it four? This might have ranked as the stupidest thing I’d ever done. Huddled in the back seat of Dad’s SUV, I forced my eyes open. Swirling gray clouds dumped more rain onto the street, already flooded from a week of late-September storms.

That spot where Gabby lived in my head was empty. For now, anyway. After all her drama, insisting I “stop the drugs,” she hadn’t even popped in since I’d quit. Maybe it was better that way. Because just thinking about how weird she’d been acting lately made me sweat all over. Staring out the window, tears filled my eyes, blurring the falling rain. I didn’t even know my best friend anymore. I almost wished she’d never visit me again.

A gust whipped fat drops against the windshield, forcing Dad to slow down and lean forward. We crawled through the downpour and turned into the mini mart’s lot. While Dad ran in for drinks, Mom flipped down the visor’s mirror and applied that bright-red lipstick I hated. She saw me looking at her. “You still mad at me?”

“I was tired. I didn’t mean to yell.” I’d swear she was more concerned about being yelled at than why I was so upset when she woke me for church. I’d barely slept all night, and I really wanted to tell her why. Tell Dad. Tell someone.

Gabby’s mantra echoed: Keep it inside, where it’s safe with me and you.




VERSUS


Title: Where the Waves Go
Entry Nickname: These Little Earthquakes
Word Count: 64K
Genre: YA Contemporary

Query:

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Elliott has always run away from life. She drinks to escape her depression, fools around with guys to ease her loneliness, and hangs out in cemeteries to avoid the living. After she's dumped by the first boy she ever loved, Charlie's drinking spirals out of control. Her mother kicks her out of the house, so Charlie leaves her hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan, for the city of her dreams: Los Angeles.

Charlie is ready for a fresh start—the only problem is she has no money and no plan. Unwilling to go back to the place where everyone knows her past, Charlie sleeps in a lifeguard tower on the Venice Beach Boardwalk, sharing the space with a stray cat and a schizophrenic homeless man. Life on the streets is harder than anything she’s faced before, and she turns to drinking once again to numb her pain.

Fortunately, Charlie meets Les, an awkward 16-year-old gamer. Charlie crashes with Les when she gets sick, and they quickly develop feelings for each other. But without a job or place to live, Charlie doesn't have long to decide whether she should go back to Ann Arbor and face her addiction or stay in L.A. where she has nothing...except for Les. 


First 250:

The familiar sting slides down my throat as I take a sip of whiskey. It’s sharp and hollow at the same time. I don’t wince when I feel it, not anymore. Instead, I find it soothing, knowing the relief that the sting will ultimately bring me.

The music is loud, some rap song I’ve never heard before. Stacey Harrington stands right in front of me but might as well be a thousand miles away. She’s saying something about the new exhibit at the University of Michigan Museum of Art, trying to sound intelligent and cultured. Normally, I would force a smile and tell her about the time I went to the Louvre in Paris. I’d talk about how tiny the Mona Lisa is in real life and pretend to be sophisticated and discerning, despite the fact that Paris is the only foreign city I’ve ever been to and it was back when I was ten.

But I don’t feel like playing that game. I haven’t felt like it in a while.

Stacey’s blonde hair is up in the highest ponytail imaginable, and over the top of her head, I see someone step through the front door. Suddenly, I don’t hear the music anymore. I don’t see Stacey, or smell the scent of booze and mildew, or feel the plastic cup gripped in my hand. Everything around me halts to a stop.

It’s Trevor.

His dark brown eyes scan the room like he’s looking for someone, the way he used to look for me.

16 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Meet Me: Congratulations on a really interesting premise! Now, here's my concern about how the query shares it: you're telling us Way. Too. Much. The last half of the query gets so absorbed in various events (running away, the shamanic ritual, the the cell discovery, how it works and what it reveals) that you start explaining the plot instead of teasing us with its essentials. Strive to make this query tighter. Include no sentence that doesn't do at least two of the following three jobs simultaneously: character detail; setting detail; stakes revelation. Every sentence must to at least double, ideally triple, duty, and in some places here, there are repetitive inclusions. The interior-ity of Violet's mind in the first page works well, and help introduce two layers of conflict: her relationship with her parents in the "outside world" and with Gabby "inside." I'm not sure that starting with the space that contains her being empty is actually the best use of setting and stakes development... we need to know as soon as possible that Violet is very much NOT alone, and Gabby's mantra might not be enough by itself to reinforce this clearly.

      These Little Earthquakes: Your query focuses on Charlie's unhappiness and bad choices, but it doesn't give us much of a sense of WHY she's in this state. Has something happened to her? Has she always struggled with a pattern of self-inflicted pain and self-loathing? A character wallowing in alcohol and bad decisions without an apparent reason, and therefore without a sense that they have the agency to change that in any way, doesn't set the reader of this query up with stakes that feel still in the balance. I read the first paragraph and felt that Charlie's fate was decided. At the end of the query, I see she's temporarily housed with an almost-stranger... and, yeah, her situation is entirely at his mercy and her own penchant for bad decisions. It looks like there's no hope of a positive ending, and so I don't feel compelled to follow Charlie's story. And here's the rub: this story may actually have a bad end for her, or a good one, and I WOULD read it willingly and happily either way, if only I felt that Charlie was the sort of character who would take meaningful agency. This query isn't dangling that thread of hope, however ill-placed, before me. The first page largely reinforces the impression that Charlie isn't driven to do anything but disengage. The arrival of Trevor suggests she may have a little life left in her, a bit of interest, but weighed against what the query promises me of the future, I don't count on it for much. I think your entry needs a query that will put the reader on tenterhooks about Charlie -- not put the reader on the downward slope without much sign of change.

      It's victory to Meet Me at Lake Navaeh, by a nose!

      Delete
    2. Meet Me at Lake Nevaeh: Your query is clear and concise, and you show the stakes well- though isn't not clear exactly what sort of trouble Gabby is in, so you may want to consider expanding upon that. It would add excitement and tension to the query. You may also (if you haven't already) want to consider getting a sensitivity reader from whichever Native American culture is portrayed in the book.

      Your first 250 read really well; great job there!

      These Little Earthquakes (love the nickname; I assume/hope this is a Tori Amos reference. Such a great song and album): Your query is in pretty great shape already; well done! The one thing I wondered was what in Charlie's past drove her to drinking, though I'm not sure you necessarily need that information in the query. Maybe a tad more background would help us understand her motives, though.

      Your first 250 are beautiful, and I felt a connection with your MC right away. I wanted to keep reading!

      This was a really close one, as both entries are pretty polished already. I felt one page pulled me in just the tiniest bit more than the other, so...

      Victory to THESE LITTLE EARTHQUAKES!

      Delete
    3. MEET ME AT LAKE NEVAEH:
      Um, wow! I actually forgot I was reading a query while reading yours. And then, when I got to the end of the third paragraph, I got the chills. Great job! The last paragraph is the only one I'd consider brushing up a bit. It seems that you throw in a bunch of stuff, but I don't think all of it is necessary...and comes out sounding like a synopsis. I would suggest deleting the first two sentences of the fourth paragraph and end with the stakes. I would also consider being a bit more specific about the danger Violet is in. Great premise!

      As for the writing, I think it's nice and descriptive, and I really like your first line. (The second is distracting to me.) However, I feel like too much is crammed into the opening...it lacks focus. You jump from the medicine, to the car, to the weather, to Gabby, to the weather, to Dad, to Mom, to Gabby. I would suggest focusing in on your first line and not try to establish all of the characters, the setting, the weather etc... in the very beginning. I hope that makes sense, but also would want to read more!

      WHERE THE WAVES GO:
      I think your query is really well written and clear and concise. However, I'm not sure what the plot is. As it is written, all I can assume is that this is a journey from A to B to C (where she has to make a choice) and then on to D. I was really excited when you said L.A. was the city of her dreams...but that never went anywhere. Why is the city of her dreams? Is she an actor? I don't know that I'd be compelled to read this because I'm not really sure that I care enough about Charlie and her motivation or her situation.

      In the writing, while well-written, I'm not sure that the second paragraph has anything to do with the story. I don't feel like there's anything hooking me right from the get-go. I was hoping, after reading the query, that there would be a hook here. I get the feeling that maybe when she sees Trevor, that's supposed to be the hook, but it feels thin since he's not mentioned in the query...that makes me think this is just a bait and switch, but it's really hard to since we don't have more to read, of course. I want to know what is THE reason to read this book. I want it to pull me in...either the premise, or the character, or the promise of a great plot line. (Ideally all three.) Hope that helps. You do have a nice writing style and great themes in place.

      VICTORY:
      MEET ME AT LAKE NEVAEH

      Delete
    4. Those Little Earthquakes

      I liked much of the query, but was unclear about the stakes. It sounds like if she stays in L.A., she won’t have to face her addictions? If so, why? I was also unclear if she was depressed before being dumped and if she must constantly battle her moods -- or if she started drinking and fooling around with a succession of boys post-break up.

      The first 250 read smoothly and brought me sharply into the MC’s POV. The use of Stacey Harrington’s full name was a nice device to make it clear the two are not friends, just people in the same crowd. I would like a bit more setting – I’m curious where they are that smells of booze and mildew – but perhaps that’s coming next.

      Meet Me at Lake Naveah

      To cut back a couple of the pronouns used in the first paragraph of the query, perhaps revise: ‘…she calls Gabby. (she’s her best friend. And). To Violet, (she’s) Gabby’s real. And her best friend. But to her…’ Since every word counts in a query, I suggest cutting ‘mysterious’ before ‘mental aberration’ as unnecessary, and also cutting ‘even’. In the end, the stakes for Violet are clear, but some of the information included in the query was confusing. The phrase Neil ‘joined her in English class’ seemed odd. By ‘join’ do you mean he’s a new student? If so, perhaps fold that in? Also, Neil being arrested for ‘harboring a runaway’ seems extreme if he’s a peer of Violet’s. Suggest reworking ‘Now on her own to save Gabby…’ and trimming it back to get at the heart of the problem. The inclusion of Neil’s dog in the last paragraph was a bit of a surprise. Suggest trimming out or – if crucial to the story -- mentioning the dog earlier in the query.

      Intriguing opening for the first 250. It gives us an MC who has a lack of clarity and is unsure about the passage of time. Seems a good foundation to build – then banish – the reader’s doubts about Gabby.


      Winner: Those Little Earthquakes

      Delete
    5. Meet Me at Lake Nevaeh

      Query:
      Great concept. I think the query is working in general. My two suggestions would be: 1) see if you can tighten it by at least 25 words or so; and 2) the hook at the end is good, but doesn’t really highlight a choice on the part of the MC. Is there a choice she has to make in the end? Maybe between saving Gabby and saving Neil? Because it felt like it was going in that direction, but never actually said as much. Also, the line “And Gabby is in big trouble” is a bit vague. Can it be more specific?

      First 250 Words:
      I like the voice, but I wonder if this 250 is trying to cram to much into a small space. We have the mention of her meds, which is a great hook into the story. But then there’s a brief mention of Gabby, a fight with her mother, and some secret she’s hiding, which might or might not be related to any of the foregoing. Also, if it’s supposed to let the reader know that Violet hears an actual voice in her head, I think that element needs to be stronger. The one mention “That spot where Gabby lived in my head was empty” is somewhat open to interpretation.

      These Little Earthquakes

      Query:
      The premise could well be a compelling story, but I’m not sure the query is grabbing as well as it could. For one, the hook is presented as a choice between staying in a relationship or facing her addiction, but why can’t she do both (does the person she’s with not want her to get help)? And why can’t she find that help in LA? Also, the query doesn’t really present much of her journey or spell out what’s at stake. She hits rock bottom in the first paragraph and stays there. More compelling would be to show her downward spiral and to give the reason why she all of a sudden feels compelled to seek help (it states she has no job or place to live, but again, she’s been in that state since the first paragraph, so there’s no sense of progression).

      First 250 Words:
      Not too much to say here. This is a solid opening IMO. Some sense of general setting might be helpful, though. And maybe consider dropping “the way he used to look for me” down onto it’s own line (?).

      The 250 for These Little Earthquakes almost swayed me, and I do think at this point it’s a stronger opening, but the fixes I think are needed in Meet Me at Lake Nevaeh are minor, and to me the overall concept feels fresher and better laid out in the query. Therefore, taking into account the whole package, I’m going to have to say victory to MEET ME AT LAKE NEVAEH!

      Delete
    6. MEET ME AT LAKE NEVAEH:

      Most of the query is great. I love the concept and the speculative elements, and they're explained clearly enough that I'm not confused, while also making me curious about what's to come. The only things you might want to take another look at are: First, you say "When Neil joins her English class...," which makes it sound like they already knew each other? Except, you don't explain how, so I'm confused. I'd suggest adding a description of a couple words to say WHO Neil is: "When her neighbor Neil" or "When mysterious exchange student Neil" (I don't think he's either of those, but to prove a point) give very different impressions of their relationship. Who is he to her at the beginning of the story? Second, the mention of the dog comes out of nowhere for me... is this just a smart dog? Or is the dog a part of the magical/speculative aspect? Is the dog important enough to be needed in the query at all?

      Love the 250... the little details help build the foundations of your setting, and I'm already getting a bit of characterization for the mother. The one thing that kind of confuses me is... WHY is stopping the meds the stupidest thing she's ever done? Gabby WANTED her to stop taking them, and we know from the query that she doesn't really have a mental illness. So I'm not quite sure why going off medication she doesn't need is a stupid thing?

      My concerns remain about Native rep (and don't reservations have their own laws? Do the local police have jurisdiction? I honestly don't know, so if you know that is correct, no problem!), as well as the possible implications that medication for mental illnesses is a bad thing (that's kind of an ongoing trope in YA that CAN be damaging to teens who need those kinds of medications). Not SURE that any of this is going to be a problem, but I'd be reading with a careful eye.

      ***

      THESE LITTLE EARTHQUAKES:

      The query seems more or less perfect to me. The voice is great, it flows well, and while this is definitely a "quiet" concept, there are some very real stakes, and I love the idea of dealing realistically with addiction in the MC and not the parents, in a YA novel. My one question is "What, does the 16 year old live alone?" BUT... that's probably not NECESSARY to address in the query. If he does have a family, you might want to say "crashes with Les and his family," but... not a huge problem.

      There is something about the voice in your first 250 that grabs me immediately. Your character seems so lost, so out of it, that I find myself wanting good things to eventually happen to her from the start. The one thing you might want to play with is the first line. It feels a little lackluster to me. Maybe consider starting with a larger statement: "My life started to fall apart at Jane Doe's party." or a statement about what alcohol means to her at this point. "Whenever bad things happened, I could always count on whiskey to get me through" (OK, so both of those are pretty lousy sentences, but something LIKE that... something with a little more to indicate the significance of that sip, that party, that scene? Things do pick up after that, though, and again, I love the first 250 in general.

      ***

      Very touch call, I can see why votes are divided so far! But for me...

      VICTORY TO: THESE LITTLE EARTHQUAKES!

      Delete
    7. Meet Me at Lake Nevaeh

      Query:
      Solid. I like it a lot. You could cut the plot synopsis a tiny bit, but the final paragraph does explain the stakes, and they are fortunately high. I assume since Neil lives on a reservation that he is native American? Might be better to give us a bit more info on him.

      First 250 words:
      I like this a lot. I think it’s relatable and young. Honestly, not a lot to critique here. Query and words are very strong.

      ----

      These Little Earthquakes

      Query:
      This query gives us a lot of lovely character development, but in terms of stakes…I’m not sure they are high enough. It sounds like Charlie should go home, but I don’t think that is what we are supposed to think. I think we are supposed to hope she and Les face her fears together? I’m not sure. I like stories that are personal and I don’t need a lot of high drama, but this one seems to be missing any conflict.

      First 250 words:

      I like this a lot, and it’s very strong. I’d read more. I’m a sucker for a good redemption story.

      ---
      Both pieces have excellent writing. I’d like to keep “These Little Earthquakes” as it is more the kind of book I’d read, but the lack of stakes really has me concerned.

      Victory goes to: Meet Me at Lake Nevaeh

      Delete
    8. Both of these are superb. I can’t think of much at all to say about either the queries or the first 250 words. They are both excellent and I mean that.

      This is the SECOND time, I’ve been stymied and this is a much more difficult pick than the first time.

      Unfortunately, I can only choose one, and in this case, it simply boils down to personal preference. The whole idea of being possessed through a living person—a person who is in danger and is reaching through another young woman for help—absolutely blows my mind and I want to read that story!

      VICTORY: MEET ME AT LAKE NEVAEH

      Delete
  2. Both of you did a great job. I'm not a pro at this query stuff, but here are a few thoughts.

    Meet Me: You have some very fun stuff going on here. It's an interesting, catchy premise that could lead to a lot of tense and intriguing situations. Awesome. This is a small thing, but I wondered if thematically a shaman ritual and a vision of a an atomic connection and a magnetic field didn't mesh easily. Mentioning a ritual felt more magical or spiritual, yet the vision a little sci-fi. It's not a deal breaker, but may jar a reader a little. I wondered if you should explain what she sees in vision in a less scientific way. I also wondered if just a few more well-chosen words would clarify what kind of trouble Violet and Gabby are in? I like not knowing completely, but I'd love just a little more.

    Great writing. Fun stuff.

    Little Earthquakes: This has some high emotion, and a tough situation, which is great! Plus, I'd love to read what happens when sharing space with a schizophrenic homeless man. Really my only feedback is helping us rally onto Charlie's side early. Sure she has a tough life, but why are we routing for her to change? Is there something that makes us a little more sympathetic toward her? Why does she drink? Or perhaps just a little more of Charlie's voice would strengthen it.

    I liked your 250. I thought that getting a glimpse of Charlie not wanting to play games was a nice piece of voice. Is that something you could harness a little more in the query?

    ReplyDelete
  3. LKE NEVEAH
    I commented on this in Round 1. That time around, I was fascinated by the premise but a bit confused by the query. I think it’s much clearer and stronger now. There are still some further tweaks I’d suggest for further clarity though.
    1st line of the 2nd para: What do these “visits” entail? And “filling Violent with unexplainable fear” is both a little clumsily worded (inexplicable fear would sound better) and not very clear – is Gabby scared? Is she saying things to scare Violet? Or is she just triggering the emotion of fear from within her mind?
    “she rebels, causing blackout and strange bruises that land Violet in the hospital”– it sounds like Gabby is smashing Violet into doors like some sort of internal poltergeist, whereas later info sounds like it’s Gabby who’s facing injuries and they are just passing to her.

    I felt the rest of the query worked well, as did the 250.

    EARTHQUAKES
    Great query. Love the resonance and trauma of the second line in particular. Two relatively small comments – does she do something dramatic while drunk/to get drink to make her mother kick her out or does her mother just lose patience with her alcoholism? If it’s the former, it might be worth mentioning the inciting incident.

    At the end, I wondered why she had to go back to Ann Arbor to tackle her drinking problem, rather than doing it in LA, and whether her home town would be any more stable if her mother won’t welcome her back?

    Love the first 250, particularly the reference to how she always uses the same story when she needs to sound cultured.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Very strong entries both of you! I would love to read more!

    Meet Me at Lake Nevaeh:
    Was a little confused about “they’ll” in the second paragraph. I assume you mean her parents/doctors, but the nearest plural noun is Gabby’s visits, which is a little awkward but might work there as well. I would specify which one you mean. I would also be careful about the words “her” and “she” because you are switching between Violet and Gabby so often. For instance when I read: Neil joins her English class, I had a little hiccup while reading because Gabby was the last name mentioned. I might also clarify and punch up the discovery that Gabby is a real person. Gabby is a flesh and blood person! I imagine that discovery is startling to Violet and I wanted to get a sense of Violet's voice/surprise in the reveal. I also might delete the bit about Neil’s dog. It feels extraneous and little silly for the tense thriller atmosphere you are trying to create.

    I liked your first page! I love how quickly we become acquainted with Gabby and her mysterious behavior. One nitpicky thing is I didn’t think the car was in motion for the first two paragraphs. Something about the phrase “huddled in the back of the car” made me think she was alone and hiding out in a stationary car. Also, I might hold off on the fight with her mom. It is a lot of info to digest very quickly!

    These Little Earthquakes:
    In the end of the second paragraph you say she turns to drinking again, but I wasn’t aware that she quit at any point in time. Does she quit during the move? If so, I would love for that to be a little more explicit. Also, I am bit confused about how viable Ann Arbor is an option for Charlie throughout the query. In the first paragraph we learn she was kicked out, but in the second paragraph we have her “unwilling to go back,” and in the third is contemplating a move back. Would she have a place to go in Ann Arbor? A support system? Or would she be equally homeless and jobless there? Because if she has a support system, place to live, etc. in Michigan her choice at the end of the query seems like it should be a no-brainer. Is there another hurdle in going back to Michigan? Is it alcoholism? Her mother? I think defining the obstacles in choosing Michigan would be helpful in heightening the stakes of the conflict.

    I like your first page a lot. This really feels like a depressed person. I would actually love for you to use some of this voice at the top of your query, instead of just telling me she is depressed/lonely. Would love to hear in Charlie’s opinion what is so terrible about her life in Michigan. My terrible example: “Charlie can’t stand to be at another party talking about nothing, etc.”

    ReplyDelete
  5. LAKE NEVAEH

    QUERY: I like the first two paragraphs, and most of the third. But at “In a trance-like vision…” it feels like it becomes more of a synopsis than a query. Still, the first two paragraphs are strong enough to sell me on the story and the danger Violet faces.

    250: Awesome 250! I love the voice, and the use of quick sentences to convey the situation/ what’s going on inside the MC’s head. The imagery is great (like “gust whipped fat drops”) and it’s a very tense opening. Well done!


    LITTLE EARTHQUAKES

    QUERY: Much improved from last time! I like the added detail about the cemetery to avoid the living. I’d mentioned it read as more of a synopsis before, but now it seems much crisper and moves toward that decision she must make. The stakes are better and clearer.
    250: Very nice! Again, much improved. The pacing is great, as is the quick introspection of the character with the museum info.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Congrats to both for getting to Round Two!

    Meet Me at Lake Nevaeh

    This query is strong, and can be better with some tweaking. I’d delete the reference to church/school in the third paragraph (maybe something like “when she connects with new classmate, Neil”). Also, what is Neil’s “reservation” and why would he get in trouble for harboring a runaway? Isn’t he also a minor? When Neil is arrested, does she take his truck and his dog to go find Gabby? That’s what it sounds like, but I think you can do a bit more to paint a picture of this next step. Last, the hook is too weak - it uses really general language about the stakes and I think you can be more specific to show what she risks losing.

    The first 250 are also well-written, but the mention of the meds gave me pause. I would think that the meds would make Gabby go away, but it sounds like the opposite is happening. Great description in the third paragraph but it should be “hate” instead of “hated.”

    THESE LITTLE EARTHQUAKES

    I liked the idea presented in the first sentence, but the second sentence didn’t really follow - she’s drinking to escape aspects of life, but some of the examples don’t work because that’s not what they’re about (escaping her depression, easing her loneliness, etc).

    The following paragraphs are strong, but they’re not enough. The query is short, and you could develop the description and stakes a bit more. Effectively, Charlie is a runaway who is trying to get away from all sorts of problems. What’s the event/catalyst making her decide that she has to come home? What would happen if she just stays in LA and doesn’t decide for a while? I understand that this is likely about Charlie finding herself and her own happiness (though that’s not specifically stated), but more oomph is needed than that to have a hook that really piques interest.

    I love the first 250 words. They do a great job setting up the character and her life in Ann Arbor - including her need to belong and the introduction of the ex-boyfriend. I don’t have any critical points for this one, and overall the opening is much stronger than the query itself.

    These two were close, but for me, VICTORY TO MEET ME AT LAKE NEVAEH!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Meet: really liked the premise but the query told me to much. Like the back of a book cover, where I feel I've already read the best points in the book.
    These little earthquakes:
    Interesting read. She has a bad life, but I'm not sure why mainly, I need good things in the query to balance the bad.

    Great job, both kombatants

    ReplyDelete
  8. Meet: really liked the premise but the query told me to much. Like the back of a book cover, where I feel I've already read the best points in the book.
    These little earthquakes:
    Interesting read. She has a bad life, but I'm not sure why mainly, I need good things in the query to balance the bad.

    Great job, both kombatants

    ReplyDelete