The Whip-Slip query

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thewhipslip
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Re: The Whip-Slip query

Post by thewhipslip » July 16th, 2010, 1:14 pm

This is still a very rough draft, but I want to see if it's headed in the right direction:

17-year-old Thea Vans would do anything for her best friend, Tully. That’s why she’s never going to speak to him again.

It was small at first: a fresh cut healed under her fingertips; a bruise left on her guardian’s arm with a tiny touch; a whisper in the back of her mind that wasn’t her voice. Then puberty hit, and what was small became a problem. A noticeable problem.

There was a voice. Left-Hander, as Thea named her. And Left-Hander controlled the powers. With a single touch, Thea could heal – or she could hurt. Anger toward another gave them nosebleeds, hives, and the occasional episode of projectile vomiting. Sympathy could cure their cold, broken leg, or offer a blissful state of sleep.

Too bad Left-Hander preferred the hurt part. And she’s got the temperament of a two-year-old. Thea was always a freak at school, but now Left-Hander’s deciding who to punish independent of Thea – and there’s little Thea can do about stopping her or the powers that Left-Hander sends through her body. That’s why Thea can’t be around Tully. He says the wrong thing, touches her in the wrong way, and Left-Hander will bite.

Thea’s Uncle Trenton knows, but he won’t tell her who Left-Hander is, or where the powers come from. All he wants her to do is hide them. Easier said than done when a group of teenagers with the power to animate the dead turn the local high school hangout into a scene from George Romero’s latest zombie flick. Thea realizes she can fight them – as long as Left-Hander agrees to it.

With Left-Hander’s reluctant help, she fends them off, but gets kidnapped by their leader in the process. And he knows exactly what she is. In his world, Thea’s known as a Hybrid – and not the environmentally-friendly kind. Someone who harnesses the power of Life, and the power of Death. The worst part: Hybrids are weapons of mass destruction in a secret war that’s been fought between the two forces since the beginning of time.

Thea’s the only Hybrid in existence, and she shouldn’t even be alive. Thea doesn’t have time to find out why before her kidnapper is overwhelmed by an enemy force: soldiers that share her healing powers. They mistake her for a long-lost member of their side, and Thea’s officially invited to join their war. If they find out what she really is, it could change everything. The real reason Thea joins: Tully was injured in the attack. And they’re the only ones who can heal him.

THE WHIP-SLIP is a young adult fantasy novel complete at 90,000 words. This will fit well alongside the works of your clients xxx & xxxx.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
This is about 500 words, so my question is: Can the last paragraph be cut? Is it intriguing enough to find out that Thea's a weapon of mass destruction and leave it there? Also, Tully's a vital character in the book because he represents the normal life Thea really wants to have, but never will. I mention him at the beginning because of that, but if the last paragraph's cut, it might seem irrelevant to mention him at the start. Thoughts? Opinions? Anything else that's confusing in here? I like the beginning, but past the attack, I'm not sure. Thanks to everyone who posts - it's really great to have the feedback!
http://elenasolodow.blogspot.com/ - Submit your 250-500 word excerpt to be read out loud in a vlog post!

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wilderness
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Re: The Whip-Slip query

Post by wilderness » July 16th, 2010, 3:04 pm

This is a lot clearer, but needs to be pruned. I've put my recommendations on what to cut below. You'll have to change some of the transitions to make it work.
Also, there are some tense inconsistencies. The whole thing should be present tense.

But really, this makes a lot more sense. Nice work.

thewhipslip wrote:
17-year-old Thea Vans would do anything for her best friend, Tully. That’s why she’s never going to speak to him again.
It was small at first: a fresh cut healed under her fingertips; a bruise left on her guardian’s arm with a tiny touch; a whisper in the back of her mind that wasn’t her voice. Then puberty hit, and what was small became a problem. A noticeable problem. Cut this paragraph and go straight to the noticeable problem.

There was a voice. Left-Hander, as Thea named her. And Left-Hander controlled the powers. With a single touch, Thea could heal – or she could hurt. Anger toward another gave them nosebleeds, hives, and the occasional episode of projectile vomiting. Sympathy could cure their cold, broken leg, or offer a blissful state of sleep.

Too bad Left-Hander preferred the hurt part. And she’s got the temperament of a two-year-old. Thea was always a freak at school, but now Left-Hander’s deciding who to punish independent of Thea – and there’s little Thea can do about stopping her or the powers that Left-Hander sends through her body. That’s why Thea can’t be around Tully. He says the wrong thing, touches her in the wrong way, and Left-Hander will bite. Intriguing.

Thea’s Uncle Trenton knows, but he won’t tell her who Left-Hander is, or where the powers come from. All he wants her to do is hide them. Easier said than done when a group of teenagers with the power to animate the dead turn the local high school hangout into a scene from George Romero’s latest zombie flick. Thea realizes she can fight them – as long as Left-Hander agrees to it.

With Left-Hander’s reluctant help, she fends them off, but gets
Go directly to kidnapping part. The fight is not that important. kidnapped by their leader in the process. And he knows exactly what she is. In his world, Thea’s known as a Hybrid – and not the environmentally-friendly kind. Someone who harnesses the power of Life, and the power of Death. The worst part: Hybrids are weapons of mass destruction in a secret war that’s been fought between the two forces since the beginning of time. This is good, maybe just add one sentence that represents her conflict. "Now Thea has to decide..."

Thea’s the only Hybrid in existence, and she shouldn’t even be alive. Thea doesn’t have time to find out why before her kidnapper is overwhelmed by an enemy force: soldiers that share her healing powers. They mistake her for a long-lost member of their side, and Thea’s officially invited to join their war. If they find out what she really is, it could change everything. The real reason Thea joins: Tully was injured in the attack. And they’re the only ones who can heal him.

THE WHIP-SLIP is a young adult fantasy novel complete at 90,000 words. This will fit well alongside the works of your clients xxx & xxxx.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

thewhipslip
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Re: The Whip-Slip query

Post by thewhipslip » July 16th, 2010, 4:40 pm

Thanks, wilderness! Phew, at least I'm on the right track. I see where I go into too much detail (that's a bad habit for most writers, eh?). I appreciate your comments!
http://elenasolodow.blogspot.com/ - Submit your 250-500 word excerpt to be read out loud in a vlog post!

gilesth
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Re: The Whip-Slip query

Post by gilesth » July 16th, 2010, 4:51 pm

I agree with Wilderness's suggestions. The only thing I would add (for now, at least) is try to remove all passive verbs, like was, had, has, etc.. It can be difficult to do, but if it's possible, it really can spice up your query.

thewhipslip
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Re: The Whip-Slip query

Post by thewhipslip » July 16th, 2010, 5:01 pm

Hi gilesth - Yeah, this is the first draft. I just wanted to make sure the content was in the right place before I worked on individual sentences. Thanks!
http://elenasolodow.blogspot.com/ - Submit your 250-500 word excerpt to be read out loud in a vlog post!

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Re: The Whip-Slip query

Post by EvelynEhrlich » July 16th, 2010, 6:49 pm

thewhipslip,
You are definitely on the right track. This query resonated with me so much more. The MC and plot come through, and you still have voice. I agree with wilderness's comments. Good luck as you fine-tune.

thewhipslip
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Re: The Whip-Slip query

Post by thewhipslip » July 16th, 2010, 7:14 pm

Thanks, Evelyn!
http://elenasolodow.blogspot.com/ - Submit your 250-500 word excerpt to be read out loud in a vlog post!

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Re: The Whip-Slip query

Post by suesan0814 » July 17th, 2010, 4:35 pm

Suggestions: (add)[delete]***comments

Dear [Agent],

Crack the Whip or let it Slip, the motto for a centuries-old war fought by soldiers endowed with the power of Life: the Slips, and those with the power of Death: the Whips. With one touch, the Slips can heal all illnesses and ailments. With another, the Whips can flood your system with the symptoms of any disease on Web M.D. You lost me in the first paragraph, I had a hard time getting it. Maybe: Crack the Whip or let it Slip, the motto for a centuries-old war fought by soldiers endowed with the power of Life or Death. The Slips can heal all illnesses and ailments with one touch. The Whips can flood your system with the symptoms of any disease on Web M.D.

The people that say opposites attract have never seen the Whips and Slips locked in a room together.

17-year-old Thea Vans is that room. She’s a Hybrid – and not the environmentally-friendly kind. Hybrids are the rare children born of a Whip and Slip, but locking two enemy powers in one body? Not exactly conducive to staying alive…

So how come Thea’s bucket never kicked?

She doesn’t even know it was supposed to, and the only war she’s aware of is the one inside of her (head). Having the power of Life [and](AND) Death isn’t so great when the formless being living in your head is the one who controls them. Cue Left-Hander, who has the temperament of a two-year-old and uses the Whip side (of Thea) to express herself. When Thea’s not running from high school classmates for inexplicably causing nosebleeds, coughing fits, and the occasional episode of projectile-vomiting, she tolerates the lectures of her guardian, Uncle Trenton, who’s firmly against telling Thea who – or what – she is. Or what she’s meant to do.

Trenton warns her to hide what she’s capable of, even from her best friend, Tully. There will be consequences if she doesn’t. And she really does try, honest[ –](...)

(...)Until a group of Whips track her down and turn the local high school hangout into a scene from George Romero’s latest zombie flick.

What? You think she’s just going to sit there?

Playing the hero with Left-Hander’s reluctant aid, Thea fends them off but gets kidnapped by one of the attackers in the process. He’s the one who tells her the truth: she’s a weapon of mass destruction – one that’s killed on sight.

Gulp.

When the Slips find them, overwhelm her kidnapper, and mistake Thea for a long-lost member of their Slip tribe, what choice does she have but to lie? Now that they’ve found her, she can’t go back to high school – so she’ll have to keep her Hybridity a secret.

Easy.

Right, Left-Hander?

Left-Hander? You there?

THE WHIP-SLIP is a 90,000-word young adult fantasy [novel] that will fit well alongside the works of your clients xxx & xxx. [Beyond the Whip-Slip series, I have three additional series outlined, all in the young adult genre.]Don't know as you need to mention the outlines unless they are sequels, but even then they are not a complete work, so I would cut this part.

Hope I helped. This sounds like an exceptional YA. I wish you luck.

Susan Stec
The Grateful Undead: They're So Vein

thewhipslip
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Re: The Whip-Slip query

Post by thewhipslip » July 17th, 2010, 5:19 pm

Hey Susan - Thanks! I posted a revised version in a new post. Let me know what you think.
http://elenasolodow.blogspot.com/ - Submit your 250-500 word excerpt to be read out loud in a vlog post!

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Re: The Whip-Slip query

Post by suesan0814 » July 17th, 2010, 9:28 pm

thewhipslip wrote:Hey Susan - Thanks! I posted a revised version in a new post. Let me know what you think.

Will do!

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Re: The Whip-Slip query

Post by Thermocline » August 9th, 2010, 12:16 pm

thewhipslip wrote:17-year-old Thea Vans would do anything for her best friend, Tully. That’s why she’s never going to speak to him again.Cool first paragraph. I definitely want to read more.

It was small at first: a fresh cut healed under her fingertips; a bruise left on her guardian’s arm with a tiny touch; a whisper in the back of her mind that wasn’t her voice. Then puberty hit, and what was small became a problem. A noticeable problem.

There was a voice. Left-Hander, as Thea named her. And Left-Hander controlled the powers.
You jump from a first paragraph in the present moment, then go into the past and give us backstory. I think you could cut this because the next line tells us more about Thea's power than this section and it would be easy to clarify who Left-Hander is below. Plus, as you say below, this is a long query. Here is an easy way to cut words and keep us within the flow you established in the first paragraph. With a single touch, Thea could can heal – or she could can hurt. Anger toward another gave them nosebleeds, hives, and the occasional episode of projectile vomiting. Sympathy could cure their cold, broken leg, or offer a blissful state of sleep. Show this to us in an active way, rather than using passive voice. Are there specific events in which she made noses bleed or she healed broken legs? You could mention Left-Hander here.

Too bad Left-Hander preferred the hurt part. And she’s got the temperament of a two-year-old. Thea was always a freak at school, but now Why now? What changed? Left-Hander’s deciding who to punish independent of Thea – and there’s little Thea can do about stopping her or the powers that Left-Hander sends through her body. All this can be assumed with the simple phrase "Left-Hander's deciding who to punish. That’s why Thea can’t be around Tully. He says the wrong thing, touches her in the wrong way, and Left-Hander will bite. Showing us what Left-Hander wants might be effective here. It wants all of Thea's affections? It enjoys causing pain?

Thea’s Uncle Trenton knows, but he won’t tell her who Left-Hander is, or where the powers come from. All he wants her to do is hide them. Uncle Trenton appears, does nothing, then disappears for the rest of the query. Is is necessary to mention him? Easier said than done when a group of teenagers with the power to animate the dead turn the local high school hangout into a scene from George Romero’s latest zombie flick. This pop culture reference threw me. You've got a nice paranormal set up going on here then bring us right into the real world. I'd suggest cutting the movie reference. Thea realizes she can fight them – as long as Left-Hander agrees to it.

With Left-Hander’s reluctant help, she fends them The zombies or the group of teenagers? off, but gets kidnapped by their leader in the process. And he knows exactly what she is. In his world,Is this a world inside his head or is this the world Thea lives in too? Thea’s known as a Hybrid – and not the environmentally-friendly kind. Another pop culture reference I'd suggest ditching. Someone who harnesses the power of Life, and the power of Death. "The power of" is repetitive. The worst part: Hybrids are weapons of mass destruction in a secret war that’s been fought between the two forces Which two forces?since the beginning of time.

Thea’s the only Hybrid in existence What about the teens who can reanimate the dead? Why aren't they considered hybrids too?, and she shouldn’t even be alive. Thea doesn’t have time to find out why before her kidnapper is overwhelmed by an enemy force: soldiers that share her healing powers. Aren't they hybrids too? They mistake her for a long-lost member of their side, and Thea’s officially invited to join their war. If they find out what she really is, it could change everything. The real reason Thea joins: Tully was injured in the attack. And they’re the only ones who can heal him. By the end of this paragraph, I figured out the answers to my questions about the two sides and why she's the only hybrid. This has to be clearer sooner. I think you could combine the last two paragraphs by simplifying the conflict - She's kidnapped by the forces of Death, then captured by the forces of Life. Cut back on the set up and show us the crux of your book. What is the choice Thea has to make? What are the stakes for either choice?]
Trimming back on the details will help the central conflict of your story come through much easier. Good luck!

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Re: The Whip-Slip query

Post by thewhipslip » August 11th, 2010, 10:22 pm

Thanks to all who commented. I'm pretty happy with this version. Let me know what you think:


Seventeen-year-old Thea Vans will do anything to protect her best friend, Tully. That’s why she’ll never speak to him again.

Thea can hurt or heal with a single touch. Nosebleeds, hives, projectile vomiting. Another touch cures colds, mends broken legs, or induces blissful sleep. She’s always hidden her abilities – but that was before Left-Hander, the new and inexplicable voice in her head. And Left-Hander controls the powers now.

Unfortunately for Thea, Left-Hander prefers hurting to healing. Thea can’t stop her when she decides to punish someone - and it doesn’t take much to annoy Left-Hander. No one’s safe, not even Tully.

Thea’s forced to give up the only refuge she’s ever had from an abusive uncle, taunting classmates, and a self-control that was never so great to begin with.

Before she can figure out just who – or what – Left-Hander is, a group of teenagers with powers identical to Thea’s hurt side unleash a deadly epidemic on the local park. Thea and Left-Hander work together to fight them, but doing so hurls Thea into a world that her uncle hid from her. A world where she’s the last remaining weapon of mass destruction in the secret war between the soldiers of Life, and the soldiers of Death. If either side discovers what she is, thousands will die. Including her.

But Tully’s injured in the attack on the park. Only the soldiers of Life can heal him. Thea won’t let him enter their world alone. If she can hide her abilities, maybe she’ll make it out alive.

If Left-Hander cooperates, of course.

THE WHIP-SLIP is a young adult fantasy novel complete at 90,000 words. [Personalization here...]


Thanks for your comments!
http://elenasolodow.blogspot.com/ - Submit your 250-500 word excerpt to be read out loud in a vlog post!

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wilderness
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Re: The Whip-Slip query

Post by wilderness » August 12th, 2010, 1:27 pm

thewhipslip wrote:
Seventeen-year-old Thea Vans will do anything to protect her best friend, Tully. That’s why she’ll never speak to him again. I like this hook.

Thea can hurt or heal with a single touch. One touch yields nosebleeds, hives, projectile vomiting. Another touch cures colds, mends broken legs, or induces blissful sleep. She’s always hidden her abilities – but that was before Left-Hander, the new and inexplicable voice in her head. And Left-Hander controls the powers now.

Unfortunately for Thea, Left-Hander prefers hurting to healing. Thea can’t stop her when she decides to punish someone - and it doesn’t take much to annoy Left-Hander. No one’s safe, not even Tully.

Thea’s forced to give up the only refuge she’s ever had from an abusive uncle, taunting classmates, and a self-control that was never so great to begin with. This sentence isn't really moving the plot forward and seems unnecessary.

Before she can figure out just who – or what – Left-Hander is, a group of teenagers with powers identical to Thea’s hurt side unleash a deadly epidemic on the local park. Thea and Left-Hander work together to fight them, but doing so hurls Thea into a world that her uncle hid from her. A world where she’s the last remaining weapon of mass destruction in the secret war between the soldiers of Life, and the soldiers of Death. If either side discovers what she is, thousands will die. Including herThea.

ButTully’s injured in the attack on the park. Only the soldiers of Life can heal him, but Thea won’t let him enter their world alone. If she can hide her abilities, maybe she’ll they'll both make it out alive.

If Left-Hander cooperates, of course.

THE WHIP-SLIP is a young adult fantasy novel complete at 90,000 words. [Personalization here...]


Thanks for your comments!
I think this is really good. The changes I suggested are very minor. Best of luck with this.

thewhipslip
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Re: The Whip-Slip query

Post by thewhipslip » August 12th, 2010, 6:43 pm

Thanks so much, wilderness! I agree about that sentence...I was wondering if it should get the chop. Thanks for the confirmation!
http://elenasolodow.blogspot.com/ - Submit your 250-500 word excerpt to be read out loud in a vlog post!

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RebeccaB
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Re: The Whip-Slip query

Post by RebeccaB » August 13th, 2010, 8:40 am

Hi,
I really enjoyed your query, The use of Left-Hander as a character name seemed a little awkward, and took several reads to get used to. I think you are using it as a reference to the hand of the devil, but i wonder if a more strait forward name would flow better.


Seventeen-year-old Thea Vans will do anything to protect her best friend, Tully. That’s why she’ll never speak to him again. I really like this opening sentence, it sets up the main character, her values and her devotion to her friend.

Thea can hurt or heal with a single touch. Nosebleeds, hives, projectile vomiting. Another touch cures colds, mends broken legs, or induces blissful sleep. She’s always hidden her abilities – but that was before Left-Hander, the new and inexplicable voice in her head. And Left-Hander controls the powers now. Great, love the introduction of powers and conflict.

Unfortunately for Thea, Left-Hander prefers hurting to healing. Thea can’t stop her when she decides to punish someone - and it doesn’t take much to annoy Left-Hander. No one’s safe, not even Tully. This leaves me wondering if she hurts Tully, it makes me want to know more.

Thea’s forced to give up the only refuge she’s ever had from an abusive uncle, taunting classmates, and a self-control that was never so great to begin with. I agree with wilderness, this sentence is not really needed.

Before she can figure out just who – or what – Left-Hander is, a group of teenagers with powers identical to Thea’s hurt side unleash a deadly epidemic on the local park. Thea and Left-Hander work together to fight them, but doing so hurls Thea into a world that her uncle hid from her. A world where she’s the last remaining weapon of mass destruction in the secret war between the soldiers of Life, and the soldiers of Death. If either side discovers what she is, thousands will die. Including her. I thought Left-Hander was a voice in her head? is this voice from someone or something? I assumed it was her own internal dark side. Maybe could re-word the last sentence? not sure about the 'Including her'.
I played with the next two sentence a little;
ButTully is injured in the attack on the park and only the soldiers of Life can heal him. But Thea won’t let him enter their world alone. If she can hide her abilities long enough, they might just make it out alive.

That is If Left-Hander cooperates, of course.

Overall i really enjoyed it.

Happy Inking
RebeccaB

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