Query-YA paranormal thriller NEWEST ATTEMPT IN POST #16

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bighockeyhair
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Re: Query-YA paranormal thriller NEWEST ATTEMPT IN POST #16

Post by bighockeyhair » June 8th, 2011, 11:39 pm

CURRENT ATTEMPT
Ok, I figured what the hell, I might as well post this (last?) one and see if anyone hated it or not. As always, any and all feedback is appreciated.

Dear Turbo Agent,

17-year-old Lysander Shore is determined to put an end to the bizarre out-of-body experiences that have plagued him since moving to Millingham. Hurtling headlong through strangers’ bedrooms in a zero-G nightmare, Lysander can deal with. It's the accompanying seizures that are killing him. Literally.

The experience goes from troubling to terrifying when Lysander witnesses next door neighbour, Reverend Nathaniel Small, murder one of the town’s residents. The Reverend shares Lysander's unique ability and uses it to possess his victims, forcing them to commit suicide. And he’s convinced the Reverend saw him.

Lysander knows no one will believe his story, especially coming from a kid who wears black nail polish and looks like he’s dressed for a funeral. Until he meets Samantha Crow -- a strangely familiar young girl on a mission to prove her mother's suspicious death was no suicide.

As the two struggle to find proof of the Reverend’s guilt, they stumble upon a dark secret that traces back to a witch's brutal torture and execution 350 years before.

But stopping the Reverend won't be easy. For Lysander, it'll mean learning to control the very out-of-body experiences that are killing him.
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Re: Query-YA paranormal thriller NEWEST ATTEMPT IN POST #16

Post by AllieS » June 9th, 2011, 4:52 am

17-year-old Lysander Shore is determined to put an end to the bizarre out-of-body experiences that have plagued him since moving to Millingham. Hurtling headlong through strangers’ bedrooms in a zero-G nightmare, Lysander can deal with. It's the accompanying seizures that are killing him. Literally. Love the beginning.

The experience There's something about the phrasing of this that doesn't work for me. Maybe it's the fact that you already use the word experience above, but I think I'd just like a different, more specific way of starting this line off.goes from troubling to terrifying when Lysander witnesses next door neighbour, Reverend Nathaniel Small, murder one of the town’s residents. The Reverend shares Lysander's unique ability and uses it to possess his victims, forcing them to commit suicide. And he’s convinced the Reverend saw him.

Lysander knows no one will believe his story, especially coming from a kid who wears black nail polish and looks like he’s dressed for a funeral. Until I think the word "then" would work better than until in this context, especially since you're using it to start a sentence. he meets Samantha Crow -- a strangely familiar young girl on a mission to prove her mother's suspicious death was no suicide.

As the two struggle to find proof of the Reverend’s guilt, they stumble upon a dark secret that traces back to a witch's brutal torture and execution 350 years before.

But stopping the Reverend won't be easy. For Lysander, it'll mean learning to control the very out-of-body experiences that are killing him.
I wish there was another sentence linking these two sentences. I think your query is compact enough that you have space to fit another line or two of detail. I'd also like another line after this last one...it seems too sudden of an ending for me.

Good changes!

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Re: Query-YA paranormal thriller NEWEST ATTEMPT IN POST #16

Post by michelleimason » June 9th, 2011, 1:55 pm

With each version you've gone through on this query letter, I've gotten a slightly different idea of the focus. So I think which one you use depends on what you really want to convey. With the first one, I had no idea Lysander was experiencing something like what the reverend does, and I think that's key information. This current version shows how his experience clues him in to what the reverend is doing, but I'm still not clear on how he witnesses it. Other comments below:
bighockeyhair wrote:CURRENT ATTEMPT

Dear Turbo Agent,

17-year-old Lysander Shore is determined to put an end to the bizarre out-of-body experiences that have plagued him since moving to Millingham. Hurtling headlong through strangers’ bedrooms in a zero-G nightmare, Lysander can deal with. It's the accompanying seizures that are killing him. Literally.

The experience goes from troubling to terrifying when Lysander witnesses next door neighbour, Reverend Nathaniel Small, murder one of the town’s residents. The Reverend shares Lysander's unique ability and uses it to possess his victims, forcing them to commit suicide. And he’s convinced the Reverend saw him. This paragraph could be stronger to connect the dots. How does he know the reverend has the same ability? Does he see the reverend go into a seizure near the person committing suicide? Is there some indicator when the person is possessed? And how does the reverend control it when it seems to happen to Lysander unexpectedly? Obviously you don't want to give too much detail here, but it does leave some questions of how he comes to these conclusions.

Lysander knows no one will believe his story, especially coming from a kid who wears black nail polish and looks like he’s dressed for a funeral.Seems a little cliche to describe his appearance as a reason no one will believe him. I think it's enough to say no one will believe him because it's so out there. UntilThen he meets Samantha Crow -- a strangely familiar young girl on a mission to prove her mother's suspicious death was no suicide.Why is she strangely familiar? I'd make it more specific: a young girl who bears a striking resemblance to the woman whose suicide he witnessed. That's too wordy, but just tie it together more.

As the two struggle to find (telling - keep it simpler with "search for") proof of the Reverend’s guilt, they stumble upon a dark secret that traces back to a witch's brutal torture and execution 350 years before.

But stopping the Reverend won't be easy. For Lysander, it'll mean learning to control the very out-of-body experiences that are killing him. This last line seems a little repetitive from the earlier comment.
Overall, I think the story sounds very intriguing. From a practical standpoint, though, I wonder why it's so hard to stop him. If he has seizures and/or is lifeless while he's in someone else's body, couldn't they do something to him then? I didn't have this question when I read the first query, but because you explain that Lysander's having seizures and the reverend does the same thing, it makes me think the reverend is vulnerable then. I love the idea of linking it back to a witch 350 years earlier. Good luck!

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Quill
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Re: Query-YA paranormal thriller NEWEST ATTEMPT IN POST #16

Post by Quill » June 9th, 2011, 11:56 pm

bighockeyhair wrote:CURRENT ATTEMPT

17-year-old Lysander Shore
Might be best to spell out 17 to avoid beginning a sentence and your query with a numeral.
is determined to put an end to the bizarre out-of-body experiences that have plagued him since moving to Millingham.
I'd like to know where this place is. New Hampshire? Hampshire, England? Also, are we contemporary? Back in the 1600s?
Hurtling headlong through strangers’ bedrooms in a zero-G nightmare,
Good, but not sure what "zero-G nightmare" is. Probably just me.
Lysander can deal with.
He can?? How?
It's the accompanying seizures that are killing him. Literally.

The experience goes from troubling to terrifying
Hurtling and seizures that are killing him are merely troubling?
when Lysander witnesses next door neighbour, Reverend Nathaniel Small, murder one of the town’s residents. The Reverend shares Lysander's unique ability and uses it to possess his victims, forcing them to commit suicide. And he’s convinced the Reverend saw him.
Okay, but I'd say "And Lysander is convinced..." As is it appears to be "And the Reverand's convinced," being that the Rev is the subject of the previous sentence.
Lysander knows no one will believe his story, especially coming from a kid who wears black nail polish and looks like he’s dressed for a funeral.
No one? How does he know this? How is he a hundred percent sure, to say it with such immediate finality? Simply because he wears black?
Until he meets Samantha Crow -- a strangely familiar young girl on a mission to prove her mother's suspicious death was no suicide.

As the two struggle to find proof of the Reverend’s guilt, they stumble upon a dark secret that traces back to a witch's brutal torture and execution 350 years before.
Good.
But stopping the Reverend won't be easy. For Lysander, it'll mean learning to control the very out-of-body experiences that are killing him.
Okay.

I'd combine the last three paragraphs into one.

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