Wednesday, June 13, 2018

QK Round 2 Match 6: This Wasn't in the Job Contract vs. Love in the Time of Proscuitto

Title: Warpers
Entry Nickname: This Wasn’t in the Job Contract
Word Count: 100k
Genre: YA Scifi


There are three rules for time traveling:

1. Do not double warp.

2. Do not interact with people from the past.

3. Do not allow the past to catch up to the present.

Unfortunately, 18-year-old Galileo Matox is about to break them all. By accident, of course. 

Galileo works for ScorpioCorp as a warper, traveling back in time to collect evidence of high-priority crimes. His latest mission? To identify a senator’s murderer. Seems simple enough.

But everything goes to shit before the mission even begins. Not only does the crew’s sabotaged warp drops them eight days prior to the murder, it also badly injures a teammate.

With his best friend quickly bleeding out, Galileo swaps his own warp suit for her damaged one and sends the team back to the present, initiating a (very illegal) warp within a warp. Now, Galileo’s stranded in the past—and in an alternate reality.

Enter Avaline, a gifted time-space scientist and daughter of the soon-to-be-dead senator. After negotiation (completely shattering Rule #2), Galileo and Avaline strike a deal: in return for fixing the warp suit, Avaline will get the chance to study ScorpioCorp’s highly coveted warp tech.

As the countdown to the senator’s assassination draws near, realities blur and timelines merge . . . and Galileo begins to realize he may be responsible for the murder. Except, Galileo’s not sure if he can bring himself to kill Avaline’s father, even if letting him live could result in an interstellar war. After all, sometimes it’s the smallest change that causes the biggest ripple.

If Galileo ever wants to see his team again, he must find a way to escape this alternate reality before the past merges with the present and unleashes chaos across the time-space fabric.

“Inception” meets “Minority Report” . . . in space, WARPERS is a YA sci-fi complete at 100,000 words with crossover potential.

First 250:


Temple City, Enora

Jumping back four days to watch a dog get hit by a hover car is a bloody waste of time. Unfortunately, that's my job.

I swallow an annoyed huff, miffed that Gamma team was assigned this joke of a mission. We could be solving that Leviathan kidnapping case, or figuring out who’s responsible for sabotaging the Interstellar Fleet’s dreadnoughts, or a million other crimes more important than identifying the license plate number of the asshole who ran over Senatori Gable’s pet dog.

Not saying said-asshole doesn’t deserve a dose of justice. But still—kidnapping case, or road rage mystery? One clearly carries more priority.

I wince as Takana’s too-loud voice crackles in my aud implant. “Hasn’t anyone told Senatori Gable live pets went out of style fifteen years ago? Droids are the newest rage. Especially droid horse racing—”

“Maybe some people prefer a living, breathing companion instead of a mass of circuits and synth-fur,” I reply, tracking the dog in question as it sprints back and forth upon the lawn of the senatori’s mansion. At precisely 03:25:00, the dog will leap over the shock fence, plant its furry butt in the middle of the road, and get run over by an incoming hover car.

Tilting my head, I can't figure out why the dog reminds me of something . . . something just beyond my recollection’s grasp. An echo of a half-forgotten memory. Doesn’t matter, though. I’m not interested in dredging up old memories right now. 


Title: Time Passages
Entry Nickname: Love in the Time of Prosciutto
Word count: 79K
Genre: YA Fantasy

Sixteen-year-old Gemma DiMarco was sure she'd found her forever love in Ben Hartwell, but when her unbalanced ex-boyfriend murders Ben then kills himself, Gemma is left reliving the awful moment day after day. With support from her best friend and close-knit Italian family, Gemma finally begins to accept that Ben is truly gone. Death is forever, right?  What’s done can’t be undone. Unless she could stop the tragedy from happening in the first place.

When a boy claiming to be her guardian angel comes into the family deli and says he can do just that, Gemma’s beyond skeptical. But with a touch, the boy subverts the laws of time and space, and sends her back to the pivotal moment leading to Ben's murder, allowing her to change the outcome.

Back in the present, Ben is alive. But so is Gemma’s ex, and in this altered reality,
 he’s still her boyfriend. Gemma believes, to keep Ben safe, she must find the original murder weapon and turn her ex in to the police. Meanwhile, due to Gemma’s time traveling, the family deli is going under and her parents’ once-happy marriage is headed off a cliff. With memories from her new life rapidly replacing the old ones, Gemma soon won’t remember the murder, the angel, or changing the past at all. She has only a few days to thwart her ex, get back with Ben, and save her family, before the old memories fade completely and her chance for a happy ending vanishes too.

TIME PASSAGES combines the romance of ABOUT TIME with the playfulness of THE GOOD PLACE. It will appeal to readers of THE GIRL FROM EVERYWHERE by Heidi Heilig or THE EDGE OF EVERYTHING by Jeff Giles. 

First 250:

Exiting the BART station, I book it three blocks to the deli, late for work. A breeze too cold for August blows in my face, making me hunch into my jacket. The low-hanging clouds, floating overhead like clumps of dirty cotton balls, do nothing to lighten my mood.

This early, the taquerias and fruit markets along Mission Street are still dark, but light glows from Poulsen’s Bakery. The delicious aroma drifting into the street reminds my stomach I skipped breakfast this morning. Baking bread and spices. Cinnamon.

A memory. Ben and me and a bag of cinnamon rolls. “Still warm, Gemma.” Buttery and sweet, we cut first period to eat them in the park. A cop car drives by and we duck behind the picnic table, fingers entwined, choking back the laughter. It’s so vivid, I’m back there, feeling Ben’s cinnamon-scented breath on my cheek, tasting the sugar on his lips. Remembering feels like a stab to the gut now, raw and fresh, because we’ll never have moments like that again.

“Good morning,”

The voice comes out of nowhere, jarring me back to the present. A boy pads along beside me. Talk and dark, a ring of keys jingles on his belt loop.

We’re alone on the street, with the deli still several doors down. I have zero interest in talking, so I smile, nod and walk faster. Take the hint, dude.

Nope. He quickens his pace to keep up. Why do boys think they can invade a girl’s space anytime they feel like it?


  1. Judges, please reply here. Good luck!

    1. This Wasn’t in the Job Contract
      Query: I very much enjoyed this query, especially the first few paragraphs. Starting with the rules drew me in right away. The pacing in the query slowed down a bit after that, I think just because it was so long and I’m not sure you need the final paragraph (I like the ripple line as the end), but it was still an enjoyable read.

      First 250: Your first 250 words was great. I really like the character and the situation you put him in. I also like how you give the reader that taste of the forgotten memory. The one comment I might make is that the dialogue seems more like it’s there to give the reader information than something the characters would actually say, but it honestly didn’t bother me that much.

      Love in the Time of Prosciutto
      Query: Great query. It really made me feel for Gemma. I would like just a bit more in paragraph two. Why does the guardian angel come to her? Is she special in some way? Was Ben’s murder special in some way? I don’t quite understand the rules of the world or why Gemma has been granted this second chance and it confuses the stakes a bit.

      First 250: I absolutely loved all the details you put in your first 250. It really made it so that I could see, smell, taste your world. I would have liked a bit more emotion from Gemma. During the memory sequence she seemed mildly upset but then she quickly became distracted by something else. I feel that if she really is willing to risk everything for this boy, that she would be more emotionally distraught now without him.

      Both these entries were awesome, but I thought the first one had a bit more voice and emotion in it, so victory to This Wasn’t in the Job Contract!

    2. Posting for Jumping Jellybean.

      This Wasn’t in the Job Contract
      Usually this kind of stuff boggles my mind, but you did a great job making time travel/ warp stuff easy to understand. I love the humor.
      The only thing I had a question about was this sabotage. Was it intentional? Was it from a rival team or the organization? I think we could use a bit of clarification.

      1st 250:
      Your first paragraph was perfect. Love all of this.


      Love in the Time of Prosciutto

      The first line feels overly dramatic. “Unbalanced” seems like an understatement to describe the ex. What set him off? I think we need a bit more information here.
      I love alternate realities and the ticking time bomb of forgotten memories!! These elements are great.

      1st 250:
      I love Gemma’s spunk. This is a great opening.

      VICTORY to This Wasn’t in the Job Contract

    3. This Wasn’t in the Job Contract

      Okay, there are some good improvements on this from the last round, but I still think there are too many paragraphs. Starting with a numbered list could work, if you group the rest of the query better so there aren’t so many paragraphs. Not counting the numbered list, there are 8 paragraphs, which is way too many for a query letter, even though they are short. It gives your query the sense that it’s unorganized and scattered. It’s actually not unorganized and scattered, but it appears this way when you first see all those short paragraphs. You want the very first impression an agent gets of this to be a good one.
      I would group the paragraphs starting with Galileo, But, and With (graphs 2, 3, and 4) all into one. Then combine the graphs starting with As and If (6 and 7) into one as well. You might be able to group it even further; this is the very least I would do as far as grouping.
      Also, be aware that 100,000 words is quite high for a YA novel, even a sci-fi one. This might be a red flag to agents, too. If you haven’t already combed through the ms extensively looking for places you can cut words, I would do that before submitting. The Word-Loss Diet by Rayne Hall is a great tool to use while trimming unnecessary words out of a manuscript.

      I really like this first page. It’s well-written, well-organized, and introduces us quickly and effectively to the world and the hook (that they’re able to go back in time to solve crime cases). Small detail—why is there a hyphen between the words “said” and “asshole” in the third paragraph? You don’t need this.

      Love in the Time of Prosciutto

      This query is great. Well organized, presents the conflict and stakes clearly and in a compelling way, and definitely makes me want to read more. Well done!

      I really want to keep reading this. You’ve made some good changes. I think the second paragraph could still use a bit of work. Saying the smells remind her stomach that she skipped breakfast is a bit awkward. Maybe re-word something like this: “The scent of baking bread wafts out into the street and my stomach rumbles, reminding me I skipped breakfast this morning. With the baking bread comes the smell of spices. And cinnamon.
      And a memory…”

      Argh, both of these are such good entries and I want to read them both. But since this is query kombat and I felt one query was slightly stronger than the other, I’m going to go with …


    4. Hi All!

      As always, this is a subjective business, so take what you need and leave what you don't :) I'll be starting with THIS WASN"T IN THE JOB CONTRACT

      Typically, I like to adhere to the "rules" of querying, and you starting with numbers definitely isn't typical! But in this case, I really think it works. I get a great sense of the rules in your world and why you needed them in the beginning (since your MC is bound and determined to break them all!). I like the concept of your query and think your comps are spot on. I would remove the ellipses after minority report. It seems a tad overdramatic for my taste (but then again, this is subjective!) On to the first 250, I liked the voice of Galileo and felt I had a really good sense of him as a person.

      The concept of this manuscript is so interesting! I'm not sure I've ever really read something quite like it. The first two paragraphs of your query are very strong. I loose the thread in the third, however. Starting with the sentence 'back in the present". I was under the assumption that Gemma was still in the past trying to stop Ben's murder. Does she stop it and then time progress forward? If that is the case, why is she looking for the murder weapon. I wasn't sure where the narrative went after she arrive in the present and how her past and futures were merging. Being as specific as possible when dealing with time travel is always a huge strength, I think. So try and lay out exactly what is going on, even if it seems obvious to you. I think the concept is stellar and definitely intriguing! So I don't want an agent to get to the part and wonder what is going on. On to the first 250, You've set the scene really well. I get a sense of Gemma's world and how she fits into it. Personally, I would be TERRIFIED if some random was creeping up behind me on a dark street, so props to her for not spray him with mace or something haha. I really enjoyed reading this , and thank you for sharing it with me!

      Victory for me goes to THIS WASN"T IN THE JOB CONTRACT, though it was a tough choice!

    5. The Queen of ThornsJune 16, 2018 at 12:21 AM

      Greetings, Kombatants! The Queen of Thorns here with some feedback on your entries and a vote. Please remember that my notes, like anyone's, are subjective and come with a side of salt.

      This Wasn't In the Job Contract:

      Query: Starting with the rules sets this entry apart, which is memorable in a good way. However, the subject-verb agreement issue in the 'Not only does..." sentence stands out, too, and damages your ethos in a way you can't afford when querying. Make sure you read your work aloud before submitting it to agents. Also, the final line of the query saying the ms has "crossover potential" is confusing rather than helpful because we can't tell what kind of crossover you mean. Age category? Genre crossover? And if so, with what?

      First 250: The Turkey City Lexicon (Google it; it's very interesting) can be a great tool for finding habits in writing that can stand out at problematic. The "As You Know, Bob" dialogue on this page is an example of a Turkey Cityism in action. I just can't imagine why the dialogue we get is present in this moment except to use the characters as puppets for conveying world-building information. Think of other ways to get that information in, if it really is important at this juncture.

      Love in the Time of Prosciutto:
      (sidebar: major ups for a hilariously "I see what you did there" nickname!)

      Query: I'm really interested in your concept and conflict... But I'm wondering why this is a YA entry? Yes, the MC is sixteen, but something about this storyline suggests to me you could explore the romance, and Gemma's concerns for her family and her parents, in very different, perhaps liberating ways if Gemma was, say, twenty and this was an Adult category title. I know this is a critique that's far outside the bounds of query content itself, but I thought I'd throw this impression out there. Perhaps it's just me being a curmudgeony skeptic and finding it hard to take the idea of a sixteen year old finding their forever love persuasive? My own possible biases aside, you might think about whether Gemma's conflict has a different emotional texture if she's just a bit older.

      First 250: The pacing here is melancholy, slow, perambulating. That suits the story and where Gemma is, at this point in the narrative, but it might read as melodramatic as an opening gambit? I wonder just how hard you need to lean into Ben being always in her mind, and if it needs to start immediately, especially if the idea is that she's finally getting a grip on his passing?

      This was a tough matchup for me because for various reasons, neither of these entries made me want to stop everything and really dig in. That's not a comment I make as an insult, but a data point to consider about whether or not my feedback indicates I'm the reader you're going for, anyway.

      Because the query is cleaner, my vote is for Love in the Time of Proscuitto.

      Good luck!


      I really like opening with rules list. Immediate attention grabber. Unfortunately, the rest of the query feels like it lacks focus, mostly because it's split into far too many paragraphs. I recommend combining the first three post-list ones ("Unfortunately" to "But everything goes"), the fourth and fifth, and dropping the second to last ("If Galileo ever") entirely. Ending with the previous paragraph and the ripple line feels like a much stronger, voicier hook.

      Two more minor nitpicks are an incorrect tense (drops in P3 should be drop), and that the "... in space" feels a little cutesy and might work better if you drop the ellipses. Other than that, it definitely sounds like a fun read!

      Opening line of your 250 is fantastic. The miffed bit in the second paragraph feels a little like telling when the huff and following line already show (but this is an easy fix). I think I'd like a little hint of what the dog reminds him of. Just some tiny detail beyond "something" to act as a nice hook. That said, these are all fairly minor as this definitely makes me want to read more. Good job!


      The bones of your query are solid and I don't have a lot to pick apart. I will say I think you could benefit by elaborating what exactly Gemma does, beside save Ben, that results in such a drastic altering of the timeline. Changing one relatively recent event sounds like it had ripple effects backwards in time, not just from that moment forward. That left me feeling a little confused as to how this all comes about. Why is she suddenly with her ex? How is this affecting her family's deli? Specifics relating to your plot's unique hook will go a long way toward pulling in a reader.

      Mechanically, your 250 is also solid, but, as with the query, it feels like it's lacking a proper hook. Neither the opening nor ending lines are immediately gripping to me. Perhaps clarifying at the end of the memory that they'll never have those moments again because Ben is dead could help. The memory itself is incredibly vivid and does a good job pulling me in, but without the proper context (which I have from the query but a reader picking this up in a store wouldn't), it doesn't do much to keep me there.


    7. THIS WASN’T IN THE JOB CONTRACT is the first of two query’s in this Time Travel battle royale. I was immediately drawn to the rules of time travel right at the beginning of this query. They provide an excellent hook. My only wish is that I understood them better. I’m not entirely sure what a double warp is, or why they cannot conduct one. If it’s travelling forward in time from the past, then how would they ever prevent the present from catching up? I’m sure it’s answered in the manuscript, but it confused be in the query.
      I love the idea that the protagonist may have been responsible for this murder, and the feeling of nostalgia in the first 250 also makes me wonder and draw up some cool theories. I also like the conflict presented by the Senator’s daughter being Galileo’s only ally.
      Lastly, I wasn’t sure where you were going with the “crossover potential” in the last sentence.
      The first 250 is interesting to me. Galileo comes off as very jaded and world worn for his eighteen years, but it definitely caught my attention.
      LOVE IN THE TIME OF PROSCUITTO sets up a vision of why it’s a terrible idea to play around with time. In order to fix her past, and try and get Ben back Gemma DiMarco makes a deal to go back in time and try and prevent a tragedy. I like all the grounds this story has to explore, even without the super cool Butterfly Effect element of things getting screwed up by her efforts.
      One thing I’m interested in is why the deli is going under and her parent’s once happy marriage is going downhill in version two? I’m assuming this is a direct result of different actions that Gemma took when going into the past. I wonder if you might be able to work these into the query.
      The set up in the first 250 words reveals a lot about Gemma. It hints at that tragedy that happened and is shown by her distrust of the boy following her.
      Both of these stories have high points to me, and I’d want to pick up either one of them. This is definitely one of the more difficult matchups for me, but…

  2. (I’m a fellow Kombatant leaving feedback.)


    Voice is clearly one of your strength—conflict is another. Great job with this lengthy yet compelling query. It demanded and kept my attention.

    But I have a question and a minor suggestion. [1] At the beginning of the query, for the sake of context, why is the senator’s murder a high-priority crime in the greater scheme of things? Hmm… Maybe you left out the answer to show that Galileo doesn’t ask questions about his assignments. [2] Change “drops” to “drop,” in order to stick with the right tense and structure for that kind of phrase.

    First 250:
    On one hand, I’m surprised Galileo argues against Takana’s statement about real-life dogs. Especially after he didn’t care about the dog being killed or the family losing a member. But on the other hand, it’s interesting how Galileo’s internal dialogue contradicts what he says out loud. To me, that shows he considers all sides, even when he doesn’t agree with them. That’s really good. And for the last paragraph, I’m even more intrigued. I wish I could read more right now.


    I really like "Love in the Time of Prosciutto." I'm not sure if it would work perfectly as a title for your story, but I think it's stronger than "Time Passages." Of course, that's only one opinion, so please ignore if you disagree.

    Woot woot! The characterization, conflict, and stakes are clearer than before.

    For the comp titles, I still don’t get a playful feel from the query, so I don’t understand “The Good Place” being one of your comp titles—unless the grittiness in the query doesn’t truly match the manuscript. Other than that, great job!

    First 250:
    Is “BART” one of your darlings? :-P Of course, it won’t make-or-break your story if you keep “Bart station” instead of “train station,” so no worries. This opening is strong, and I want to read more.

  3. This Wasn't in the Job Contract
    Query: I still think this whole query is really tight. I get a very clear sense of the story and the stakes. The only things I’d change are, you have one small typo: “Not only does the crew’s sabotaged warp drops them.” It should be “drop them.” And I don’t think you need the final line (before the comps). The “If Galileo ever wants...” It sort of undermines the larger stakes you set up right before that, about murder and interstellar war. Arguably, seeing his team again is not as compelling. Plus, “the smallest change that causes the biggest ripple,” is a really great line. I’d end on that. Other than those two little things, really, really good job!

    First 250: I didn’t have an criticisms the first time around, and I don’t this time either. It’s compelling opening, and I think anyone who picked up this book would keep reading.

    Love in the Time of Prosciutto
    Query: For the most part, this query is really clear. The only thing I’m not clear on is the connection between the deli going under, her parent’s marriage, and time travel. Not sure if you have enough space in the query to explain this. Sometimes, that’s really hard to do. Even without the part about her family, the stakes are compelling enough, so you could take the extra details out.

    First 250: I like the subtle changes you made. The reader gets the idea that something bad happened to Ben, but you don’t give all away immediately. Good opening!

  4. Not in the job contract:

    I don't know how to feel about starting with a list formatted like this. I think I like it, but I'm not totally wild about it. It is voicey and world building, so my hunch is that it's ok, but I just have no idea how an agent would react to it?

    Not only does the crew’s sabotaged warp *****drops***** them eight days prior to the murder, it also badly injures a teammate. < I think it's "drop" since "warp" is a singular.

    The transition of "teammate" becoming "best friend" feels abrupt to me. Yes, technically it can be both, but I feel like it's important to know she's his bestie right away.

    I am having trouble with the concept of a double warp as you describe Galileo (awesome name) doing. Isn't that just... going to the past and then going back to the present? Is he *supposed* to just wait it out? The concept of an alternate reality totally makes sense to me but might trip others, since I think it's because they changed something with the double warp and created a ripple effect? If that's not correct, more explanation (or just let the alternate reality thing not be in the query maybe?) might be necessary.

    How can Avangeline fix tech which she still needs to study? Is she going to study *while* she fixes?

    I *do* sort of wonder if this is super YAish? It's a bit long for YA and the voice (especially in the first page) sounds pretty adult to me, and were I not told it was YA I would think it was sort of Time Travelling Dresden Files.

    Your first 250 are fine. Just REALLY dark. This is the age of The Hunger Games, however it's a dog. It's possible I'm weird here, so take that with a grain of salt. It does get us into the world and the voice quickly.


    P1: Cool. I think you release the tension when you tell us that Gemma accepts Ben's death, and we need to be building tension here. You might want to use that space to tell us something more about the consequences of Gemma's reliving, or Ben's murder.

    P2: Cool, good.
    P3:The first sentence is fine. Second sentence, though, if Ben is alive, how is there still a murder weapon, and how does Gemma plan to turn her ex in? The ex hasn't done anything yet? After the world "meanwhile" everything is great, though.
    First 250: Good. Into the action, good handle on the voice, Ben introduced immediately.

    Good job guys!

  5. Fellow Kombatant feedback (so feel free to take / leave whatever advice I give!):

    This Wasn’t in the Job Contract

    I absolutely love the voice in the Query and the pages. Galileo is a likable character & just the kind of person you want to follow through his adventures. The only question as to the query is: if you can’t let the past catch up to the present & you’re not allowed to warp back to the present after warping back in time, then how are you supposed to get back to the present? I’m sure there’s a simple answer, but it just needs clarifying.

    In the pages, I love the way it ends on the question of why is it that the dog reminds him of something. It’s a nice little foreshadowing that I’m sure will be very satisfying when it all comes together.

    Besides the warp within a warp question, I don’t have anything else to add. Great job!

    Love in the Time of Prosciutto

    The query is brilliant. I connect with Gemma’s dilemma & the stakes keep getting bigger—perfect. I love the comparisons. Although the playfulness of THE GOOD PLACE doesn’t really come across in the query or the first 250. The tone seems rather serious to me. So either get the tone to match the comparison, or ditch it. You don’t need it to grab an agent’s attention—your story does it just fine by itself.

    The first 250: This didn’t grab me as much. I don’t know the BART station, and I don’t know the phrase ‘booking it’ though I assume it means running fast. I am British, though. And if you’re running because you’re late then can you really hunch into your jacket? And then the descriptions feel lazy & meandering rather than reflecting her sense of urgency because she’s late. Maybe have her not caring that she’s late? Then the descriptions will make you feel her distracted state of mind & lack of concern for her work. Or maybe she can be running & agitated that she’s late, but then get blindsided by the cinnamon smells coming out of the bakery? I feel like I’m being really persnickety, but the discord makes me feel disconnected from Gemma, which is absolutely not what you want your opening to do. Also there's a little typo--you've written talk, where I think you mean tall? No biggie though.

    I really like the premise, & it wouldn’t take much tweaking for me to feel fully immersed in Gemma’s character.

  6. Fake Invisibility T-ShirtJune 15, 2018 at 10:09 AM

    This Wasn't In the Job Contract

    The query is tight and engaging. Just one typo ("drops")--and if you're like me, you've already spotted it, the instant you hit send. I wondered why Galileo's second warp counted as "a warp within a warp," since how else was he supposed to get his team to safety? But the important part was that you spelled out that it WAS a dangerous risk...I'm willing to suspend my disbelief for the duration of the query. :) When he makes the bargain with Avaline, I was surprised she didn't want her dad alive. Does she not know he's about to get murdered, or does she really care more about tech?

    First 250 were amusing and voicey. Funny opening line and the dialog backed it up. I liked it that your MC immediately presented a counterpoint (a real live dog) to the current culture while also giving us insight into it. Great work!

    Love in the Time of Prosciutto

    Your query sparkles, especially once you get past the first paragraph. I think that slow opening build is worth it, though. Your concept immediately takes off and subverts our expectations. Only thing I stumbled over was whether she was literally reliving the murder, or just constantly remembering it.

    Effective first 250. You quickly pull us into Gemma's world and weave in a flashback without it feeling heavy-handed (not easy). Great job. I've got a few description nitpicks I'll toss out for what they're worth. In the opening sentence, BART and "book it" felt a little awkward--BART's not a commonly used acronym, and "book it" is a little impersonal, not very evocative. You might make the clouds "float" (active voice) "and do nothing to lighten my mood" since everyone is harping on active vs passive these days, even agents.

    "Talk and dark, a ring of keys jingles on his belt loop." This is a little awkward...the inner part of me that thinks I'm a copy editor wants to say it's a comma splice. Maybe an unclear antecedent? Also, make sure you tweak "Talk" to "Tall." :)

    Only other thing, a quick clue about the Ben memory slowing her down and making her stop might be helpful since she begins the scene in a big hurry. Nice job, I enjoyed this one.


  7. This wasn’t in the job contract
    Great opening! Loved the rules and the idea was really fun and cool. I had some questions, though. If they have to collect evidence (so they are futuristic cops) how do they do that without interacting with people (rule #2) isn’t that impossible? I also didn’t understand how “realities blur and timelines merge”. That seems vague to me. Isn’t he just in one reality? What is the alternate reality? If its key to the query maybe mention it.
    I liked these pages but they didn’t seem to track to the query as much as I would have liked. Also, I’m not sure if you were going for a lighthearted tone because the query doesn’t read exactly like that to me. Be careful of too much techie terms right away. Be careful of making your protag too snarky / whiny right away without a contrasting juxtaposition or two. Finally, the voice of you protag doesn’t read to me like YA.

    I liked the protagonist and empathized with her. I didn’t understand the story as much as I would have liked. Who is the angel and why is he coming for her? Just to do her a favor and save her situation? Also, I’m not sure I understand the basis of the conflict here – if he takes he back before the murder she can save Ben and warn him, and I guess do it over and over until she finds the outcome she likes, so maybe explain why the whole issue isn’t solved the second the angel shows up?
    Great great pages. I love them. Terrific voice, I really feel for her!