Jun 15, 2015

QK Round 2: Guilt by Association v. Twin for the Win

Entry Nickname: Guilt by Association
Title: Skeleton Key
Word Count: 80K
Genre: Adult Mystery

Query:

Locksmith and security consultant Foley Munion’s life starts spinning out of control when her felon father breaks out of prison. Though he claims he’s escaped to protect her from being framed, Foley suspects he’s really after one last score. Soon the police and FBI show up to question her about a bank robbery. Since Foley installed the security cameras at the bank, local cops are convinced she’s involved. To make matters worse, the current robbery mimics another heist at a bank where Foley also installed the cameras. During that crime, Foley’s business partner was taken hostage, her charred remains later found in the desert.

As the daughter of a safecracker and B&E man, Foley is used to police scrutiny, but this time she’s their prime suspect. With her locksmith business already on the brink of failure, a police investigation could be the final blow that closes her doors. Getting arrested won’t help things either. While the authorities focus on linking her to the robberies and her partner’s death, Foley hunts for the real perpetrator, hoping to clear her name.

The more she digs, the more Foley questions what she’s being told by the police, the FBI, and her father. When her quest to clear her name uncovers the person behind the robberies and murder, Foley finds her own life on the line.

First 250:

Foley Munion glared at the name on the window: Manley and Munion Lock and Key. The last time she had the plate glass replaced, she should’ve told the painter to leave off Allison’s name. Even if it still brought in the occasional customer. Foley opened the door and sighed. The way business was going, the point could be moot by the end of the month.

The small lobby felt colder than the parking lot. Foley nudged up the thermostat then lifted the walk-through section of counter. Metal shavings from the key grinder sparkled on the worn linoleum. Inside the back room, she froze, the nape of her neck prickling.

The heater whooshed on. Foley flinched, then took a slow turn. The bins of wire and alarm components sat undisturbed. But something was off. Hurrying to the safe, she crouched and spun the dial. When the lock clicked, she yanked the handle and pawed through the contents. Money untouched. Schematics secure. She leaned forward to sniff the locking mechanism. No tell-tale odor of oil or graphite. So why the heebie-jeebies? Standing, she closed her eyes and breathed deep.

Oh no. That smell. Soft, but with a slight edge. Partagas. Dad’s favorite cigar. Why’d she smell it now? A faint scuff came from the left. Her eyes popped open.

Her father stepped from the storeroom, unlit cigar in hand.

“Dad.” Foley’s right eyelid twitched while she did parole math. Even with good behavior, he shouldn’t be out yet. “Tell me you didn’t escape again.”

V.


Entry Nickname: Twin for the Win
Title: Come to Paris Your Sister is Dead
Word count: 72K
Genre: New Adult Thriller

Query:

Devastated by the news of her twin sister Angela’s death, twenty-two-year old Shayna Daniels arrives in Paris to collect her belongings, identify the body, and get back home before medical school starts in two weeks. But, police are baffled by the strange Gemini symbol tattooed on Angela’s ankle and the utter lack of clues. When Sebastien, Angela's boyfriend, shows up pleading for closure, Shayna agrees to re-trace Angela's footsteps, hoping to discover more about the sister she hasn’t spoken to in two years.

While searching Angela's apartment, Shayna finds a message that makes her blood run cold: ALIVE. TRUST NO ONE, written in their childhood twin language. Taking these words to heart, Shayna must navigate the back alleyways of Paris with her shoddy French, dodge Sebastien's insistent help, and decipher why Angela's hot neighbor keeps crossing her path. Unfamiliar with Angela's recent life, their communication having thinned since their parents’ death, Shayna must follow her gut and channel the deep twin connection Angela always believed existed between them in order to locate her. Quickly. Before someone else does. 

First 250:

Come to Paris. Your sister is dead.

The rest of the words from Sebastien’s email asking me to come and clean out Angela’s apartment all fade against these opening sentences. If ever there was a more stark framing of the facts, I’ve never seen it.

On est arrivé, mademoiselle.” We’re here. The taxi driver speaks to me through the rearview mirror, an Arabic accent marking his speech. My French was never as good as Angela’s, but I get by.

I lock my phone screen then count out exact change, placing it in his weathered hand. That’s one thing I truly appreciate about Europe. Euro coins correlate in size to their value. Unlike illogical American dollars and coins. Whose bright idea was it to have the dime be smaller than the nickel and twice its worth?

Merci, monsieur.” I climb from the car, turning in time to catch his greedy eyes leave my ass. I slam the door a bit harder than intended and don’t look back.

The first email from Sebastien seemed excessive. I ignored it. Your sister is missing, you must come to Paris to look for her.

The second one seemed like a movie plot. There was a shooting at school. She would not leave without saying goodbye.

But that’s the thing. She would, and she has in the past. Always with the same sad dolt left wanting more.

This time was different.

15 comments :

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

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    Replies
    1. Princess ButtercupJune 15, 2015 at 9:31 AM

      (Sorry, having to split my comment due to character limits...)

      Guilt by Association
      Locksmith and security consultant Foley Munion’s life starts spinning out of control [Spinning out of control is vague.] when her felon father breaks out of prison. Though he claims he’s escaped to protect her from being framed [Framed for what?], Foley suspects he’s really after one last score. Soon the police and FBI show up to question her about a bank robbery [Now the previous line makes sense, but I’m having to make sense of the query in reverse. This means I’m having to work harder than I should to understand.]. Since Foley installed the security cameras at the bank, local cops are convinced she’s involved. To make matters worse, the current robbery mimics another heist at a bank where Foley also installed the cameras. During that crime, Foley’s business partner was taken hostage, her charred remains later found in the desert. [It also feels like the italicized information is told in reverse here, too. It’s the context of her partner’s murder that make it obvious why she’s a prime suspect in the second robbery. However, I don’t know how much detail I’d give about the partner’s murder. Knowing it was such a gruesome death makes me curious about that story instead of your MC’s.]

      As the daughter of a safecracker and B&E [Breaking and entering?] man, Foley is used to police scrutiny, but this time she’s their prime suspect [THIS would be an excellent opening line!]. With her locksmith business already on the brink of failure, a police investigation could be the final blow that closes her doors. Getting arrested won’t help things either. [A story where getting arrested does help would be interesting.] While the authorities focus on linking her to the robberies and her partner’s death, Foley hunts for the real perpetrator, hoping to clear her name.

      The more she digs, the more Foley questions what she’s being told by the police, the FBI, and her father. When her quest to clear her name uncovers the person behind the robberies and murder, Foley finds her own life on the line. [Is there a major choice Foley will face? I harp on this a lot, but think about it—lots of MC’s in lots of queries will have their life on the line. What makes your MC’s situation unique?]
      My major advice on your query is to make that second paragraph your first. Weave in the italicized information into the end of your current second paragraph and smooth it out until it flows nicely and give us those nitty gritty stakes at the very end. You have all the necessary information in there, but I think a little rearranging and smoothing out could really make your query sparkle!
      And that’s a very good thing because I have very little to offer about your 250. There are a couple of areas I’d smooth over but they are few and I’m being picky.
      “The small lobby felt colder than…” just say it “was colder” instead of using the word felt. It weakens the POV. The small paragraph that begins with “Oh no…” is possibly the weakest in your 250. “Dad’s favorite cigar…” stood out to me. This isn’t first person, so it might read better as, “Her dad’s favorite cigar…”
      One question: Would the parole board even consider granting parole to someone who escaped previously? I honestly don’t know, but wondering about it did pull me out of the story a bit.

      Delete
    2. Princess ButtercupJune 15, 2015 at 9:32 AM

      Twin for the Win

      Devastated by the news of her twin sister Angela’s death, twenty-two-year old Shayna Daniels arrives in Paris to collect her belongings, identify the body, and get back home before medical school starts in two weeks. [It struck me odd that she’s “devastated” but also trying to get it all done as quickly as possible/be home before med school starts.] But, police are baffled by the strange Gemini symbol tattooed on Angela’s ankle [Why? Was it obviously done post mortem? Tattoos on ankles wouldn’t seem like something that would baffle police.] and the utter lack of clues. When Sebastien, Angela's boyfriend, shows up pleading for closure, Shayna agrees to re-trace Angela's footsteps, hoping to discover more about the sister she hasn’t spoken to in two years [Why does Sebastian have to convince her? wouldn’t Shayna want to know what happened to her sister? Especially if police are baffled].

      While searching Angela's apartment, Shayna finds a message that makes her blood run cold: ALIVE. TRUST NO ONE, written in their childhood twin language. [Here is where I get interested. Now that’s an unusual clue!] Taking these words to heart, Shayna must navigate the back alleyways of Paris with her shoddy French, dodge Sebastien's insistent help, and decipher why Angela's hot neighbor [Again, maybe I’m being picky, but she’s devastated. Right? I’m trying to imagine my sister mysteriously disappearing and even noticing the neighbor is anything more than human.] keeps crossing her path. Unfamiliar with Angela's recent life, their communication having thinned since their parents’ death, Shayna must follow her gut and channel the deep twin connection Angela always believed existed between them in order to locate her. Quickly. Before someone else does. I actually like this last line…but I’d like to know more about your MC’s internal conflict, too. Maybe that would make it easier for me to relate to her.

      I’m also having difficulty connecting with your MC in your 250. She ignored emails telling her that her sister was missing, even the one saying there had been a shooting at her school. If I had a flighty sister, I might have ignored the first email—but not the second one that mentions a shooting. On top of that, once she’s in Paris she’s noticing and having an internal dialogue about Euros. To me, and others could very well disagree, she seems a bit cold.

      Don’t get me wrong, I do get that she views her sister as unreliable and they have an obviously strained relationship. That’s not lost on me, but I should still feel a connection to your MC and that’s just not happening (sorry).

      All in all, I think Twin for the Win’s query is the stronger of the two. It’s clearer and flows logically from one point to the next with definite stakes at the end. However, while Guilt by Association’s query still needs work, the first 250 definitely does a better job of pulling me in. The MS itself always trumps the query, so I have to declare:

      VICTORY TO GUILT BY ASSOCIATION.

      Delete
    3. GUILT BY ASSOCIATION

      I like the changes you made to the query; the story progression and cause/effect is much clearer.

      Your first 250 introduces us to the MC, hints at the conflict, and establishes the general setting. Very nicely done. I would probably keep reading.

      My only nitpicky suggestion is that in paragraphs 3&4 you've got two rhetorical questions, and the second one seems a bit obvious.

      -vs-

      TWIN FOR THE WIN

      I like the inclusion of Shayna's goal to get back home before medical school starts (though you could probably cut the "in two weeks")

      The 250 definitely introduces the conflict and setting, as well as a bit about the charcter.

      The jump between the 2nd & 3rd paragraph is a bit abrupt - one moment she's reading an email and the next she's in a taxi; it isn't until the next paragraph that I put together that she was reading the email on her phone and that this obviously wasn't the FIRST time she was reading the email. Just something you might want to clarify. Also, she really ignored an email that said her sister was missing? Makes her seem a bit cold.


      Victory to... GUILT BY ASSOCIATION!

      Delete
    4. Oh, wow. You guys aren’t making this easy for us, are you?

      Guilt By Association - One of the things I love most about this entry is the precise attention to detail in the 250. I already believe that you are intimately familiar with the world of locksmithing & security, and that you’ll be a reliable guide through it I can relax and trust. The little descriptive details also land me solidly and vividly in the scene right away, and carry emotional impact as well—I love that it was the scent of her dad’s cigar that made her feel apprehension before she even identified it or saw him. I also love how seamlessly you fit in exposition.

      I think the first 250 is the greatest strength of this entry. The query is also solid—you get across conflict/stakes/character very well, and it’s clean and clear. My biggest suggestion for it is to try to find a way to up the dramatic tension in the query. Right now you lay out the framework of the story in the query, but don’t form a rising arc of dramatic tension in the query itself that leaves us desperate to read on and find out how it turns out. The stakes also can feel a bit generic/cliche: “life spinning out of control,” “clear her name” (used twice), “life on the line” are all a little vague. If you can make the stakes specific, personal, and cutting (How much emotionally does she have invested in this business? What will happen if she has to close it? How about what she has at stake emotionally in her relationship with her father? Etc), it may help crank the tension tighter.

      Twin for the Win - For me the linchpin of what I love about this entry is the great twist in your query with the “ALIVE. TRUST NO ONE” message. You do a great job conveying mystery, danger, and tension in a way that promises a lot of page-turning excitement.

      My suggestions for the query are little things: lose the comma after the “But” starting the second sentence, and lose the “Quickly” before the last sentence (it’s already implied). Maybe also give that last sentence scarier consequences than “someone else” finding her.

      In the first 250, I love the bits about the emails and her thinking about them, but the parts about her playing with her phone, fiddling with change, and being annoyed at the cabbie are not nearly so compelling. We’re in Paris, which is a fantastic setting—when you bring it in, I want to feel what it’s like for her on a much more visceral level to be there, especially if she’s never been to Paris before. With Paris as your setting, setting needs to be a strong character from the moment it’s introduced, and her reaction to it will tell us a lot about her. I think you might be starting in slightly the wrong place, and interleaving the emails with introduction to the setting as a fiddly-change afterthought isn’t doing your opening favors.

      This is a really tough choice, because I think both of these are excellent! It’s very, very close. I am going to give the edge to dramatic tension here, though, because how desperately I want to read on is probably the best litmus test. So...

      VICTORY TO TWIN FOR THE WIN!

      Delete
    5. GUILT:

      I enjoyed this one the first time around and I see definite improvements in clarity this round. I'm missing a connection between Dad and Foley being a suspect though, and maybe this is intentional, but it was definitely a question I had reading. Maybe insert Dad again somewhere in the middle, to remind us he's a factor? As it reads now, he's in the very beginning of the query and the very end. The 250 really gives a sense of what Foley's job is like, what her relationship with Dad is like, and sets the reader up for a conflict immediately. Great work!

      TWIN:

      questions I had while reading the query - who did Sebastien ask for closure, and why hasn't she spoken to her sister in 2 years? Perhaps noting that the communication had thinned a little earlier might be helpful. I imagine Shayna is super devastated losing her sister AND her parents, so I'd see if there's a way to say that up front since that probably is fueling her need to figure this out even more. The 250 sets up the plot nicely and that first line packs so much punch, but I'm missing Shayna's voice. This is a good place to show how confused she is, how much grief she feels, etc, right away.

      Victory to GUILT!

      Delete
    6. Guilt by Association Query:

      We’re all going to have our own takes on these queries, so as a reminder, look for patterns in the advice and change what works for you.

      What resonated with me most in this query is paragraph two. While the first paragraph explains the plot sufficiently, the second is where I started to care and where the unique voice shows through most. I think this second paragraph could be moved up and used as the intro. When you get to the line about the robberies, that is where some additional plot detail could go in. The last paragraph can use a stronger hook. Can you hint who the person she uncovers is? Is it her enemy? A friend? Someone she’d never expect? Try to move beyond cliché and get more specific than “finds her own life on the line.” How is her life threatened? You don’t have to explain the plot, but the threat should be clear. If she doesn’t do X by this deadline (or whatever works), then she will die (by the hands of her nemesis, or something that hints at some detail even if you don’t reveal the character name).

      FIRST 250:

      I really liked this intro. Context is given while something has clearly just happened, which sets the character on edge. Already we see conflict with the name of the business, a newly repaired window, a lingering threat. The pacing feels right for the genre with enough setting detail that isn’t just scenery chewing  Loved the line about “parole math.”

      Twin for the Win QUERY:

      The first question I have with the query is where is she coming from when she goes to Paris? Something like “arrives to Paris from Atlanta” can solve the question. Personally, the secret twin language sounds a little cliché; that may be my preference, but maybe it could be rephrased so that she finds a secret message only she knows to look for. The threat at the end I think is worth exploring. Who is this potential someone else that might be looking for her sister? Can you be more specific? Can you state the main choice Shayna must make? If there is a ticking clock or a tangible threat she must get past (rather than the plot points listed, but the actual threat), show that!

      FIRST 250:

      I like the immediacy of this opening, and that is already in Paris, starting the search. I’m guessing the email was opened earlier and now she is in Paris. Maybe a phrase about remembering the email will serve as a transition, or “That’s all the email from Sebastian said. I barely had time to be shocked/angry/etc before I’d booked the ticket and landed in France” Something to show the time split between receiving the email and arriving. I wondered a bit at her dismissal of the first email of her sister being missing. Even if sis is predictably deviant or something, would she not still worry a little? Even a hit of her pausing to wonder, then rationalizing that her sister always pulls stuff like this would endear me/readers a bit more. Seems a bit cold to not care at all. We don’t know their history yet. I love the voice in this entry, which fits for NA and a thriller component.


      Victory GUILT BY ASSOCIATION

      Delete
    7. Guilt By Association

      Query
      You have an intriguing story and I like all the details and complications in your query. I feel like it does ramble a bit however and could do with some better focus. As it stands now the query is perilously close to a brief synopsis, though thankfully stops short. You begin with Foley's dad breaking out of prison - which chronologically is the start of the story. But I'd suggest starting instead with the central conflict: Foley being accused of murdering her partner and orchestrating a bunch of robberies. Her dad's escape adds a complication to proving her guilt, as does his past as a B&E man.

      First 250
      This is where your entry really shines for me. You have so much gorgeous detail in such a short passage. You've done an excellent job bringing the scene to life with sensory details that pull readers in. You've also done an excellent job of immediately making the reader question if Foley's office has been broken into and why the motive might have been. Those little mysteries, though quickly answered, are the sort of thing that keep a reader riveted. I really like this opening page and I would have kept reading for more.

      Twin for the Win

      Query
      Excellent query. Your opening paragraph immediately packs an emotional punch and sets up an intriguing situation. My immediate response is, 'please, tell me more.' The second paragraph, however, loses a bit of momentum and reads awkwardly at times. There are definitely places here where you can cut words without losing the meaning of your sentence. For example, your opening line could easily be pared down a bit:

      "While searching Angela's apartment, Shayna finds a message from her twin written in code: Alive. Trust No one." The starkness of that statement is impactful enough, you don't need to use a cliche like "blood run cold" - let your words stand on their own. Most of this paragraph could easily be condensed and extraneous details dropped. Is the hot neighbor central to the conflict? Right now, that doesn't come across and I have no idea why he's popping up or how that's even relevant. The ending also isn't urgent enough. So what if someone else does locate Angela. What would happen? What are the consequences? I assume Angela might end up dead for real but you need to explicitly layout those stakes. Also - did Shayna identify Angela's body? Is there a reason she wouldn't have been able to?

      Your premise really is super intriguing, but I want a bit more from this query overall.

      First 250
      You begin with the email and a pretty bald statement. But it's not clear if Shayna is re-reading the email or just remembering it in the back of the taxi. Consider clarifying. The other emails from Sebastien are also a bit baffling. They seem like non-sequiters and barely related. In email one Sebastien says Angela is missing. "You must come to Paris to look for her," seems rather a strange statement. He is telling her she must come, rather than asking for help, which would seem the more expected reaction. Additionally, how well does Shayna know Sebastian? Have they met in person? Emailed in the past? I don't have any sense of that yet and I feel like I should, that the emails should at least hint at their acquaintance or lack thereof. The second email seems even more random - the first says Angela is missing, but the second talks about a school shooting. So did Angela show back up? Are these events that happened before she disappeared? That isn't clear and it should be.


      Victory to - Guilt By Association!

      Delete
  2. Guilt by Association - mystery/thriller is my first love and the bulk of what I choose to read. This story leans on known archetypes (the father con man and beleaguered offspring). I'm a fan of archetypes but the trick to avoid stereotype is to twist the archetype in some way. The query is compelling, but I would like a hint of how Foley's situation breaks from expectations. First 250: I love this character. The voice is strong and we love underdogs. Placing her business at risk immediately puts the reader in the position of cheering for Foley's success. If this is built slowly as more and more of her life is put at risk this will keep the stakes high for the reader. Again, I'd like to see hints of how Foley will break from the archetype. It's half the fun of archetypes. I would totally read this.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Twin for the Win - I'm a big fan of thrillers, but not as familiar with the New Adult genre. I'm assuming that like YA any age can read it even though it's aimed at New Adults. Because we're where we are in Round 2 - all the pieces are so strong - I'm making observations and asking questions in the hopes that will give you revision insights. The query: I'm not sure why but I reread the tattoo comment. The word baffled makes sense in terms of a case with little to no clues or evidence but I didn't understand it in connection to the tattoo. Did her killer give her the tattoo? If not, then why did the tattoo confuse them? I suspect tattoos are more common than not on corpses. So, I'd like to understand that a bit better. I like the twist of the twin being dead or is she? First 250: The story is interesting and the opening, "Come to Paris. Your sister is dead," is kick ass. The opening raises a lot of questions and there's no doubt as to the stakes. The use of twins in mysteries and thrillers is a common archetype. (I'm a fan of archetypes as readers relate to them) The trick with archetypes is to avoid stereotype by twisting the character in a way that is unique. The common trope is twins in cohoots in order to commit a con or other crime. You break from that by making the twins be somewhat estranged. Now, the trope of twin sensory communication comes into play in a different way. Nice. I did get a little confused by all the emails referenced. That opening line that is so good sounded like that's all that was in the missive but then, it tells me that there were other words in it. Okay, except then the next line references the "stark" framing of the facts. I wasn't sure which it was: short and to the point or detailed here's what happened and what I need you to do. I'd read this.

    ReplyDelete
  4. These are both so much stronger! Good job!

    GUILT - Your opening 250 is strong, I still think "life spins out of control" is a cliche phrase to stay away from.

    TWIN - I love the voice in your 250, I would also like a bit more specifics in the query. All I know is "trust no one" and her sister might be a live, but I'd like just a glimpse of where her investigation leads maybe?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Guilt by Association: Your query is clear and strong. Perhaps a bit too long. Are there any details you can cut? I'd love to see the stakes at the end a bit more dramatically rendered. Foley finds her life on the line how, exactly? Does the murderer know she's onto him/her and come after her? Threaten her? Capture her? If you could give just a hint of the trouble she gets into, it would end on a much stronger not.

    First 250: Very polished writing. I already like the character and I would definitely read on. Can I nitpick on one thing? If her partner was murdered, body found in the desert, then the fact that Foley glares at the name on the window feels a bit off. Would "glaring," which indicates anger, really be the emotion she feels at seeing her dead partner's name?

    Twin for the Win
    I like your concept a lot. I'm thrown off in the query by the mention of the police being baffled by the dead sister's tattoo. Why would they pay any attention at all, with tattoos so prevalent these days? That line doesn't feel like it fits in the query, because there is no room to explain the details to make it make sense. Also, apparently the police have the dead body. Didn't she identify the remains? If so, how can the sister be alive? These things make me feel confused.

    First 250:
    I like the voice. My only suggestion would be to put some transition between her slamming the cab door and the next line about Sebastien's first email. Perhaps, as she stepped onto the curb, she began remembering his emails, or something like that. It feels a bit disjointed the way it is.
    Otherwise, great job!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Guilt - query: I could not stop reading. I would love to read this work! (Too bad I'm not an agent - guess I'll just have to wait till it's published! ;) ) Just one thing: I feel like a bit of streamlining is necessary, combining of sentences, in the first paragraph. Overall, though,it's very strong.

    First 250: Suspense, right off the top. Shivers! Loved it.

    Twin, query: What baffles them about the Gemini tattoo - that Shayna can't explain what it means? Or have they seen other victims with the same symbol? I think the first sentence of the second paragraph could be restructured, to be more suspenseful. How about, "In Angela's apartment, Shayna finds a message written in their childhood twin language: ALIVE. TRUST NO ONE." I think "makes her blood run cold" is a cliche that should be avoided.

    First 250: I feel like there's a bit of jumping around. She gets Sebastien's email, then she's in a taxi, then she's getting more emails. A transitional phrase, grounding the reader in time, could help quite a bit here.

    Both entries are really very good - best of luck to both!

    ReplyDelete
  7. GUILTY BY ASSOCIATION

    Query: The first paragraph has a lot of great stuff in it, but maybe you could try it not in chronological order or condense it a little. In the second paragraph I’m curious why she’s used to police scrutiny? She obviously has a successful business before this, if she was that scrutinized would people hire her? I’m also curious how the plot progresses with her father. In the third paragraph I would work on the stakes a little. Her life is on the line, of course it is, but what else? In every mystery someone’s life is usually on the line.

    First 250: Nice opening. We get a feel for the setting, and a feel for her character right off the bat. I think you can cut the second paragraph (at least for the contest). Bringing in the dad right from the get go is great, but the last line is a little lack luster and you say the same thing twice. You tell us with good behavior he shouldn’t be out and then that he escaped. Overall, I really like your premise though!

    TWIN FOR THE WIN

    Query: I love the opening line, it sets the stakes and immediately gives us a feel for what type of novel it’s going to be. No complaints about the first paragraph, you’re setting the scene quite nicely. The second paragraph is a bit confusing. You mention that she’s trying to locate “her”. I thought the sister was dead? Also you mention that they haven’t spoken in two years in the first paragraph and then that their communication has thinned since their parent’s. I don’t think you need to say it twice in two paragraphs.

    First 250: Great first line. You toss a lot of names out from the get go. May be a bit much for a reader who hasn’t read your query. A suggestion (although a subjective one). Why not start in the apartment? The e-mails from Sebastian are a little confusing when your reader won’t know who is he yet. Also why is he e-mailing her? Are they close? I like the voice and the tone, but for such an exciting incident it starts a little cooly.

    Excellent work guys!

    ReplyDelete
  8. GUILT BY ASSOCIATION: I think you have a great query! I know others mentioned streamlining a bit and I can see their point. The first 250 pulled me right in, and I think you left off on a perfect cliff-hanger. Well done!

    TWIN FOR THE WIN: There was one place in the query that read a little funny: "having thinned". Perhaps using "severed" instead would take care of that awkwardness? "...police are baffled by the strange Gemini symbol tattooed on Angela’s ankle and the utter lack of clues." So, this sentence totally confused me because if she's really alive, how could the police have seen her ankle tattoo. It almost sounds like they found her dead body. Unless...they found a body of someone who looks like her? That all is a bit confusing...
    I like that you start your 250 with her already in Paris and her remembering (or maybe looking?) at the email about her sister. The thoughts about the coins seemed a little irrelevant, but if you like it or if the size of the coins comes into play later on, then I say keep it. All in all, this sounds like a cool premise and one I'd want to read! Good luck!!

    ReplyDelete