Jun 1, 2015

QK Round 1: Queen of Drones v. My Name is Poison on Your Lips

Entry Nickname: Queen of Drones vs Bunker Babe
Title: The Chimera’s Snare
Word count: 85K
Genre: YA Horror


Sixteen-year-old prodigy June grew up in a bunker, rarely allowed human contact; the streaming feed on her computer monitor her main window to the war-ravaged world outside. June’s only companion and link to her mysterious handlers is her stoic, infuriatingly tight-lipped and fiercely loyal guard Kyle.

June's isolation is shattered when vicious, genetically engineered mutants attack her enclave. Surrounded by the terrified survivors, who give wildly disparate accounts of the events, June must use her enhanced cognitive faculties to piece together the truth behind their conflicting memories of the attack before the people turn on each other. The enclave's damaged records could hold the key to reconciling their stories and finding a way to fight the chimeras, but with four other enclaves destroyed, the monsters are certain to return – and soon.

As June and Kyle navigate the mysterious subterranean passages, looking for the remnants of lost data, June discovers clues to her origin. She wasn't born, but grown, imbued with the power to turn the surviving humanity into a giant beehive of drones, where she would reign as queen. Now, June must decide if her all-too-human feelings for Kyle, who is hoarding deadly secrets of his own, are enough to keep her from fighting a program encoded in her DNA and turning the world into a twisted version of utopia. What June doesn’t realize is that another clone is vying to become the Queen of Drones.

First 250:

June woke up to the acidic shrieking of the siren. The sound passed through the thick layer of earth and reverberated against the bunker’s titanium bearings, making the walls and the ceiling of her cell tremble and moan. The holographic surface of the monitor flickered and silver chess figurines on the table knocked against each other with a clear, icy chime.

June slid out of bed and pressed her ear to the wall, trying to catch more familiar sounds beyond the piercing wail.

The main generator was silent.

She climbed on the table, licked her fingers and reached towards the air conditioning ducts. Nothing, other than a faint scent of mildew. And apples.

In the settlement, apples were a luxury. A shame. June liked their taste. Distracted by the puzzle of synthesizing an adequate substitute, she didn’t notice when the siren cut out. For several long moments the walls preserved its echo, fainter with each wave. But the air conditioning, the generator, and the intercom system didn’t come back online.

“Kyle?” June never liked the sound of her voice. It was high-pitched, and the discord between her chronological age and the actual development of her body made her acutely self-conscious. At sixteen, she was tiny and frail.

“Kyle, where are you?”

Not in the bunker. Otherwise, he would’ve already come.

As long as June could remember, Kyle had always been there. Almost three years now. Of course, the first four months of her confinement didn’t count: her memories of that time were too chaotic and vague.


Entry Nickname: My Name is Poison on Your Lips
Word count: 102,000
Genre: YA sci-fi/fantasy


Since the eruption of Yellowstone’s supervolcano, the Anathema Infection has turned a small percentage of the surviving world population into deadly superhumans, including sixteen-year-old Calynn Davitt.

Despite her attempts to evade the government’s purge program, Cal is captured and sent to Sanatorium, a sterilized city made to contain the Infection. However, waiting for a cure proves to be as dangerous as living with the disease. Sanatorium divides the Anathema into heroes and villains, and Cal is labeled a villain despite her integrity. In order to escape, Cal must trust backstabbing villains and evade overzealous heroes, including Solar Flare, the man who killed her father.

Even with her half-tamed energy manipulation abilities, Cal seems doomed to an early death until she finds an unexpected ally in the shy hero, Invisiboy. But when the villains begin hunting any heroes with information on Solar Flare, Cal is forced to choose between her fellow villains, and the only friend she’s known in Sanatorium, where not all is as it seems, and even heroes can be villainous.
First 250:

I couldn’t see the stars.

Though it was late June, snow drifted past my window in enormous gray flakes. Mom said thirty years ago, before Yellowstone’s supervolcano erupted, the snow was pure white and came only one season a year instead of choking the planet in a constant ash-stained winter. With one foot of snow outside, her stories were hard to believe.

I tied the hem of my button up shirt under my ribs, and straightened my tank. When I was certain my loose clothing wouldn’t get in the way, I ground a violet pastel onto a chipped plate. In the flickering candlelight, my knuckles seemed to glow luminous and white, the bone too close to the skin.

I added a splash of water, and stirred the chalk with my fingers until it became a smooth paste. Barefoot, I stood on my bed. It didn’t matter if I spilled. The bedspread, speckled with fluffy pink sheep, was hideous at best.

On the ceiling, a purple smudge appeared everywhere my fingers touched. They danced with the other colors of my painting, transforming from mere fingerprints into stars and galaxies. A large moon, as white as an angel feather, glimmered over my bed. I ran my fingers along the edge, giving the crescent a pale purple glow. Luminous. Alive. Unlike everything else on this wretched planet.

I wiped my fingers on my frayed jeans, leaving purple smudges like shooting stars. With a sigh, I laid on my bed to admire my own personal heaven on Earth.


  1. Judges, reply here with your comments and votes.

    1. Queen of Drones:

      This feels suspiciously like YA Dystopian. Initially, in the first paragraph, I'm confused by the reference to mysterious handlers. It might be better to say something like "only link to the outside world" or something. Who are the terrified survivors? Are those the mutants? It can really help to have someone who's never read your story review your query letter, because I feel like I have a lot of questions about the basic plot. You want the query to entice, not confuse. I feel like the basic concept is pretty cool, but I just don't have any idea what's going on.

      I really like the first page, although "Distracted by the puzzle of synthesizing an adequate substitute," is also a little confusing. It might help to say something to clarify that she since she doesn't have any apples, she's trying to replicate their taste before mentioning that she's distracted by it. Try to stay away from sentences that start with "It was X, and…." That can be written about 99.9% of the time to use a noun and a verb that have more impact.

      My Name is Poison on Your Lips:

      I want to be a deadly superhuman! This query can be expanded a bit. As is, it's a bit confusing, and it's only 175 words. You get about 250 to play with in the meat of the query - use them. To start - there's a purge program? A sentence about that would be nice. Why is Cal labelled a villain? Is it totally random? Based on superpowers? What ARE her superpowers? These are things we should see before the last paragraph. Your last sentence is 43 words, and it's really clunky. I had to read it a few times. Break it into two and streamline. I think you've got a great hook in there, but it's tough to find it.

      Cut "though it was late June" in your opening. Your MC lives in a world where snow in late June is normal, so she shouldn't be describing it as an anomaly. Four of your paragraphs on the first page start with "I". Try to mix it up. There are also a lot of places where you could tighten up the language a bit. Like I mentioned on the other entry, avoid to be verbs and "it". There's usually a better way to say those things. I love the idea of admiring her own personal heaven on earth, but I also feel like you can trim a bit above to get to it sooner. There seems to be a lot of unnecessary detail in the first page, and that makes me worry that it carries through the entire book. When your word count is over 100k, every word has to count, so that's doubly concerning (especially in YA).

      This one's a pretty close call for me, but I think one entry is more ready for the agent round. VICTORY TO QUEEN OF DRONES VS. BUNKER BABE.


      Here's why: I had a hard time choosing between these two. If I could've called a tie, I would've. The query of this one was intriguing up until the last paragraph. The category threw me off because I was thinking this was SF not horror. Maybe put the horror elements in sooner to help clear it up because otherwise it seems to come out of nowhere. The 250 needs to be stronger with your main character not waking up (since agents don't like that opening as a rule). There are typos in your query that need to be cleaned up and awkward phrases. Good luck!


      Although this query is well-written the premise didn't grab me. The writing is strong in the 250 but the query was confusing. So they are all supervillians like superheroes? What does that have to do with an infection from an erupting volcano? The 250 should match your query and it doesn't because there's nothing in the 250 that points to supervillians. Your first page needs the main character, the setting, voice and conflict. If I hadn't read the query, this could've taken place in any bedroom (well, except for the first paragraph about the snow). Maybe a better place to start would be when she's sorted into the villain side and why. Good luck!

    3. Authors, I bet other judges have spoken to this, too, but... You've both written dystopians. Or, if you prefer, Post-Apocalyptic SF. While I can definitely see how Queen of Drones' story would have horror elements, it's the science fictional apocalypse that looms over the story, most of all. This is more JUPITER ASCENDING meets THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS than it is RESIDENT EVIL, to put in it perspective.

      As for Poison on Your Lips, although the science informing Ananthema Infection is probably pretty much hand-waving (that's totally fine; most sf does hand-wave the nitty gritty of how science works off in favor of telling its story), it's not actually fantasy. The reason is simple. Fantasy = forces beyond human study, control, or creation in a not fully rational system (magic). Science Fiction = rationalized systems that can do what magic does. And that's about it. So, if I were you and if I feared the Dystopia label, I'd call these Post-Apocalyptic SF. Or Dark SF, if you prefer.

      Query Matchup:
      Queen of Drones, you have a semicolon error in your first sentence. Semicolons unite items in a series or independent clauses of equal weight. You've united a full sentence with a fragment.

      Poison on Your Lips, the query looks really solid. Love the stakes!

      250 Matchup:

      Neither set of 250 drew me in as intensely as I'd hoped. If I were an agent, I would request on concept and query, because both the 250s have a key issue.

      For Queen of Drones, it's that the opening scene doesn't show us something more complicated or interesting than what the query itself promises. I'd like to have the opening scene complicate our understanding of a character more, be driven more by voice, though I do really love the "acidic shrieking" of the sirens.

      For Poison, we're deep in the mind of the MC, joining her in a private ritual that gives her pleasure, and it helps develop her character, but there's no moment of tension here, nothing that FORCES me to turn the page to see what will happen next. Arguably, the tension exists within the environment ("I couldn't see the stars") more than in actual action, and that can work, but I'd like to feel that longing more acutely, if that's the case.

      VICTORY TO POISON ON MY LIPS (though, as a side note? QUEEN OF DRONES, I adore your concept, and hope you get lots of requests!)

    4. Both of these sound kind of dystopian. Be aware when querying.

      Queen of Drones:
      Query: I'm not sure the genre is right. Like I said, it sounds dystopian, but if it is a horror, you need to imbue the query with some sense of the horror. It's a little long and a tad repetitive. The stake sentence at the end could be pepped up a little bit -- given a sense of interest. Try this formula: "If she doesn't do X, then some terrible Y could happen."
      250: The beginning paragraph talks about alarms blasting. A little too much. So much that there is a lack of urgency, which is odd, when alarms are blasting. Also, odd she's thinking about eating apples. It's a disjointed thought. Overall, I like the concept. It's got a lot of potential.

      My Name is Poison:
      Query: I need more on what a superhuman is. Are we talking Superman or Batman? Or something else? Why are they deadly? Otherwise, great hook sentence. Why does the government want to purge them? Why is she labelled a villain? Was there a misunderstanding? Why would she want to side with the villains? Questions are fine in a query, but this is too many questions. I need to feel like I know what is going on.
      250: You don't need "Though it was late June." It's unnecessary given the rest of the paragraph. Otherwise, beautiful. Otherworldly.

      And because the 250 was so strong:

    5. Queen of Drones vs Bunker Babe:

      It wasn’t until the second section of your query that I realized there were monsters involved in the war. Consider clarifying that earlier. BTW, this screams dystopian. Show me the proof this is horror in the query. Also, what time period are we looking at? There’s no sense of the setting and I’m confused by the survivors and why they’re knocking on her door (or bunker in this case). It sounds like her battle with another clone is the major conflict, perhaps focus on that and tighten some of the other lines.

      You don’t need to use her name again in the second section the first 250. We know it’s June, so go with She in this part. I like the scene you started in, but consider tightening the first section, it doesn’t feel frantic enough for a siren. BUT waking up at the start of a story is a big no-no, so be wary of that.

      My Name is Poison on Your Lips:

      This story also has a dystopian vibe. (Don’t get me wrong, I love dystopian) But it’s an uphill battle when querying. I do like that premise and that Cal is labeled a villain. I got whiplash with the fact that her dad was killed by Solar Flare. Did she lose him in the Infection? Maybe clarify how Solar Flare came into play, or relate it back to ‘she didn’t belong with villains, especially not ones like Solar Flare who killed her father because of XYZ reason.’ Are all the villains killed eventually? I’m not sure why she’s doomed to an early death, but that’s what I’m assuming. I like that her fellow villains also have a beef with Solar Flare, but the last sentence is rather vague.

      The first 250 needs to start quicker. NOT with weather. Just like waking up, this is a big no-no. Don’t tell us what happened right out of the gate, bring us into the story and let the bits of info spill out naturally. Needs more action and less description of things at the start.

      Victory goes to: QUEEN OF DRONES

    6. Queen of Drones

      I like this query—it reminds me a little bit of the old text game SUSPENDED. It’s pretty well crafted, and I think that the fact that the judges are picking on the genre mismatch is indicative of it not have any major problems.

      That said, this does not sound like a horror book, although I can see where there may be some horrific elements— it sounds like SF – Dystopia. (You actually use the words ‘twisted Utopia’ in your query!) This is not a ‘hot’ genre right now, but I think you would do better to own it than to try to wallpaper over it.

      That is, assuming that you agree with our assessment that this isn’t horror. If you feel strongly that this is a horror piece, then you need to significantly rewrite this query so that the horror elements are front and center.

      The 250 is not as well-crafted as the query. Using a cliché like having your main character waking-up is rarely a good idea, and isn’t worth the risk of alienating an agent with it unless you’re doing something really clever. You’re not here. I would consider opening with ‘the main generator was silent’ and then feeding in the detail about the acidic siren.

      But opening with a little mystery—Kyle is missing—is effective and I want to keep reading.

      Still, and I realize this is a little vague— I think if you want to ‘win’ Query Kombat, you’re going to need more urgency in the 250. Think about how you might fold that in.

      My Name is Poison on Your Lips

      There’s a lot going on this query, and it feels a little overly condensed. It feels like you have a lot of plot happening here, and it gets swallowed up by the world-building. I’d yada-yada that as much as possible, for the query, and focus on the character and stakes.

      Like, for example, the death of the MC’s father. I can’t tell you when this happened—ages ago, very recently, during the novel—and that weakens this query. Opening the query with a line a like “A superhero killed Caitlyn Smith’s father” might be a stronger way to open this query, and then provide a way to sketch out this world.

      And (while I realize that I just told you to yada yada some worldbuilding) – if you’re going to say that Caitlyn got sorting hatted into the villain camp, I want to know more about that. A psych test? Did she go all ape-shit on the counseler about the man who murdered her father?’

      I’m not sure Invisaboy needs to be part of the query at all. He could disappear from the query and we’d never notice he was gone. *rimshot

      I found this 250 a little slow. I re-read it after I saw Jamie’s praising of it (I DO read the other judges) and he’s right (she’s right?) – it’s well-written and other-wordly. I think the problem is the disconnect between the opening of the book, and your expectation for what kind of opening you’re going to get. The query pitch of backstabbing superheroes in a sterilized city, suggests an action filled 250, which is not the choice you made.

      I’m not saying you need to open with a gunfight—but current 250 is quite serene. Also, you describe the MC’s energy powers as being ‘half-tamed’ and perhaps seeing evidence of this would be a way to marry all of these elements together. In the 250, her powers seem completely tamed, and rather artistic.

      I like both of these entries, and they both have great promise. But the entry I’d like to see advance is QUEEN OF DRONES


    7. Note: For round 1 since there's so many entries, I'm judging based on the query only!


      Neat idea! Definitely sounds like something I'd want to pick up and read!

      The first sentence gives us a lot to take in all at once, and the structure of it makes it feel a bit choppy. I'm also curious what KIND of prodigy June is; I think that'd be important to note right away.

      Also, who are the survivors -- other guards and people keeping her there, or others like herself?



      This sounds fabulous. I like how you're twisting some of the superhero tropes.

      I would say that I'd like to learn what Cal's abilities are earlier on, and maybe a bit more info about HOW she ended up being labeled a villain - a clerical error? A mistake on her part? Someone trying to get rid of her?

      Victory to... MY NAME IS POISON ON YOUR LIPS

  2. Queen of Drones

    Query: I’ll agree that I’m not quite getting the horror vibe from the query. That being said, the writing is quite good and you paint a wonderful picture of your world. Watch out for long sentences thought. The second sentence of the second paragraph especially. The first two paragraphs feel much tighter than the last. We’re getting a lot of info there and leaving too any questions. Who implanted her with this DNA? What’s this about a secret power? Is she part bee? How does this other clone becoming queen hurt everyone else? Is she much more evil?

    250 Words: So is her memory wiped pre-confinement? The bunker image again brings to mind dystopian and not horror. Maybe if she awoke to a weird shrieking cry rather than an alarm it might bring to mind horror. Still, well done in creating a tense moment from the get go.

    Query: Largest question on my lips was “How is the government catching these guys if they have superpowers?” Second is “What exactly are her super powers?” Energy manipulation is a little vague. Is it light, heat, or other? Can she shoot it out of her hands? Eat it? That’s your hook. No one watched the Green Lantern for Hal Jordan (at least not initially). You’ve got some great ideas coming into play, and I love a good superhero novel, just tell me a little more about Solar Flare and Cal’s powers.
    250 Words: This section is perfect for a little bit into the first chapter. I want to know what your character is doing, not just what they are doing. Why are they sitting in front of this window? I kept on waiting for her to use her powers just a little bit. The prose is actually quite lovely, but I have not sense of the character except a little bitterness. Even something like. “I read a book once. In it a young girl had a family and friends. I have none of those.”

  3. First, none of these are in my genre, so take everything here with a grain of salt. :-)
    Queen of Drones: In your query, I think you're missing some commas in your first paragraph. And I admit I am a bit confused by the premise of your story: Why is your MC rarely allowed human contact? I'd like to know a bit earlier on in the query. I think your first 250 has great language and I love your voice. The point about contemplating a substitute for apples confuses me a bit - with such chaos going on, I have a hard time believing that she would have time to lose her thoughts with that. But that might just be me.

    Over all, a very interesting premise that I would probably ask for more.

    Villainous: Again, a very interesting premise, but definitely some confusion on my end after reading your query. I'm not sure why the Sanitorium classifies your MC as a villain, "despite her integrity." I think we need to know a little more about this process. I think you have a great voice in your first 250, though I think you could spend less time on what she is doing and bring us to the action sooner. . . .I like your MC, you did a nice job on her character development, but as the 250 stands now, I'm not sure what the premise of the story is.

    But, because I like your MC, I would want to read more.

    Congrats to the two of you for being here!

  4. Wow I would have a very tough time choosing between these two if I were a judge. Fortunately, I'm not and don't have to choose!

    Queen of Drones:
    Wow! Awesome entry! I really like the voice and your MC in the first 250. I don't read a lot of YA horror, so forgive me, but I'm not sure this is in the right category? For you query, I would also like to know why she is in a bunker with no human contact? I would also suggesting adding that Kyle is human and she is not right off the bat. I love the last sentence of your first paragraph, is it bad that Kyle sounds hot? lol.

    My name is Poison on your lips:

    I love both your title and nickname. It might be because I just finished watching Once Upon a Time, but I totally want to read a hero vs. villains story! My only concern is that this is a tad high in terms of word count. The last sentence of your query is also one long sentence and a little confusing. I love the voice in the 250 but I'm not sure this is the best place to start? Could you just throw us into the action?

    Jenna-Lynne Duncan
    "A Pirate's Life for Me"

  5. Queen of Drones
    Query: I was all on board with this one until the third paragraph--because there, the main thread the the first 2 paragraphs (the chimeras) seems to vanish in the third. What happened with them? (unless the queen of drones is controlling them?) Basically, I think the high stakes you present at the end need to match the plotline that was the focus of the majority of the query because otherwise, I couldn't figure out what story I was supposed to be invested in. These chimeras (I was super interested in them and very sad when they seemed to vanish from having any consequences in paragraph 3!)--or the drone queen. And if they are really tied together--it might help to explain that.

    First 250:
    I know everyone says it, but I was less than thrilled to see this start with her waking up. The problem isn't that it's terrible to start that way, but that it's super, super common. And here--I don't see why it has to be that way. Would it hurt to have her be doing something else when the siren interrupts her?

    Query: Generally, I thought this one was really cool, and that the conflict and stakes were super clear. However, the lack of explanation of how the heroes and villains were assigned bothered me quite a lot. It feels arbitrary--and I'm not a fan of world building that doesn't have a reason for being the way it is. Maybe it's too difficult to explain in the query, but especially since Cal has integrity and is labeled a villain or whatnot (and she also seems anything but villainous in the opening 250) it might be worth a try.

    250: I thought this was a lovely and evocative setting of the scene, but I think it could be a lot more compelling. There's pretty much no conflict presented here, and while the conflict on the first page doesn't have to be huge, earth-shattering stuff, I would personally want to see some kind of minor conflict, something that isn't quite right/goes wrong.

  6. Queen of Drones vs Bunker Babe/ The Chimera’s Snare

    I really like the premise of this story. However, I'm not sure if horror is the right genre for you. Based on your query, it feels more like fantasy or science fantasy (one of my favorite genres). Check out this link here:


    The query letter itself seems to come off a little dull, probably due to over description. I would suggest focusing more on the story's overall plot and less on the world they live in. Start with MC introduction and the unique elements that make her special in her world. Then add the dramatic events that change her life, the risks and dangers she faces. Then wrap up with the decisions and possible consequences of her actions.

    I like your writing style, big fan of 3rd person POV, but it's a tough one to master. You don't have to use June's name at the start of every paragraph (I thought that too at first), but she's already been introduced and there's no other characters in the scene so it's okay to just use she/her. In your first sentence, sounds can't be acidic. Acidic is often used to describe strong tastes, on account of the chemical compound of acid's being so sour and salty in flavor. Perhaps simplifying it to:

    June woke to the shriek of a siren.

    By the end of your sample, I definitely wished I had more. This is an interesting story and your writing pulled me in. Just remember, in the 3rd if the character is implied then you don't need their name. The reader will likely swap it to she/he in their mind anyway.

    Overall, I think you have a great concept here. This is something that I would love to read.

    Good luck!

    My Name is Poison on Your Lips/ Villainous

    Wow this story sounds really cool. I'm a bit partial, as I have a similar story on the shelf. I'm sure you know but post-apocalyptic is sort of the kiss of death for novels these days, but you have a fresh take so I'm hoping that works out. I didn't see any real problems with your query except for your setting and slightly elevated word count, which makes me weary as to what agents would think.

    I liked the voice in your 250, it's very captivating. I would've like to see more going on in the opening. You have such a high-concept story yet it starts off slow. With the word count a bit on the high side, it tells me that you may be over-describing things. If you find yourself getting a lot of rejections, you may want to consider changing the setting (something flashier than Yellowstone destruction, more unique and sci-fi like).

    Overall, I like the flow and voice of your writing style, and love the idea of a hero/villain fight in an already chaotic world.

    Good luck, I'm rooting for you!


    You hooked me with your first paragraph. But then, I’m a little biased. My story is also about a teenager who’s isolated from the outside world. It’s a trope I LOVE.

    When you get to genetically engineered mutants, I’m wondering if this is a sci-fi novel, not a horror. I would switch your mentions of mutant and chimera (also, haha, my story’s about a boy who looks like a chimera!). Chimera is more descriptive and concrete. Once we have the clear image established, then you can go for a more general term like mutant.

    Similarly, I would mention that June is a clone in the sentence where she discovers her origins. Being grown instead of born does not automatically equal clone. Otherwise, when you mention “another clone vying…” it’s a bit unclear.

    Those are my only two suggestions. Super small because I love this query. The story concept really clicks with me. Though I’m still not sure how it’s a horror story. Clones, drones, and genetic mutations = sci-fi to me.

    For your 250…I like starting with the shriek of the siren, but does she have to be waking up? That’s a cliche you may want to avoid. The writing is solid. I love the subtle world building going on, but again…isn’t this sci-fi? Holographic surfaces = sci-fi to me. Your story and writing hook me, I really don’t want something like a genre hang up to cause confusion.


    Ooh. I love the connection of the volcanic eruption with superhuman powers. That’s a spin I haven’t seen before. And the twist of Cal being labelled a villain really hooks me!

    I might mention Cal’s power in the first paragraph since it’s such an important part of her character and the story. In the last paragraph “Cal seems doomed to an early death” reads vague. How’s she doomed? I also think you can delete “any” from the second sentence of the last paragraph.

    Love the last line, “even heroes can be villainous.” Like QUEEN OF DRONES, my suggestions here are minor because I love both of these story concepts.

    The writing in your 250 is gorgeous and your first paragraph instantly generates sympathy for your character while introducing me to the world. Great job.

    Nitpicks. There’s unnecessary commas after ribs in the first sentence of the second paragraph and water in the first sentence of the third. This is worrisome because it leads me to believe their might be splices throughout the whole manuscript.

    Also, “seemed to” is unnecessary filtering. All you need is “In the flickering candlelight, my knuckles glowed a luminous white.”


    Great job overall guys. This was one of my favorite match ups to read :D

  8. Queen - Query - This book sounds great, and I would love to read it. Is that constructive enough?

    250 - A few things: It took me a minute to realize that the alarm was not a good thing. Since she wakes up to it, I though it was an alarm clock. Maybe do this: "June woke up to the acidic shrieking of the _____ siren." Maybe something like, "the enclave's security" And I kind of like that she doesn't show a sense of urgency.

    "At sixteen, she was tiny and frail." This sentence sounds too forced and takes me out of the scene a little. Try working it in. Something like: “Kyle?” June never liked the sound of her voice. It was high-pitched -- tiny and frail like her -- and the discord between her chronological age of sixteen and the actual development of her body made her acutely self-conscious.

    And lastly, the last paragraph seems out of place, and even just the hint of backstory takes me out of the suspense. Maybe try to reword it to stay in the moment.

    Overall, refer back to my initial statement!

    My Name - Query - First off, this book sounds really good. Just a couple things. The mention of the father threw me. If the father is important to Cal maybe mention it a little earlier in the query. And, if possible, maybe throw in a quick reference as to why villains want info on Solar Flare.

    250 - Can't say much about it. It's really good writing.