Monday, August 21, 2017

Query Critique Winner

Loretta is lucky #8 this time around!  Congrats, Loretta!  Here is her original query:

Dear Carrie,

Fifteen-year-old Annora Genn already knows about curses; dyspraxia is one she’s stuck with for life. Bruises, bumps, falls, spills, and other accidental blunders are daily par for the course. Until she receives an anonymous gift: a pair of magic red shoes that transform her from uncoordinated klutz to graceful swan just in time to impress Holmes, a cute practitioner of the urban movement sport parkour, at the homecoming dance.

The more Annora wears the shoes, the more she explains away things like eerie dreams, strange scratches on her skin, and ghostly apparitions, with increasingly thin rationalizations. One more time, she tells herself as she gives in and wears them again and again. Now that Holmes thinks she’s a veritable ninja like him, she can’t let him find out how clumsy she really is.

When bloody footprints follow her around school and her locker mysteriously catches fire, Annora finally steels her nerves to investigate the shoes’ haunting origins—and unearths a curse. The ghost girl attached to the shoes is using them to possess her, and if Annora can’t solve the mystery surrounding the angry spirit, she will lose her soul to the temptation of becoming someone else.

ACCIDENTALLY CURSED is a 70,000 word YA retelling of The Red Shoes combining the sweet romance of Everything Everything with the ghostly chills of The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall. Both myself and my son have dyspraxia, a neurological condition that causes problems with movement, coordination, planning, judgment, processing, memory, and some other cognitive skills.The disorder is well known in the UK, but often goes undiagnosed in the US where it is still gaining awareness. Thank you for your time and consideration.


And here is my critque:

Dear Carrie,

Fifteen-year-old Annora Genn already knows about curses; dyspraxia is one she’s stuck with for life. Bruises, bumps, falls, spills, and other accidental blunders are daily par for the course. Until she receives an anonymous gift: a pair of magic red shoes that transform her from uncoordinated klutz to graceful swan just in time to impress Holmes, a cute practitioner of the urban movement sport parkour, at the homecoming dance. [I would love to read a little bit more about Annora and Holmes here so we can really relate to them better.  Tell us more about who Annora is, and what she goes through (e.g. is she teased because of her dyspraxia or do people treat her like she is a child?) and WHY she likes Holmes.]

The more Annora wears the shoes, the more she explains away things like eerie dreams, strange scratches on her skin, and ghostly apparitions, with increasingly thin rationalizations. One more time, she tells herself as she gives in and wears them again and again. Now that Holmes thinks she’s a veritable ninja like him, she can’t let him find out how clumsy she really is.  [I'm guessing there is something more than her ability to move well that is motivating her to look past all these scary occurrences, such as being popular or being treated like a star.  Hint at that here, too!]

When bloody footprints follow her around school and her locker mysteriously catches fire, Annora finally steels her nerves to investigate the shoes’ haunting origins—and unearths a curse. The ghost girl attached to the shoes is using them to possess her, and if Annora can’t solve the mystery surrounding the angry spirit, she will lose her soul to the temptation of becoming someone else.

ACCIDENTALLY CURSED is a 70,000 word YA retelling of The Red Shoes combining the sweet romance of Everything Everything with the ghostly chills of The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall. Both myself and my son have dyspraxia, a neurological condition that causes problems with movement, coordination, planning, judgment, processing, memory, and some other cognitive skills.The disorder is well known in the UK, but often goes undiagnosed in the US where it is still gaining awareness. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Thanks for being so patient waiting for the winner's post, everyone.  Loretta, I think you have the start of a GREAT query here and I love the comps you use in the last paragraph.  As you can see, I really don't have many notes for you, because with a few minor tweaks, I think this will be perfect!  This is such a cool, intriguing idea for a story and I was excited to read the query.  When it's ready to go out, I'd love for you to send it to me!  

And everyone else, if you have comments you want to share, chime in below!

2 comments:

  1. Sounds like such an interesting story! I would totally read this!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think this is a really interesting premise for a book, Loretta, and overall, well done. A few things Carrie may have pointed out (I don't read her comments until I'm done, so forgive any repetition): I'd cut 'daily' from paragraph one. Also, I'd stick a comma after 'par for the course' (nice similarity to parkour further down, by the way, I like it) and split the sentence. Maybe "The shoes arrive just in time to impress..."
    I think in your second paragraph, the opening line clunks a bit. I'd suggest something that shows how wearing the shoes benefit her while taking something away. Admittedly crude: "With the help of the shoes, Annora becomes the belle of the ball, the apple of Holmes' eye, and a champion parkour-er in her own right. Her popularity soaring, she's willing to ignore the scratches, the dreams, the apparitions..." I think you just jump in a little too fast there, but maybe that's me.
    Very nice, good luck!

    ReplyDelete