Monday, October 24, 2011

QUERY CRITIQUE #11: REMAINDERS


Dear Ms. Kaynak,

The first night sixteen-year-old Camryn Brock sneaks out, she runs across a group of drunks hoping to cop a feel. She’s relieved when a stranger named Christian saves her, but relief turns to panic when, instead of taking her home, he claims her as his own prisoner.

Hmmm. I have a couple of problems with this opening: "cop a feel" is a dated cliché; the narrative voice is too mature, and I'm getting a Stephen King creep-out from the guy taking her prisoner in a remote place in Maine. It's not a good vibe for a PNR, especially with an underage protagonist.

Dear Ms. Kaynak,

Sneaking out didn't turn out to be such a good plan after all.

Sixteen-year-old Camryn Brock ends up needing a white knight-style rescue when a group of drunk guys get some bad ideas. And then a stranger named Christian saves her. But there's only one problem: he's pretty insistent that she not go home.

Trapped at his family’s secluded Maine estate, Camryn discovers Christian is a lot to take in: sixteen, stubborn, sizzly hot, and oh, yeah—in charge of the elite chosen to fight evil.

Camryn shouldn’t trust them. Shouldn’t fall in love. Shouldn’t want to stay.

But she does.

This next part has a much better sense of narrative voice. I'm normally not a fan of alliteration in mainstream prose, but the " sixteen, stubborn, sizzling-hot" thing works here.

Trapped at his family’s secluded Maine estate, Camryn discovers Christian is a lot to take in: sixteen, stubborn, sizzling-hot, and oh, yeah--in charge of a group of elite warriors chosen to fight evil.

Camryn shouldn’t fall in love, and she definitely shouldn’t want to stay--but she does.

Camryn must figure out what the Remainders are hiding, what Christian wants with her, and how she’s gonna get her butt back home.

But mainly? Why she fits in so damn good.

This also has that younger narrative voice. However, that "so damn good" is like a nail gun to the forehead for former English majors. There's also a disconnect here; you just said she trusts them, but she has to figure out what they're hiding, which is why I cut the "trust them" line above.

She must figure out what the Remainders are hiding, what Christian really wants with her, and how she’s gonna get her butt back home.

But mainly? Why she fits in so damn well.

REMAINDERS is a YA paranormal romance complete at 85,000 words.

All the best,

I really like the second half of this query, but that original opening was off-putting. If the book's more like the second half, I hope you'll consider querying Spencer Hill.  

4 comments:

Disgruntled Bear (Kate Kaynak) said...

Please excuse the technical difficulties that have delayed the last two postings. I think I've got everything back on-track now.

Melinda said...

Thanks for your help with this. Your advice was awesome!

That first paragraph has been haunting me, so thanks for re-working it and giving me some ideas.

With the trust issue. She SHOULDN'T trust them because they are hiding stuff from her, but they have a power over her that makes her trust them.

And I put good because I thought it sounded better with damn than well. :)

The MS doesn't have a King feel. I'll have to work on that. This query has been needing a lot of help, and I've stopped working on it to work on another MS, so THANKS again for your help!

Deniz Bevan said...

Neat. I like romantic stuff that develops in situations like that :-)

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