Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Saturday Slash

Meet the BBC Hatchet of Death (or, some other colorful description RC Lewis and I come up with at any given moment). This is how I edit myself, it is how I edit others. If you think you want to play with me and my hatchet, shoot us an email.

We all know the first line of a query is your "hook." I call the last line the "sinker." You want it to punch  them in the face, in a nice, friendly kind of way that makes them unable to forget you after having read the 300 other queries in their inbox. Also, at the end, I'm going to tell you what I think your story is about, based on your query. I know how hard it is to get your ideas across succinctly, and how easy it is for your author's brain to fill in the blanks and not see the gaping holes that the average reader may very well fall into.

Also, for my brave Saturday Slash volunteers I will gladly do follow-up slashes (each more kindly than the next) on your query if you post them on the Query Critique board over on AgentQuery Connect. You'll get advice from me, and also people who are smarter than me. If you do post on AQ, be sure to follow the guidelines and let me know you posted so that I can follow up!

And now for the next brave volunteer. For clarity, my comments are in yellow.

When a chair lift accident leaves seventeen year-old Lauren Peterson in a coma, she can’t imagine anything worse than being trapped in her body with no way to communicate. Until, she’s trapped in someone else’s. Rockin'. This is solid.

After hospital employee Dave Cooper rips Lauren’s soul from her unconscious body, no one even knows she’s missing. Her monitors continue to beep and the oxygen still whistles; but she is now inside of Dave. I'm totally hooked.

Lauren watches helplessly as her captor continues to take souls one by one. But when his other victims begin to control his behavior in odd and sometimes dangerous ways, she thinks it may be the key to her freedom. How so?

As she fights to get through to someone on the outside, she knows she’s running out of time. Not only are the other souls disappearing, Lauren’s starting to question everything. Because when you have a front row seat to someone’s life, it’s easy to see that everyone has two sides. Very nice.

SUSPENDED STATE is a young adult paranormal thriller complete at 50,000 words.

As you can see by my lack of comments, I'm not sure how much you need me here ; ) I do have some overall suggestions though.

The writing here is sparse and tight, perfect for a query. But there are some broader things that I need as a reader to understand the story. What is Dave's motivation for stealing souls? What does he gain by doing this? He can't be living vicariously through comatose people. Also, it sound like they control him occasionally, so perhaps it's not always to his benefit?

Also I made a note about how is that fact the possible key to her escape? And what do you mean by the other souls are disappearing? Is this why she's running out of time? I very much like the idea that she's questioning everything. That line, along with your sinker implies that our bad guy Dave isn't horrible through and through. Unless that's not what you're going for, it's pitch perfect.

Get those larger ideas out there and you're ready to query. Great job, and fantastic concept - I'd buy it!

4 comments:

Summer Ross said...

I agree the concept is really good. I was hooked.

Mindy McGinnis said...

Yeah definitely, as a reader I'd pick this up a in second.

Carmen said...

Author here...
Thanks so much for doing this! I really appreciate the comments/suggestions. I'll make a few tweaks accordingly before I send this off to agentland. I knew a black cat would never steer me wrong.
Thank you!!
Carmen

Mindy McGinnis said...

Yeah, we're actually good luck :)