Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Query Help Blogfest! Don't worry. I didn't magically forget 'P.'

For today and tomorrow, Quack comes before Panther in the alphabet. It's happening, people! Learn it, live it, love it! And stop by tomorrow for details about my Deathly Hallows Part 1 Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital Giveaway. Someone has to win. Might as well be you!


So,  Erinn, Holly, Pam, Quita, and Alicia are the hosts today. Pop around to the other queries and lavish them with your feedback. Here's the latest version of mine. *hands out red pens*



Dear Agent,
Katherine Wake transferred to Harrington Dove Academy to escape her parent-planned future and live on her own terms. She never dreamed her new life might kill her.   
A car crash throws seventeen year old Kat into the doorway of the afterlife, but it’s…a doctor’s waiting room? No harp pluckin’ angels or pearly gates. Just a smirking blonde by the name of Doc. She offers to send Kat back to the land of the living in exchange for one teensy, weensy favor. Steal the memories of a man who wants to talk about this secret place. That’s a big no-no, but Doc won’t say why.
Kat accepts, refusing to give up the life she’s fought her friends, family, and even her own prejudices to build. But her trip into the next life stamps a beacon on her soul that attracts new and deadly faces to her school, including the man she’s hunting. If she fails to hold up her end of the deal, Doc’s threatened to wipe Kat’s memory and push her soul into the next life. If the others get to her first…well, a future as Mom and Dad’s little doll looks like paradise pizza with Star Crunch sprinkles. 
My paranormal Young Adult novel DEADLY DARK DREAMS is complete at 66,000 words.
Thank you for your time and consideration.




Alright, darlings. Let's see those claws. :) Thanks so much for your feedback!


-Marie

14 comments:

Escape Artist said...

Hi Marie: Drop the first two lines, it's the next section about the afterlife that's your hook, and it also showcases your voice! Not too sure if your title matches the feel of this though. Something maybe to think about?
Good job. I'd request pages. :)

Charmaine Clancy said...

So many great queries showing up!
I agree with Escape, that you could drop the first paragraph. I'd also mention that if this novel is a humorous paranormal? The title does make it sound scary but the blurb makes it sound like fun. I like the fun version.
I found the second blurb paragraph about the deal, Doc, the memory, the hunted man, the deadly faces, etc a little clunky? It's good, but I think it could be tightened.
Great story, good luck with your query submissions :)
Wagging Tales - Blog for Writers

Holly Dodson said...

I'll be the voice of disagreeance. (Even though it's not a word. That's how I roll.) I like the first two sentences. It really sets up the stage for what's to come, and ties in nicely at the end.

I love this. I want to read this. Great, great job!!

Lori Ehrman Tinkey said...

Hi Marie, love your writing style! Hope this helpful to you:

Dear Agent,
Katherine Wake transferred to Harrington Dove Academy to escape her parent-planned future and live on her own terms LOVE THE IDEA, BUT THE NAME AND ACADEMY MAKE ME FEEL SHE'S PLAYING RIGHT INTO MUMMY AND DADA'S DREAMS. She never dreamed her new life might kill her.
A car crash throws seventeen year old NOT SURE ABOUT AGE HERE Kat into the doorway of the afterlife WELL PUT, but it’s…a doctor’s waiting room? I FEEL LIKE SHE'S HERE LITERALLY. No harp pluckin’ angels or pearly gates. I LIKE THIS, BUT KNOWING HER EARTHLY STATUS WOULD HELP ME. THE DIVISION BETWEEN HER BODY ON AN OPERATING ROOM TABLE AND 'HERSELF' IN A DOCTOR'S WAITING ROOM IN THE DOORWAY OF THE AFTERLIFE IDEA WOULD REALLY HELP ME STAY ON TRACK SINCE THE DOC IS, PRESUMABLY, ETHEREAL?. Just a smirking blonde by the name of Doc. She offers to send Kat back to the land of the living in exchange for one teensy, weensy favor. Steal the memories of a man who wants to talk about this secret place NEED A BIT MORE. That’s a big no-no IF TALKING ABOUT THE PLACE IS A BIG NO-NO, THEN DOESN'T KAT NEED TO BE EDUCATED ABOUT THIS FIRST, THEN TOLD SHE NEEDS TO EXTRACT MEMORIES SOMEHOW FROM SOME MAN WHO IS BLABBING (OR WHATEVER IS THE CASE)? LOVE THE CONCEPT; NEED A LITTLE MORE OF THE LOGISTICS, but Doc won’t say why.
Kat accepts, refusing to give up the life she’s fought her friends, family, and even her own prejudices to build SORRY, WHY DOES SHE HAVE TO DO THIS?. But her trip into INTO, OR NEAR? the next life stamps a beacon on her soul that attracts new and deadly faces to her school, including the man she’s hunting OKAY, BUT CONFUSING -- WHY WOULD THE BEACON ATTRACT DEADLY (MEANING EVIL?) PEOPLE?. If she fails to hold up her end of the deal, Doc’s threatened to wipe Kat’s memory and push her soul into the next life THS MAKES PERFECT SENSE ON ITS OWN, THOUGH. If the others get to her first…well, a future as Mom and Dad’s little doll looks like paradise pizza with Star Crunch sprinkles LOVE THE TWIST, BUT DON'T UNDERSTAND -- DOES SHE LIKE PARADISE PIZZA WITH STAR CRUNCH SPRINKLES? SHE WILL BECOME THE DOLL THEY WANT BECAUSE SHE WON'T HAVE ANY MEMORY? (BUT HOW COULD THAT BE, SHE WOULDN'T BE ABLE TO GO TO SCHOOL... WE DON'T KNOW WHAT THE EVIL FACES CAN DO, I GUESS).
My paranormal Young Adult novel DEADLY DARK DREAMS is complete at 66,000 words.
Thank you for your time and consideration.

mooderino said...

I don't think yo need the first para, doesn't say anything we don't find out later.

The line about little doll and paradise pizza felt a bit awkward when reading.

The title wasn't very memorable, and there doesn't seem to be much of a dream element anyway.

Strong central premise though.

Hope that helps.
regards,
mood
Moody Writing

Brandileigh2003 (Blkosiner's Book Blog) said...

I'd take out the first part, like the above commentators suggested.
I would give a bit more detail on the 'secret place' is it the big no-no or is talking about it?


Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

Lori M. Lee said...

Ditto what everyone else said. But otherwise, I think with a little tightening here and there, this is a pretty strong query. I love that Kat's voice really shines through.

Alicia Gregoire said...

I think the beginning of the 2nd paragraph is a stronger lead in, except I get confusion with this: "but it’s…a doctor’s waiting room?" I think it would read better as "A car crash throws seventeen-year-old Kat into the doorway of the afterlife. There's no harp plucking angels or pearly gates there though, just a smirking blonde by the name of Doc."

I feel like we're missing something important to the story, but not quite sure what.

Hope this helps.

The Writing Goddess said...

Dear Marie - please see below, either red ink or blood (whenever I'm edited, I always feel like it's blood. Mine.)

Dear Agent,

I picked your name out of a hat/because of your reputation in the YA paranormal genre.


17 y.o. Katherine Wake never dreamed her exciting new life might kill her.


As Kat's body hovers between life and death on the operating table, her soul stands in the doorway of the afterlife. Turns out, it’s…a doctor’s waiting room? No harp pluckin’ angels or pearly gates. Just a smirking blonde called Doc. Doc offers to send Kat back to life in exchange for one teensy, weensy task. Steal the memories of a man who's been blabbing too freely about this secret place.

Kat accepts, but there's a beacon on her soul attracting new and deadly faces to her school, including the man she’s hunting. If she fails, Doc’s threatened to wipe Kat’s memory and push her soul into the next life. If the others get to her first… (you want something even more chilling than having your memory wiped and being dead here. I like "paradise pizza with Star Crunch sprinkles" but that sounds FUN. Opposite effect of what you're going for in that sentence.

DEADLY DARK DREAMS is complete at 66,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sounds like a fun novel. Good luck!

KO: The Insect Collector said...

Hi Marie,
thanks so much for the comments on my query-- I really appreciate it.

Here's my two cents. My standard disclaimer is that I am a big query-shark groupie. I realize not everyone is. So, take that into account.

Dear Agent,
Katherine Wake transferred to Harrington Dove Academy to escape her parent-planned future and live on her own terms [dove academy makes me think... it's for birds. It may be overly confusing. Parent-planned future also tripped me up, what about "the future her parents have planned"?] . She never dreamed her new life might kill her. [I like this]
A car crash throws seventeen year old Kat into the doorway of the afterlife, but [instead of harp-pluckin' angels and pearly gates, it's the waiting room of a smirking blonde named Doc?] She offers to send Kat back to the land of the living in exchange for one teensy, weensy favor. Steal the memories of a man who wants to talk about this secret place. That’s a big no-no, but Doc won’t say why.
Kat accepts, refusing to give up the life she’s fought her friends, family, and even her own prejudices to build. [a little confusing. I think this is a case of you knowing all the details, and trying to catch us up with shorthand. Can you flesh it out just enough to allow us to keep up?] But her trip into the next life stamps a beacon on her soul that attracts new and deadly faces to her school, including the man she’s hunting. {can you inject more voice here? I'd love to know if she's thinking: yikes, I'm scared out of my socks that these evil folks are at my school, or if she's the type of character to think: evil at my school? bring it on!) If she fails to hold up her end of the deal, Doc’s threatened to wipe Kat’s memory and push her soul into the next life. If the others get to her first…well, a future as Mom and Dad’s little doll looks like paradise pizza with Star Crunch sprinkles.
My paranormal Young Adult novel DEADLY DARK DREAMS is complete at 66,000 words.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
[really interesting premise-- can't wait to see how it comes together!}

Kalen O'Donnell said...

Heeeey, I've seen this floating around the blogosphere in various contests and what not. So glad to see what its about! First off, you have a great premise and a KILLER voice. I predict great things! Cuz I'm totally psychic yo.

I do like the first paragraph, but don't switch tenses in your query and its a little bland compared to Kat's spanktastic voiceover in paragraph two. Maybe instead of the sentence "She never dreamed her new life might kill her" you could try something like:

"Katherine Wake transfers to Harrington Dove Academy to escape her parent-planned future and live on her own terms. Buuuut it kind of backfires.

Like the car that throws the spunky seventeen year old into the doorway of the afterlife. Which bears an anticlimactic resemblance to....wait for it....a doctor's waiting room. No harp pluckin' angels or..."

You get the idea. Keep the question marks out of your query. You don't need them.

Only other thing is I don't know if I'm sold on the line about 'stamps a beacon on her soul'...as its a little hard to conceptualize/visualize and pulls me out of an otherwise VERY engaging read.

Great work though! I'd read on!

RosieC said...

Hi Marie,
Really interesting idea. I love that "Doc" is waiting on the other side :)

First--my little nit-pick moment--don't use the ellipsis in the second paragraph. Ellipses aren't used for adding tension or space or time, but for holding missing information, which is not the case here. In that same vein, I would replace the question mark at the end with a period. I know it take a little something away from the voice, but it feel a little hockey, like you're trying to force the surprise on the reader when it's already surprising.

I have to admit I got a little lost in all the details of the last paragraph. I also don't understand the last line about pizza and Star Crunch sprinkles. What does that mean in terms of describing her future?

Again, I really like the idea, and I think you can have a really strong query. It just needs a little tweaking.

Thanks again for your comments on my query!

Rosie
East for Green Eyes

Erinn said...

I was lost a few places here... "but it’s…a doctor’s waiting room? No harp pluckin’ angels or pearly gates. Just a smirking blonde by the name of Doc." Trim up, decribe Doc more than a smirking blonde.

"memories of a man who wants to talk about this secret place." if the afterlife is a doctor's office, it's not that exciting, I don't know why this guy knows about the secret place, a doctor's office... Something about this just isn't working for me.

"next life stamps a beacon on her soul" word choice... it's confusing.

Overall I like the idea but it needs to be expanded on and fleshed out a little more

Sari Webb said...

Hi Marie, interesting premise. Sounds like you've got a good story here.

Here are my comments, and good luck!

Katherine Wake transferred to Harrington Dove Academy to escape her parent-planned future and live on her own terms. She never dreamed her new life might kill her. [This hook feels a little cliched, and I'm not sure it's the best way to open your query.]

A car crash throws seventeen year old Kat into the doorway of the afterlife, but it’s…a doctor’s waiting room? No harp pluckin’ angels or pearly gates. Just a smirking blonde by the name of Doc.[The detail about the dr's waiting room is interesting but it feels like set-up. Not sure it's neccessary for a query.] She offers to send Kat back to the land of the living in exchange for one teensy, weensy favor. Steal the memories of a man who wants to talk about this secret place. That’s a big no-no, but Doc won’t say why.

Kat accepts, refusing to give up the life she’s fought her friends, family, and even her own prejudices to build. [Why has she fought her friends and her own prejudices for this life? What's so different about it?] But her trip into the next life stamps a beacon on her soul that attracts new and deadly faces to her school, [This is interesting. I would try to cut back on some of the previous details to get to this faster.] including the man she’s hunting. If she fails to hold up her end of the deal, Doc’s threatened to wipe Kat’s memory and push her soul into the next life. If the others get to her first…well, a future as Mom and Dad’s little doll looks like paradise pizza with Star Crunch sprinkles.