QUERY - Toxic *REVISION 3*

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AMSchilling
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QUERY - Toxic *REVISION 3*

Post by AMSchilling » July 21st, 2010, 10:08 pm

NEW AND (HOPEFULLY) IMPROVED VERSION!

Since this is another re-write, I'm going to put it in this post as well as at the end of the responses to make it easier to find.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated! All of my responses from previous queries have come back in now, so I'm chomping at the bit to get a new version out to the next group. Thanks!!



Dear XXX,

Everywhere Tizzy Banks goes, she bumps into something straight out of a fairy tale or a nightmare. From a werewolf with a thing for soccer to a leprechaun that slings coffee at a local pub, her new town is so high on the creep-o-meter scale that it needs some new numbers. Even worse, the monsters have figured out her secret: unlike most humans, Tizzy can see them. Now she's got the werewolf following her like a pet dog, a soon-to-be-dead vampire trying to date her, and a chess-playing dragon bugging her to go on a quest.

Too bad her supernatural social life is the least of her problems. Tizzy’s discovered she’s got a power she didn’t know she had, and it’s a big one even for a monster-seeing freak like her. When she uses it and scares the whole town, the ruling fairy clan comes looking for revenge. It's a good thing for Tizzy that they don't know who did it, because fairy vengeance means slavery or death. But how long will it take them to track her down? When she adds in the local vampire clan thinking she'd make the perfect undead happy meal, her life expectancy seems to be heading toward "nil."

With the dragon telling her to figure things out, including why she can see monsters and what it says about her humanity, Tizzy turns to her new supernatural friends for help. Unfortunately for her, the dragon didn't warn her that one friend may break her heart, one may desert her, and one may turn her over to the fairies if things get rough. If she can't figure out who to trust and what the truth is about herself before the fairies come knocking on her door, her seventeenth birthday may be her last.

Set in modern day, TOXIC is a 85,000 YA urban fantasy novel. It is a stand-alone book with series potential. Thank you for your time and consideration.


------------------------------------

(ORIGINAL)

Okay, I'm going to jump into this pool (*gulp!*). I'm a relative newb here as far as posting, but I've been reading the query and excerpt feedback for a lot longer and it seems like most of you don't bite. You just nibble a little, right?

A little background on this - I've sent this out to 11 agents so far and have gotten 9 generic rejections/no responses, one semi-custom rejection (wasn't excited enough about the premise) and one request for a full (made me fall out of my chair. Almost literally.) The full had the first chapter attached, whereas most of the rejections were just the query. Gut instinct is telling me it isn't knock your socks off yet, so any suggestions or observations would be much appreciated! Even if said observation is "um, this has been done to death...you need a better angle." Thanks!!

-----------------------------------------

Dear NB Query-monsters,

Tizzy Banks has a problem. Everywhere she goes she bumps into something straight out of a fairy tale or a nightmare. From a werewolf with a thing for soccer jerseys to a leprechaun that slings coffee at a local pub, her new town is so high on the creep-o-meter scale that it broke it. Even worse, the monsters have figured out her secret: unlike most humans, Tizzy can see them. Now the monsters are hell-bent on bringing the teenaged movie blogger into their group.

All Tizzy wants to do is write her reviews and get to know her estranged dad, but the monsters won’t leave her alone. She's got a werewolf following her around like a pet dog, a talking bird quoting poetry at her, and a chess-playing dragon bugging her to go on a quest. The vampires are taking an interest in her, too, including the crazy head of the local clan and his too cute son who keeps getting her in trouble. She has more than enough bloodsuckers in her life considering her past, when the New York vamps left her for dead in an alley. Why does she seem to attract them like flies?

When the fairies come to town, searching for a creature they claim could be a threat to the whole community, her problems turn serious. The creature they're looking for is Tizzy, who just wanted one night of fun but learned the hard way that fun can be a dangerous thing—especially when there’s a monster involved. Tizzy has to decide which of her new friends to trust to help her, before the fairies and their human private investigator come knocking on her door. Figuring out why she can see what she sees, and what's up with her father and his quirks, will be the knowledge she needs to stay alive and defend herself from fairy justice.

Set in modern day, TOXIC is an 85,000 urban fantasy novel for the Young Adult/Teen market. It is written to stand alone as a single book, but is planned as the first novel in a series. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best Regards,
Last edited by AMSchilling on August 12th, 2010, 1:03 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: QUERY - Toxic (YA Urban Fiction)

Post by sbs_mjc1 » July 21st, 2010, 10:17 pm

Tizzy Banks has a problem. Everywhere she goes she bumps into something straight out of a fairy tale or a nightmare, . From like a werewolf with a thing for soccer jerseys to and a leprechaun that slings coffee at a local pub, her new town is so high on the creep-o-meter scale that it broke it. Even worse, the monsters have figured out her secret: unlike most humans, Tizzy can see them. Now the monsters are hell-bent on bringing the teenaged movie blogger into their group.

All Tizzy wants to do is write her reviews and get to know her estranged dad, but the monsters won’t leave her alone. She's got a werewolf following her around like a pet dog, a talking bird quoting poetry at her, and a chess-playing dragon bugging her to go on a quest. The vampires are taking an interest in her, too, including the crazy head of the local clan and his too cute son who keeps getting her in trouble. She has more than enough bloodsuckers in her life considering her past, when the New York vamps left her for dead in an alley. Why does she seem to attract them like flies? Although the second-to-last sentence is interesting, it is a bit tangential to the main pitch.

When the fairies come to town, searching for a creature they claim could be a threat to the whole community, her problems turn serious. The creature they're looking for is Tizzy,who just wanted one night of fun but learned the hard way that fun can be a dangerous thing—especially when there’s a monster involved. Tizzy has to decide which of her new friends to trust to help her, before the fairies and their human private investigator come knocking on her door. Figuring out why she can see what she sees, and what's up with her father and his quirks, will be the knowledge she needs to stay alive and defend herself from fairy justice.

Set in modern day,TOXIC is an 85,000 urban fantasy novel for the Young Adult/Teen market. It is written to stand alone as a single book, but is planned as the first novel in a series. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Overall, I like your query-- it has an upbeat tone and a coherent plot outline. The main issue is the tendency for tangents.
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Re: QUERY - Toxic (YA Urban Fiction)

Post by JustineDell » July 21st, 2010, 10:36 pm

AMSchilling wrote:
"RAWR!!!!"
"Oh, my, JD, what big teeth you have."
"Don't worry, my dear. They're filed...I only tear, not rips queries completely to shreds."

;-)

Hey! First things first, I wanted to say, I LOVE the premise you've got going here. I don't read a lot of YA, but I'd probably pick this up. Leprechans? Dragons? Wolves? AND Vamps? Sweeeet!

Now, on with the shredding...er, I mean tearing.

-----------------------------------------

Dear NB Query-monsters,

Tizzy Banks has a problem. Everywhere she goes she bumps into something straight out of a fairy tale or a nightmare. From a werewolf with a thing for soccer jerseys to a leprechaun that slings coffee at a local pub, her new town is so high on the creep-o-meter scale that it broke it. Even worse, the monsters have figured out her secret: unlike most humans, Tizzy can see them. Now the monsters are hell-bent on bringing the teenaged movie blogger into their group.<--I like this first paragraph. I would suggest breaking up the second sentence, though.

All Tizzy wants to do is write her reviews and get to know her estranged dad, but the monsters won’t leave her alone. She's got a werewolf following her around like a pet dog, a talking bird quoting poetry at her, and a chess-playing dragon bugging her to go on a quest. The vampires are taking an interest in her, too, including the crazy head of the local clan and his too cute son who keeps getting her in trouble. She has had more than enough bloodsuckers in her life considering her past (I think you should put a dash here instead of a coma) when the New York vamps left her for dead in an alley. Why does she seem to attract them like flies? <--Delete and make this a statement: She attracts trouble like flies.

When the fairies come to town, searching for a creature they claim could be a threat to the whole community, her problems turn serious. The creature they're looking for <--deleteis Tizzy. Tizzy just wanted one night of fun but learned the hard way that fun can be a dangerous thing—especially when there’s a monster involved. <--This I don't get. What whas Tizzy's "one night of fun"? And what did the monster have to do with it? Tizzy has to decide which of her new friends to trust to help her, before the fairies and their human private investigator come knocking on her door. Figuring out why she can see what she sees, and what's up with her father and his quirks, will be the knowledge she needs to stay alive and defend herself from fairy justice. <--Again, I don't really get this. I don't get a clear picture of what the father has to do with the big picture. Also, are the fairies good guys, or bad guys? And why is Tizzy a threat? I mean, since only Tizzy can see the monsters, I don't see the problem. I think, and this is my unpublished opinion, you need a better hook at the end. The intro, the stakes, the hook.

Set in modern day, TOXIC is an 85,000 urban fantasy novel for the Young Adult/Teen market. It is written to stand alone as a single book, but is planned as the first novel in a series. <--Check the agents specifics. Some want to know this info, some don't. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best Regards,
Nice job!

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Re: QUERY - Toxic (YA Urban Fiction)

Post by Krista G. » July 22nd, 2010, 2:09 am

Well, once again, I find myself agreeing with sbs_mjc1:)

I'm not going to go line-by-line with this one, because this reads pretty well (although sbs_mjc1 found some excellent clauses to cut). (Okay, one line-by-line note: I think you can come up with a better start than "Tizzy Banks has a problem." Couldn't every query start with "[Insert MC's name here] has a problem"?) But I do think you spend too much time on world-building and not enough time on the actual conflict. The first two paragraphs present a laundry list of magical creatures, but don't really move the story along. So you might try cutting some of this description and then expanding on the third paragraph.

For instance, what threat does Tizzy present to the fairies? And what will happen if the fairies win? Telling us a little more about the stakes will go a long way, methinks.

Best of luck with this. It sounds like just the sort of thing I usually read.
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Re: QUERY - Toxic (YA Urban Fiction)

Post by AMSchilling » July 22nd, 2010, 9:00 am

Thanks, everyone! Some good food for thought, and a bit of a relief, too. I do spend a lot of time w/ the world-building and was worried what actually happens was getting lost. Guess one of the reasons was yes, there are vampires (though not vegan sparkly ones) and wanted to point out that no, that wasn't all there was. You're definitely given me some things to think about/re-work.

JD - LOL. Thanks for filing the teeth first, so I don't need big bandaids and awkward excuses about why I'm bleeding at work today. :-)
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Re: QUERY - Toxic (YA Urban Fiction)

Post by bookwatcher » July 22nd, 2010, 1:35 pm

Where I don't have any actual feedback on how good or bad your query is (I'm horrible at it, if you read mine) but I just wanted to mention that I loved it personally as a reader and it sounds intriguing. If I was in a bookstore (or most likely online) and read it, I would definitely buy it! Since most Queries are boring I think that must mean you've gotten something right. Good luck! :)

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Re: QUERY - Toxic *REVISED*

Post by AMSchilling » July 30th, 2010, 12:03 pm

Here's my revised version, everyone. Any feedback on whether I got it closer would be greatly appreciated!


Dear Querymonsters,

Everywhere Tizzy Banks goes, she bumps into something straight out of a fairy tale or a nightmare. From a werewolf following her around like a pet dog, to a chess-playing dragon bugging her to go on a quest, her new town is so high on the weird-o-meter scale that it broke it. Even worse, the monsters have figured out her secret: unlike most humans, Tizzy can see them. Now they're hell-bent on bringing the teenaged movie blogger into their group.

When the fairies come to town, wanting justice for something Tizzy did by mistake, the monsters trying to be her besties become the least of her problems. No one wants a pissed off fairy looking for them, because fairy justice means enslavement or death. Tizzy has to decide which of her new supernatural friends to trust, before the fairies and their human private investigator come knocking on her door. Figuring out why she can see what she sees, and just how to apologize to an irritated fairy, will be the knowledge she needs to stay alive.

Set in modern day, TOXIC is an 85,000 urban fantasy novel for the Young Adult/Teen market. It is written to stand alone as a single book, but is planned as the first novel in a series. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best Regards,
-Amy

"Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open." - Stephen King

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Re: QUERY - Toxic *REVISED*

Post by Emily J » July 30th, 2010, 2:50 pm

AMSchilling wrote:Here's my revised version, everyone. Any feedback on whether I got it closer would be greatly appreciated!


Dear Querymonsters,

Everywhere Tizzy Banks goes, she bumps into something straight out of a fairy tale or a nightmare. From a werewolf following her around like a pet dog, to a chess-playing dragon bugging her to go on a quest, her new town is so high on the weird-o-meter scale that it broke it. i like the idea here, but the wording feels a bit awkward, maybe "her new town is so high on the weird-o-meter that the scale broke off" something like that so as not to have to repeat the indefinite pronoun "it" Even worse, the monsters have figured out her secret: unlike most humans, Tizzy can see them. i feel there's a bit of a gap in logic, obviously the werewolf and the dragon have already figured this out yes? Now they're hell-bent on bringing the teenaged movie blogger into their group.

When the fairies come to town, wanting justice for something Tizzy did by mistake, this has me curious as to what exactly Tizzy did, if it isn't too complicated I would include it the monsters trying to be her besties become the least of her problems. a bit wordy, why not "the monsters trying to be her besties are the least of her problems" or even "her monstrous bffs are the least of her problems" just a suggestion for trimming down the sentence No one wants a pissed off fairy looking for them, because fairy justice means enslavement or death. Tizzy has to decide which of her new supernatural friends to trust, before the fairies and their human private investigator come knocking on her door. Figuring out why she can see what she sees, and just how to apologize to an irritated fairy, will be the knowledge she needs to stay alive. this comes across as a bit awkward to me

Set in modern day, TOXIC is an 85,000 85,000-word urban fantasy novel for the Young Adult/Teen market. It is written to stand alone as a single book, but is planned as the first novel in a series. again a bit wordy, "It is a stand alone novel with series potential." be concise, queries are too short for wasted words Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best Regards,
This is good. It has a lively voice and I imagine that an agent could overlook a bit of the wordiness. However, why not aim for perfect right? :) I think you could tighten up some of those sentences and perhaps explain why the fairies are after Tizzy. Other than that (and a bit of curiousity RE: title) I think this is solid.

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Re: QUERY - Toxic *REVISED*

Post by thewhipslip » July 30th, 2010, 8:53 pm

AMSchilling wrote:

Dear Querymonsters,

Everywhere Tizzy Banks goes, she bumps into something straight out of a fairy tale or a nightmare. From a werewolf following her around like a pet dog, to a chess-playing dragon bugging her to go on a quest, her new town is so high on the weird-o-meter scale that it broke it I agree with Emily on this. It's the two uses of "it" that throw it (there's another one!) off. Perhaps: "her new town already broke the weird-o-meter scale".. Even worse, the monsters have figured out her secret: unlike most humans, Tizzy can see them I also agree with Emily about this. If the dragon and werewolf are bugging her, don't they already know she can see them?. Now they're hell-bent on bringing the teenaged movie blogger into their group Something about "teenaged movie blogger" gave me pause. The blogger part seemed random to me, but this is a minor issue..

When the fairies come to town, wanting justice for something Tizzy did by mistake I also agree with Emily that we should know what she did. This seems to be the catalyst for the story, so it's mucho importante that we know what it is., the monsters trying to be her besties become the least of her problems. No one wants a pissed off fairy looking for them, because fairy justice means enslavement or death. Tizzy has to decide which of her new supernatural friends to trust, before the fairies and their human private investigator come knocking on her door. Figuring out why she can see what she sees, and just how to apologize to an irritated fairy Irritated is a bit of an understatement. I don't think the sarcasm is coming through as much there. It's downplaying the book too much., will be the knowledge she needs to stay alive.

Set in modern day, TOXIC is an 85,000 urban fantasy novel for the Young Adult/Teen market. It is written to stand alone as a single book, but is planned as the first novel in a series. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best Regards,
Okay, the voice is great. You're a good writer. Mission accomplished. That's the hardest part. However, I'm not hooked yet. The stakes seem pretty low to me. Make me feel this fairy threat. What's really at stake here besides Tizzy's life? I've found that hitting the emotions of your character work really well in a query. Make us really care about Tizzy by offering something personal about her. Family, friends, hobbies (perhaps the blogging?)...something that I can connect to, and that will make me care that she's fairy-bait.

Hope this helps!



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Re: QUERY - Toxic *REVISED*

Post by thewhipslip » July 30th, 2010, 8:54 pm

P.S. I really like the title. I can begin to imagine the cover...
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Re: QUERY - Toxic *REVISED*

Post by jkmcdonnell » July 30th, 2010, 10:31 pm

AMSchilling wrote:Everywhere Tizzy Banks goes, she bumps into something straight out of a fairy tale - or a nightmare [add hyphen for ~dramatic pause]. From a werewolf following her around like a [murderous? unfriendly? add adjective to strengthen comparison] pet dog, to a chess-playing dragon bugging her to go on a quest, her new town is so high on the weird-o-meter scale that it broke it [this could be stronger. Remove 'that', possibly employ stronger verb than 'broke']. Even worse, the monsters have figured out her secret: unlike most humans, Tizzy can see them [why? (Add if origin of this ability is necessary to story, ie. she is half-monster herself, or whatever)]. Now they're hell-bent on bringing the teenaged movie blogger [feels like you've just thrown this character tidbit in there; it interrupts the flow] into their group.

When the fairies come to town, wanting justice for something Tizzy did by mistake [get specific! What happened?], the monsters trying to be her besties become the least of her problems [so dragons and werewolves are no big deal, but pretty little fairies want to kick her ass? I like it]. No one wants a pissed off fairy looking for them, because fairy justice [maybe 'vengeance'? 'Justice' implies they have the right to punish her] means enslavement or death. Tizzy has to decide which of her new supernatural friends to trust, before the fairies and their human private investigator come knocking on her door. Figuring out why she can see what she sees, and just how to apologize to an irritated fairy, will be the knowledge she needs to stay alive.

Set in [the] modern day, TOXIC is an 85,000 word YA urban fantasy novel for the Young Adult/Teen market. It is written to stand alone as a single book, but is planned as the first novel in a series. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Loving this. Voice is great, but there a few instances that lack detail and could be fleshed out for a more concise idea of where the plot is headed. I'm not keen on the name, to be honest, though it implies a certain playful naivete about the character and if that's what you're going for, great.

The last couple of lines seem to veer into generic query territory, and loses the unique tone you've established. It seems like you're unsure how to wrap up the conclusion of your novel within the query, and as a result these sentences are vague and uninteresting, devaluing the ending of both the query and the novel behind it. If you tighten these up - a little more detail, a bit more drama (why exactly is her life being threatened? What can she do to save it?) - you're onto a potential winner.

The biggest issue I can see is the lack of evidence of the MC's internal development throughout the story. Aside from knowing she sees things other don't, we know essentially nothing about her, and especially about how she is dealing with this. Does she tell those she's close to, or keep her secrets to herself? How does this impact on her closest relationships? This being a YA story, I'm sure you've got a dreamy love interest hidden away somewhere - bring them out, introduce them. And even if you don't, there's got to be someone important in this teenage girl's life, and yet Tizzy is the only character mentioned by name in the query. What about her surroundings? Does she go to school, does she work? How is she treated in the places she visits?

Anyway, just something to think about. Good luck with the process.

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Re: QUERY - Toxic *REVISED*

Post by mfreivald » July 31st, 2010, 10:50 pm

(Commenting on second version.)

This query has some nice voice and nice rising tension until the final part.

The first paragraph is just about fine. The only thing I might change (other than fine polishing) is the mention that she is a movie blogger. It might be misunderstood as introducing another character, and it doesn’t seem to say anything about the story. I’d drop it.

I really think you should say what she did to give the tension and the fairies’ anger a tangible reason.

I know what you mean by “besties,” but I keep thinking it’s a misspelling of “beasties,” and it’s very distracting.

The “No one wants a pissed off fairy. . . .” sentence is a solid hit (no comma before because, though), but after that the tension sort of fizzles, and I need something in particular to latch onto. Why does she need the trust of one of the creatures? Why is figuring out why she sees what she sees important to resolving things? I suspect that knowing the particulars about what she did would help to find something to lock onto here.

Best wishes,

Mark

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Re: QUERY - Toxic *REVISION 3*

Post by AMSchilling » August 12th, 2010, 1:02 pm

REVISION #? - FEEDBACK APPRECIATED!

Dear XXX,

Everywhere Tizzy Banks goes, she bumps into something straight out of a fairy tale or a nightmare. From a werewolf with a thing for soccer to a leprechaun that slings coffee at a local pub, her new town is so high on the creep-o-meter scale that it needs some new numbers. Even worse, the monsters have figured out her secret: unlike most humans, Tizzy can see them. Now she's got the werewolf following her like a pet dog, a soon-to-be-dead vampire trying to date her, and a chess-playing dragon bugging her to go on a quest.

Too bad her supernatural social life is the least of her problems. Tizzy’s discovered she’s got a power she didn’t know she had, and it’s a big one even for a monster-seeing freak like her. When she uses it and scares the whole town, the ruling fairy clan comes looking for revenge. It's a good thing for Tizzy that they don't know who did it, because fairy vengeance means slavery or death. But how long will it take them to track her down? When she adds in the local vampire clan thinking she'd make the perfect undead happy meal, her life expectancy seems to be heading toward "nil."

With the dragon telling her to figure things out, including why she can see monsters and what it says about her humanity, Tizzy turns to her new supernatural friends for help. Unfortunately for her, the dragon didn't warn her that one friend may break her heart, one may desert her, and one may turn her over to the fairies if things get rough. If she can't figure out who to trust and what the truth is about herself before the fairies come knocking on her door, her seventeenth birthday may be her last.

Set in modern day, TOXIC is a 85,000 YA urban fantasy novel. It is a stand-alone book with series potential. Thank you for your time and consideration.
-Amy

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Re: QUERY - Toxic *REVISION 3*

Post by thewhipslip » August 12th, 2010, 6:49 pm

AMSchilling wrote:REVISION #? - FEEDBACK APPRECIATED!

Dear XXX,

Everywhere Tizzy Banks goes, she bumps into something straight out of a fairy tale or a nightmare. From a werewolf with a thing for soccer to a leprechaun that slings coffee at a local pub, her new town is so high on the creep-o-meter scale that it needs some new numbers. Even worse, the monsters have figured out her secret: unlike most humans, Tizzy can see them. Now she's got the werewolf following her like a pet dog, a soon-to-be-dead vampire trying to date her, and a chess-playing dragon bugging her to go on a quest.
Excellent revision on this. I really like it. The only thing that gave me pause was the "soon-to-dead vampire". Aren't vampires already dead?

Too bad her supernatural social life is the least of her problems. Tizzy’s discovered she’s got a power she didn’t know she had, and it’s a big one even for a monster-seeing freak like her. When she uses it and scares the whole town, the ruling fairy clan comes looking for revenge. It's a good thing for Tizzy that they don't know who did it, because fairy vengeance means slavery or death. But how long will it take them to track her down? When she adds in the local vampire clan thinking she'd make the perfect undead happy meal, her life expectancy seems to be heading toward "nil."

With the dragon telling her to figure things out, including why she can see monsters and what it says about her humanity, Tizzy turns to her new supernatural friends for help.What friends? They didn't sound like friends before if you're talking about the werewolf and the vampire... Unfortunately for her, the dragon didn't warn her that one friend may break her heart, one may desert her, and one may turn her over to the fairies if things get rough This can be left out, I think. It's too vague, in my opinion. If she can't figure out who to trust and what the truth is about herself before the fairies come knocking on her door, her seventeenth birthday may be her last. This also seems vague. I think there's enough pull to read it with just the first two paragraphs, to be honest. This last paragraph really didn't grab me. I think you just need one more sentence at the end of paragraph 2 that summarizes what she's going to do next, which seems to be figuring out who she is. And there you have it.

Set in modern day, TOXIC is a 85,000 YA urban fantasy novel. It is a stand-alone book with series potential. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Excellent! Sounds like something I would read. Care for a crit partner?
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Re: QUERY - Toxic *REVISION 3*

Post by AMSchilling » August 12th, 2010, 10:19 pm

LOL. Thanks, thewhipslip! My eyes were starting to cross from rewriting this. As for a crit partner - I'm actually doing one right now w/ someone (don't think I can handle two at once and do a good job), but if you're still looking for one around the end of September let me know! Just send me a PM. I could definitely use more beta-readers and feedback! :-)
-Amy

"Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open." - Stephen King

http://www.amschilling.com
http://www.facebook.com/pages/AM-Schill ... 9869525150

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