Jun 15, 2015

QK Round 2: Elephants Never Forget v. Paranormal Fear

​Entry Nickname: Elephants Never Forget
Title: THE IVORY NEEDLE
Word Count: 72K
Genre: YA Contemporary Fantasy

Query:

Coming from such different worlds, Chessie Charlton and Daniel Jomo Olanga should never have crossed paths.

Which would have been just fine with Denver teen Chessie. Bad enough Mom’s shipped her off to spend a summer with her ancient grandmother in middle-of-nowhere, Kenya. No phone. No friends. No fair. But when Chessie’s contacted by the spirit of Jhelani, an eons-dead elephant matriarch, things take a total left turn toward weird. Filling Chessie’s head with cryptic songs—and totally flipping her out—Jhelani’s message slowly emerges: save the last of her once-immortal tribe before their species vanishes forever and the Earth pays a deadly price.

Meanwhile, Kenyan teen Daniel can’t feed his family when his crops fail. Desperate for work, he’s coerced into a gang of poachers with their sights set on a huge payday: the remaining elephants of Jhelani’s tribe. Just this one job, he swears. Then he’ll find honest work. Hold his head up again.

By the time Chessie gets over herself and agrees to help Jhelani’s tribe, the poachers are closing in. With elephants charging and bullets flying, Chessie’s taken prisoner and her world and Daniel’s collide. To survive, Chessie must conquer her fears and seize any opportunity (and any rifle) to escape. And Daniel must decide where he’ll draw the line: thief, poacher, or accessory to murder.

The IVORY NEEDLE is told from the alternating viewpoints of the two protagonists.

​First 250

When your family falls apart, I suppose you shouldn’t expect anything to be the same again. Not even your mother’s smile.

Mom’s goofy I-love-my-life smile hadn’t been seen in months, and I’d become all too familiar with the distant impostor that had replaced it. But the smile she wore right now? Pretty sure I’d never seen that one before. Like something you’d grab at the mall without stopping to try it on, it was too tight and way too bright.

I winced and eyed the kitchen table, covered in our favorite foods. Mom’s cooking and smiling? My mouth watered, my stomach rumbled, and my heart clenched. Something wasn’t right.

“Roast chicken? Dibs on the drumstick,” Bent shouted, slamming his scrawny ten-year-old frame into the chair nearest the chicken. He leaned in, freckled nose practically up the bird’s butt, and took a deep melodramatic sniff. “Look, Chessie, your favorite mac-n-cheese, too.”

“Are you sure this isn’t a mirage?” I teased. I dropped into the chair across from him and watched Mom pull something else from the oven, her hair frizzed out in all directions from cooking in the early summer heat. “Mom? What’s going on?”

She set a tray of steaming cornbread on the table and sat down. “How would you kids like to meet your great-grandmother Esther?”

Bent whooped. “Does she still live in Africa? I want to meet her!”

I paused, forkful of mac-n-cheese halfway to my mouth. My stomach felt hollow.

V.


Entry Nickname: Paranormal Fear, An Exorcist's Murder Trial
Title: King of Skins
Word Count: 91K
Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy

Query:

Zhao Ling, a flippant St. Louis criminal defense attorney, faces the toughest case of his career: acquitting an accused murderer who only has a supernatural alibi.

His client, Wayne Liebesman, is a professional exorcist whose only crime was banishing a spirit from an already dead body. So it only looked like he bludgeoned an old man to death. Who wouldn’t believe that? Zhao certainly doesn’t until he’s visited by his client’s employer and paranormal mob boss, The King of Skins. As a body lender, The King allows anyone to take a ride in someone else's body for a price. Knowing that Wayne might cut a deal with the FBI’s classified, paranormal task force, he threatens to add Zhao to his collection of skins unless Wayne is found innocent.

As if things couldn’t get worse, Zhao is kidnapped and taken to St. Louis’s hidden supernatural underground, a bizarre place of preternatural street thugs, obsidian guardians, and emotion brokers. There he is confronted by a rival paranormal gang leader, a broker by the name of Lady Sorrow. She reveals that Zhao’s life isn’t the only one on the line. The King has made a deal with a horror from outside our reality, and if left unchecked, he’ll unleash a plague of otherworldly monsters upon humanity. Now Zhao must be prepared to sacrifice his own life and the freedom of an innocent man to prevent all of mankind from joining the King’s collection.

First 250:

The King of Skins strolled into my office late one night, the lingering scent of death his cologne. I had forgotten to lock my office door. Not that it would have made a difference, not to him. I’ve dealt with murders, rapists, and gang lords, and yet something about the man made the lizard part of my brain scream at me to flee in horror.

Of course, when confronted with such an auspicious character it’s only appropriate to address him correctly, “Who are you and what the hell are you doing in my office at eleven p.m.?” No one has ever accused my mouth of coordinating with my brain.

He stared down his nose at me as if I were a nasty stain on his alligator skin suit. I felt a flash of heat. No one disrespected me in my office no matter how piss your pants scary I found him. Without as much as a “may I?” he sat in the chair opposite mine. Off came his fedora. The dim light glinting off his brown skin stretched too tightly across his clean-shaven skull.

“Mr. Zhao Ling?” he asked. I nodded in response. “You recently agreed to represent Wayne Liebesman in his murder trial. He is a very useful contractor of mine, and you will acquit him.”

“Well Mr.­—”

“I am called The King.” His eyes glowed faintly in the dark like two smoldering coals, “The King of Skins.”

“Okay, that’s just plain weird,” I muttered under my breath.

19 comments :

  1. Judges, please vote as a reply to this comment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ELEPHANTS NEVER FORGET

      Still not really "hooked" by your query's hook - two people that "should never have crossed paths" isn't enough to draw me in. So what? Now, if you'd have started with something like, "If it weren't for the thousand-year-old elephant matriach's instructions, Chessie & Daniel would have never crossed paths" THEN that gives me something that makes me sit up and pay attention. It's unique.

      The first 250 does a nice job introducing the characters and hinting at the conflict.

      I really like the comparison between mom's smile and something you'd grab at the mall w/o trying it on. Be careful with your beats and body language - your characters are doing a lot of little actions/movements that can slow down the pace.


      -vs-

      PARANORMAL FEAR, AN EXORCIST'S MURDER TRIAL

      I don't recall if this was in the earlier query, but the line about "Knowing that Wayne might cut a deal with the FBI's classified, paranormal task force" confused me. I'm also not clear on the connction between the third paragraph and the second; what is it that Lady Sorrow expects Zhao to do?

      The first 250 gives us a great taste of the voice and tone. I'd definitely read on based on that alone.

      Only (nitpicky!) note is that "piss-your-pants scary" needs hyphens


      Victory to... ELEPHANTS NEVER FORGET!

      Delete
    2. Elephants Never Forget Query:

      This query manages to explain plot and show distinctive voices of the two characters, so way to go. I could go either way on needing that first line at all; you could begin with “It’s bad enough Chessie Charlton's mom shipped her off from Denver to…” But this is splitting hairs.

      First 250

      The opening here is sufficient, and the detail about going to see grandma in Kenya is good to add on the first page. The voice is appropriate for the genre and this reads well. It does lack a little something to me personally, and likely it’s the familiar setting of a family eating together and going about their day. The query has elephant poaching and rifles and high stakes, and this is a rather slow start. It’s completely your choice as an author how you want to present your story, though having read lot of contest entries outside of QK for the past few years, your beginning pages are so key. Showing something new, or something familiar in a new way is always the challenge. I would hate for an agent or editor to get impatient because the story doesn't really get started until page X.

      While starting in the middle of a ground war would not be preferable, starting out in Africa or at the crux of the decision to go to Africa might make for a more enticing start.


      An Exorcist's Murder Trial Query:

      The first line is a great pitch with an evident hook. Nice! The follow up is to-the-point and reflective of the genre. Nice use of voice to go along. The idea of body lending is super creepy, and a mob boss King of Skins even more so. This is getting uber nitpicky, but you might be able to lose the first part of the third paragraph “as if things couldn’t get worse” and start right with “The King has made a deal with a horror from outside our reality, and if left unchecked…” You’ve got the hook, the world building, the voice—nailed it!


      First 250:

      The opening reflects the voice and tone of the query well. I liked the reference to the lizard part of the brain since King of Skins has a sort of reptilian feel already and it’s all setting mood and tone well. Right away there’s tension and voice and a strong idea of the story. I read urban fantasy and see this fitting in well.
      Victory to AN EXORCIST’S MURDER TRIAL

      Delete
    3. You’re presenting me with another super hard choice, with two excellent and intriguing entires here!

      Elephants Never Forget - The unique premise and compelling conflict really grab my attention. Very cool!

      I would love to see more depth to Chessie in the query. What strength does she bring to these challenges? What are her deep drives and goals? What’s her internal arc? Daniel’s is much more clear & compelling. Chessie comes off as kind of shallow because all we know about her is that she doesn’t want to go to Africa.

      In the first 250, I would love to see more voice. I think her suspicion of this favorite foods meal and her mom’s tight smile is great, and telling, but I’d love to get more of a feel for her as a character through her voice.

      Paranormal Fear - This sounds so creepy and atmospheric, with plenty of action and cool worldbuilding. I love the premise, and the hard choices you lay out for the main character are compelling. I want to see more of the gritty, supernatural underworld you hint at here. I’m definitely intrigued!

      In the query, I would cut back on the number of names mentioned (for instance, we don’t need to know the Lady of Sorrow’s name, even if it’s cool) and try to streamline and simplify a bit; I had to read twice to make sure I followed the thread of cause and effect.

      In the first 250, I think the writing could use a bit more polish. I like the voice and the details are great, but there’s some punctuation misuse and the dialogue doesn’t feel as strong as the internal narration.

      These both sound wonderful, and it’s a very hard choice. Since I have to pick one, I’m going with...

      VICTORY TO ELEPHANTS NEVER FORGET!

      Polish level was the deciding factor. I hope you both get tons of requests! Good luck!

      Delete
    4. Elephants:

      Honestly, I have very little to say here. The query is extremely clear. The stakes are high and easily identifiable. I am curious how your two MCs will actually meet and interact - do they need each other to survive? Adding that would help but otherwise, A+. The 250 is also great. Lots of voice and I love the way you describe the mother's smile. I'd be curious how this contrasts with the other character's opening chapter.

      Paranormal:

      Thank you for writing an Asian main character who isn't a stereotype. Zhao sounds like so much fun and even though UF is something I read rarely, this hooked me right away. The query is pretty jam-packed, so you might consider simplifying, particularly the number of named characters. Also, it seems you have two villains? Nothing wrong with that, but it might need some clarification. I love the snarky voice in the 250 and the King of Skins is perfectly slimy. I know form reading the query that there is tension between these two characters but in the 250, it seems like a mild annoyance. Does Zhao recognize his life is in danger right away? I'd like a greater sense of urgency. Also, some of your phrasing is slightly cliche, just needs a little polish. Word choice is important!

      This was a really hard choice, but I think the fresher story wins. VICTORY TO ELEPHANTS.

      Delete
    5. Princess ButtercupJune 16, 2015 at 11:12 PM

      Elephants Never Forget

      You have a seriously strong query, but I would consider cutting the opening sentence. It feels generic; almost like you’re clearing your throat. Subjective note: “No phone. No friends. No fair,” strikes me as your MC being whiny. I’m feeling this again when I read, “gets over herself,” in the last part. I’m also the parent of a teen, so this might be why. Just wanted to mention it, as the agent you’re querying might have teens as well, but this is definitely a subjective observation.
      We’re also six sentences in before the Jhelani contacting your MC is mentioned. You need this event as close to the start of your query as possible.

      However, I love the rest of the query. I can feel the conflict and the stakes are well and beautifully stated. If I were an agent, I would request this in a heartbeat!

      The first 250
      I really loved your first 250! I’m not sure you need the first two lines though. I was much more captivated more by the third line. It does a fantastic job of pulling me into your MC’s perspective (and she doesn’t sound whiny at all—which makes me happy) and letting me hear her voice. Well done there.

      My only other word of critique here is the very last line, “My stomach felt hollow.” Nix the word “felt.” She’s getting tremendous news that she doesn’t want, so don’t put distance between the reader and her POV.

      There’s not a lot going on in your first 250, but I think the promise of Kenya and elephants and poachers is more than enough to get us past that. Just be sure to get us into the action soon after.

      Exorcist’s Murder Trial
      I really like the opening to your query! The hook does a great job of giving us a bit of character and reeling us right in. For some reason, though, the word “only” is sticking out to me. It seems that his supernatural alibi is both real and quite important. Using “only” seems to trivialize it. Just telling me he’s a murderer with a supernatural alibi might read a bit stronger. But I’m splitting hairs a bit, I believe.

      My only other question about your query is about what’s at stake for your MC. I get that he doesn’t want the world to fall victim to the King’s plan (who would?) but is there something personal at stake for the MC that might make him a little more willing to jump into the fray? What makes him/his response different from someone who might cower and walk away?

      And here is where subjectivity comes into play. The truth is if I were an agent I’d probably request both of these manuscripts. However, I can only choose one. Murder Trial piqued my interest and scratched just the right spot on my love for mystery and horror, but Elephants tugged at my heartstrings.
      VICTORY TO ELEPHANTS NEVER FORGET

      Delete
    6. Elephants Never Forget

      Query
      I really like that your story takes place in Kenya. It's great to see a story set in the non-Western world and hopefully pulling in other world myths as a basis. I'm also intrigued by the idea of a elephant ghost haunting one of the main characters.

      I suggest beginning your query with the line "Bad enough Chessie's mom shipped her off to spend a summer…." The first few lines don't advance the storyline and are just filler. Leap right into the conflict and show us what Chessie is facing. Also, what deadly price is the Earth facing? Be specific. What are the stakes for Chessie? What happens if she doesn't help Jhelani? What happens if she does? The stakes for Daniel are quite clear, but they aren't for Chessie and I think that's make the query a bit uneven right now.

      First 250
      You've done a great job bringing the scene to life with sensory details and starting right away with your inciting incident - the moment the kids find out they are being sent off to Africa.

      In general, expository statements that use "you" and "your" should be used very, very sparingly. I'm not sure they do anything for the story right now, especially as your opening paragraph. Your first page is far more interesting beginning in paragraph two. The line "Mom’s goofy I-love-my-life smile hadn’t been seen in months" immediately makes me start wondering why and has me wanting to read more. I also love the wording on that sentence and the general rhythm of it.

      In the second paragraph, consider flipping the second and third sentences. Otherwise it reads as though Chessie's mouth watering is in reaction to the thought of her mom cooking and smiling, rather than the smell and look of the food.

      An Exorcist's Murder Trial

      Query
      Yay for more diverse books! This has an intriguing premise and there's certainly a lot to like about a book that appears to be a fun mix of John Grisham meets Dean Koontz.

      While I quite enjoyed your query there are a lot of long, complex sentences with multiple clauses stacked one after another. It makes for dense reading and slows the eye. Consider varying your sentence structure a bit more in the query and simplifying where possible.

      In the second paragraph, consider rephrasing your last sentence slightly to avoid ambiguity. The "he" referred to in "he threatens to add" Zhao is ambiguous, perhaps replace it with "the King"?

      I really like the last sentence in your query because it lays out stark stakes for the hero and promises some juicy moral dilemmas to come.

      First 250
      Lines like "No one has ever accused my mouth of coordinating with my brain" really appeal to my sense of humor. I admit to being a huge Harry Dresden fan so irreverent investigators are a definite plus in my book.

      One suggestion would be to include a few more sensory details into this section. Sounds, smells, the taste of dinner making a return journey into Zhao's throat. Little details like that really bring the scene to life. Also watch out for cliches. Eyes that glow like smoldering coals skirts the cliche line so you might consider rephrasing that slightly. Overall, an intriguing start.

      Victory goes to - An Exorcist's Murder Trial

      Delete
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  3. Elephants Never Forget: Query - Look at ways to cut the query just a bit. It should be three paragraphs - two on the story and one about you(the writer). First 250 - Love that last line. :-)

    Paranormal Fear: Solid query. First 250: This being paranormal I make assumptions based on language. So, she refers to the lizard part of her brain and yet the last line she refers to The King of Skins as "weird". How is his title weirder than her brain being part lizard? This was literal but it's because of the paranormal label that we take a literal approach to things like 'lizard brain'. Good stakes and nice voice.

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  4. Elephants -
    I love the setting and the contrast implied by the two worlds is startling and filled with potential for meaningful conflict. From the query, it appears that these will be parallel stories, without much in the way of intersection between Chessie and Daniel. The collision has so many possibilities, I'm hoping that they come together, face-to-face, well before the end of the book, but that's not evident.

    The first 250 selection is inviting, but not much happens. The meal is used to convey some backstory, but it might be worthwhile to show at least the shadow of what is to come.

    Paranormal Fear -
    I like all the stuff going on in the query. The setup feels fresh, even as it resonates with other urban fantasies. In particular, it reminded me of a favorite, Roger Zelazny.
    It did feel busy, and I was forced to read it more that once or risk losing too much. If it could be simplified, it would be stronger. Also, since Zhao Ling is pivotal, it would be helpful (though not necessary) to include more of a sense of who he is in the query. He came through nicely in the 250, though.

    In the 250, the voice is clear and engaging. I am immediately pulled into the story and confident that the tale will be told with wit and power.

    Good luck to both of you!

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  5. IVORY NEEDLE: Your query is enticing! The stakes are set up and you have a great voice. However, it gets a little wordier than I think necessary - independent of the voice you've imbued your query with. The first paragraph contains 2 instances of great voice ("No fair" and "totally creeping her out"), but the 2nd comes off as excessive to me. I feel removing that 2nd one would tighten up your query and make it read more engaging without losing the voice you've nailed. Your 250 is spot on. I really like the changes you made (I read the first round) and everything is much clearer and tighter. We get to the stakes without getting wrapped up in exhibition and get a great sense of all three characters introduced. Good job!

    KING OF SKINS: Your query is interesting with a great layout of what stakes we can expect from your book. I will say the rhetorical question gave me pause but not enough to disengage. I was a little confused by the introduction of Lady of Sorrow since the King of Skins already seemed like a formidable antagonist and so would suggest leaving out the specific mention of her unless she's a key player. For clarity's sake, though you can still include the info he learns from her. Your 250: Flippant, indeed! Your MC is all kinds of joking but it's still fun. Depending on where you want to go with this, I might begin in a different place. Why not when he takes on his client charged with the creepy murder? Maybe reading an article in the paper and reflecting on his disbelief at the defendant's alibi. As is, when chapter one begins with the King of Skins entering we have very little to go on, and his presence doesn't scare us as much. We are told we should be scared ("Zhao's skin crawled"), without taking cues from the story you've so brilliantly set up in the query. I think if you began with a scene prior to this, showing us the MC's internal debate, it would make us creeped out first, then we'd jump at the knock on the MC's door from the King of Skins, rather than reserving judgement with the MC upon meeting KoS. Does that make sense? You've got a great hook and story but I think the opening could be made slightly stronger (creepier) UNLESS you have a flippant narrative the entire time. Good luck!

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  6. These both sound very interesting.

    ELEPHANTS - I think I'd like just a bit more information in your query about the effect on your two MC's when their paths cross. Do they actually change each other, or is it just that their paths cross because both their goals have to do with these elephants?

    SKINS - This sounds creepy. Your query read a bit like a synopsis. I think you could pare down some of the details and still give us the bones of the plot.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Elephants Never Forget/ The Ivory Needle

    This is a great concept. I love stories set in Africa. There are a few places in your query letter that seem disjointed. Like how the hook bleeds into the first paragraph, it reads like it should be one sentence and that causes me to pause. Also, in this sentence:

    Filling Chessie’s head with cryptic songs—and totally flipping her out—Jhelani’s message slowly emerges: save the last of her once-immortal tribe before their species vanishes forever and the Earth pays a deadly price.

    The information is presented out of order so I had to go back and reread this sentence to make sure I got its meaning. I would suggest trimming any unnecessary details in the query and just highlighting the main points of your story's plot. Setup the characters and what makes them unique in their world, introduce the obstacles that cause their lives to change, and show what's at stake for them to overcome these obstacles.

    The 250 is great. I like the voice and flow, it really draws me in. I see a lot of good writers struggle with their query letters so don’t take it too hard. Querying is more about marketing than writing, although adding your writer's flare helps. If you find yourself stuck on revisions for your query DM me on Twitter @demoness333 and I'll see if I can help.

    Good luck in this round!
    Jamie


    Paranormal Fear, An Exorcist's Murder Trial/ King of Skins

    This is quite an interesting premise you have here. There's a lot of fresh aspects you're bringing to the urban fantasy genre, that's awesome!

    I like your query letter; it sets up the world nicely and is chock-full of suspense, just watch out for your overuse of the word only. It comes up a few times in the beginning of the pitch.

    You have a very fun flow to you narrative in the 250. The setup seems a bit out of order to me though. In the first paragraph, The King of Skins is described like Zhao knows him but in the second paragraph he asks who he is. I did notice a few misplaced and overused commas, as well as a few ands that could be axed. Also, watch out for how sassy you make your MC, it feels a little too playful for an Asian male.

    Good job and good luck in this round!
    Jamie

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  8. ELEPHANTS: I like the way you changed your query with those last two lines - it nicely sets up the stakes. And I stand by the idea that I think you should incorporate your real-life research and time in Kenya into the query.
    PARANORMAL FEAR: This may be a genre preference, but I'm struggling with getting into this query and 250, and I think it's because my question is: Why do we care about Ling? He's described as flippant, he doesn't believe his clients and he doesn't seem like a person I want to get to know, except maybe when he's kidnapped. That said, the 250 is interesting, although I agree that some slight tweaks related to punctuation and word choice will make it stronger. I think the audience is there for this one.

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  9. Elephants - I like the idea of a storyline which encompasses saving elephants -- it's so timely. I also continue to love the voice: 'No phone. No friends. No fair.' In the opening 250, I liked the line about her mother's smile in the first paragraph. I also enjoyed the continuation of the sassy voice in '...freckled nose practically up the bird's butt.' I liked getting the chance to spend some time 'pre-adventure' with the mc -- before her life makes this dramatic change.

    Skins - This story line is so appealing -- I love the idea of a smart-mouthed DA and the noir-ish setting/tone. I do have a couple picky points: I'm still not wild about the rhetorical question. Also, for greater clarity, perhaps insert 'The King' instead of 'he' in 'he threatens'? Since there are four names included in the query, do we need the client's name? Would referring to him only by his job title work? In the opening 250, the first line is great -- it really drew me in and set the tone. Picky points: I'm not sure you need 'in horror' at the end of the first paragraph. Also, I think you need to hyphenate 'piss-your-pants scary'. This looks like an enjoyable read.

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  10. ELEPHANTS: Your revisions to the query are coming along nicely! I’d recommend losing the full names in the first line. I stumbled over them and think it would read more smoothly with just first names. I also found the second paragraph a bit dense; it changes quickly from the grandmother to the elephant, and that’s a bit confusing. I love the line “things take a total left turn toward weird!”

    First 250
    GREAT opening line. Beautiful descriptions of Mom’s different smiles! I don’t know Bent’s character yet, but his dialogue didn’t ring true to me as a 10yo boy.


    TRIAL: Interesting concept! I’d cut the line “Who wouldn’t believe that?” – we already get what you’re trying to say. I found the second paragraph a bit confusing; it’s a lot of information to take in at once. I think you could cut the line about the FBI; perhaps that’s not essential to your query.

    250: That’s quite an opening line! I’d recommend reading your first 250 out loud. I think you could improve the beats with changing where you start a new paragraph. For example, I’d start a new paragraph for the line “No one has ever accused my mouth of coordinating with my brain,” which is fantastic and deserves its own space on the page!

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  11. ELEPHANTS: Your revisions to the query are coming along nicely! I’d recommend losing the full names in the first line. I stumbled over them and think it would read more smoothly with just first names. I also found the second paragraph a bit dense; it changes quickly from the grandmother to the elephant, and that’s a bit confusing. I love the line “things take a total left turn toward weird!”

    First 250
    GREAT opening line. Beautiful descriptions of Mom’s different smiles! I don’t know Bent’s character yet, but his dialogue didn’t ring true to me as a 10yo boy.


    TRIAL: Interesting concept! I’d cut the line “Who wouldn’t believe that?” – we already get what you’re trying to say. I found the second paragraph a bit confusing; it’s a lot of information to take in at once. I think you could cut the line about the FBI; perhaps that’s not essential to your query.

    250: That’s quite an opening line! I’d recommend reading your first 250 out loud. I think you could improve the beats with changing where you start a new paragraph. For example, I’d start a new paragraph for the line “No one has ever accused my mouth of coordinating with my brain,” which is fantastic and deserves its own space on the page!

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  12. Elephants: I love the way your first 250 opens – the voice is spot on, the language rich and welcoming. To be honest, I didn’t expect to enjoy your 250 as much as I did from your query. Which isn’t to say I didn’t like your query, it just didn’t match up in voice to the first 250. This is something I’m currently struggling with in my own query, but I wonder if there’s a way you could incorporate the voice into the query while still giving the necessary info.
    Paranormal: What a cool concept! Love all the names. In first 250 I wasn’t sure about the “lizard part” of his brain, though. I read it and didn’t know if that were supposed to be a metaphor I was supposed to get or something that I’ll get later as I read the book.
    Such different, great concepts both!

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  13. I would like to offer a fond congratulations to my opponent. It's a great concept and a much more unique one then "the elf had to go conquer the ogre's kingdom." I see great things for you and thank you for letting me be a part of this competition!

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