Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Pitchwars Query Critique - WHISPERS



Here is the first query critique for our pitchwars hopefuls. I’ve pasted the entire query and first page, then again with my comments. Thank you so much to Kailey Steward for sharing her query for WHISPERS with us!

Whispers is an 85,000 word biblically inspired YA fantasy.
 
Thousands of years ago Adam and Eve were banished from Paradise, along with the rest of humanity. After their exile they split into two groups, now known as Demons.
 
Ariella knows none of this. All she knows is she struggles with her own demons, both literal and metaphorical. She has been isolated and ignored by her family because of her ability to hear the thoughts and emotions of others. She suffers from depression and self-harm disorder because of this.
 
Since she’s been pushed to the fringes of her world, she has never had a friend. When her family moves to a new town she does not expect that to change. On her first day she meets Jamie who, despite her closed off personality, is determined to befriend her.
 
Soon she can tell Jamie is keeping secrets from her, and she sets out to figure out what those are. Her world is changing and with or without his help she needs to figure out what that means. She doesn’t have much of a choice. The demons are coming and they have a plan. If she doesn’t work out her power and come to terms with herself, it’s more than her life at risk.
 
I feel this book would appeal to fans of Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments, Rachel Vincent’s Soul Screamers and Jennifer Estep’s Mythos Academy.
 
I am a twenty year old college junior and I have been writing since I was sixteen. I attend Butler University in Indianapolis where I am an English Creative Writing major. I also run a blog called In the Land of Pages on WordPress where I talk about books and writing.
 
Thank you for your time and consideration,
 
Kailey Steward


Most of the time I hide in my room. My room is quiet, it’s safe, the only real place in the world that is. In my room, my thoughts are my own. I’m not stuck with everyone’s voices or feelings bombarding me all at once. In my room, the only voice I hear is my own, and the musicians I listen to.
My music has saved my sanity more than once. Music is safe, like my room. The lyrics, they tell me my story. Sometimes I just put my headphones in, and listen. The words are soothing, no matter the genre. I listen to anything and everything. If it has decent lyrics and a good beat I’ll let it play. Rock, country, punk, rap, pop, alt . . . I listen to all of it. Music is my best friend because I let the lyrics tell me my story. They speak the things I’m afraid to say myself.
My room, and my music, they are my only safe places. I wish I could hide here forever, but I know I can’t. I’ll have to go out again, and face my family, face my new classmates, face the world. It wouldn’t be a problem if I didn’t also have to face their thoughts.
I sigh, staring up at the exposed beams of the ceiling. I know it’s unhealthy to hide, but I do. The voices aren’t the only reason, but they are the majority of it. For the millionth time I regret that I have no way of blocking out what they’re all thinking. I can’t protect myself from what they are all wishing for, begging for, dreaming for, even if it is only in their own minds. I wish more than anything that I could just tune them out, forever. I hate knowing what people are thinking. Thoughts are supposed to be private, and I’m invading that privacy. You’re supposed to be safe inside your mind, and with me around, no one ever is.
 
And now with my comments!
 
Whispers is an 85,000 word biblically inspired YA fantasy. I like when queries get right into the meat of the MS, so I would move this to the last paragraph.
 
Thousands of years ago Adam and Eve were banished from Paradise, along with the rest of humanity. After their exile they split into two groups, now known as Demons. A little unclear, are both groups demons or is it humans and demons?
 
Ariella knows none of this. All she knows is she struggles with her own demons, both literal and metaphorical. She has been isolated and ignored by her family because of her ability to hear the thoughts and emotions of others. She suffers from depression and self-harm disorder because of this. End this sentence with something more grabby…maybe that she feels completely alone, or that she is going insane, or there is no hope…pull from the MS.
 
Since she’s been pushed to the fringes of her world, Has she also isolated herself? This sentence is vague…be more specific! she has never had a friend. When her family moves to a new town she does not expect that to change. On her first day she meets Jamie who, despite her closed off personality, is determined to befriend her. Is Jamie a boy a girl? Is this just a friend or a love interest? This relationship needs a few more sentences in this summary.
 
Soon she can tell Jamie is keeping secrets from her, and she sets out to figure out what those are. Her world is changing and with or without his Okay, so Jamie is a boy! help she needs to figure out what that means. She doesn’t have much of a choice. The demons are coming and they have a plan. If she doesn’t work out her power and come to terms with herself, it’s more than her life at risk. One more sentence! What is at risk? The world?
 
I feel this book would WHISPERS will appeal to fans of Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments, Rachel Vincent’s Soul Screamers and Jennifer Estep’s Mythos Academy.
 
I am a twenty year old college junior and I have been writing since I was sixteen.   I attend Butler University in Indianapolis where I am an English Creative Writing major. I also run a blog called In the Land of Pages on WordPress where I talk about books and writing.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
Kailey Steward
 
Most of the time I hide in my room. Love this first sentence! My room is quiet, it’s safe, the only real place in the world that is. In my room, my thoughts are my own. I’m not stuck with everyone’s voices or feelings bombarding me all at once. In my room, the only voice I hear is my own, and the musicians I listen to.
My music has saved my sanity more than once. Music is safe, like my room. The lyrics, they tell me my story. Sometimes I just put my headphones in, Headphones on, or earbuds in? and listen. The words are soothing, no matter the genre. I listen to anything and everything. If it has decent lyrics and a good beat I’ll let it play. Rock, country, punk, rap, pop, alt . . . I listen to all of it. Music is my best friend because I let the lyrics tell me my story. They speak the things I’m afraid to say myself. Love this!
My room, and my music, they are my only safe places. I wish I could hide here forever, but I know I can’t. I’ll have to go out again, and face my family, face my new classmates, face the world. It wouldn’t be a problem if I didn’t also have to face their thoughts.
I sigh, staring up at the exposed beams of the ceiling. I know it’s unhealthy to hide, but I do. The voices aren’t the only reason, but they are the majority of it. For the millionth time I regret that I have no way of blocking out what they’re all thinking. I can’t protect myself from what they are all wishing for, begging for, dreaming for, even if it is only in their own minds. I wish more than anything that I could just tune them out, forever. I hate knowing what people are thinking. Thoughts are supposed to be private, and I’m invading that privacy. You’re supposed to be safe inside your mind, and with me around, no one ever is.
 
There is some great character building in this bit, but this first scene seems more like it may be a second scene. Perhaps start the MS with us seeing her reaction to her someone’s thoughts, how much it disturbs her, how she has to run and hide, then go into the explanation of how she finds comfort in her music.
 
For the next query visit Kate on her blog on 9/15 at katekaryusquinn.blogspot.com and I’ll have another critique right here next Tuesday!

4 comments:

  1. Interesting premise, and I think your comments are spot on and constructive.

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  2. Thanks for doing this -- and thanks to Kailey too! This will be helpful not only for the participants, but also for anyone else who submitted, or who is thinking of submitting next time.

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  3. A really very detailed and informative post i liked reading it all. thanks for making efforts in presenting us with such inspiring posts.

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