Monday, January 29, 2018

Query Critique Winner

This month's lucky query critique winner is Kristy!  Congrats, Kristy!!

Here is her original query:


Dear Carrie, 

Sixteen-year-old Lucy Andrews fears the color red, inks graffiti in bathroom stalls, and avoids even numbers because they’re too perfect. Yet somehow she’s able to manage her OCD—until her best friend Janice, her beloved art teacher, and two classmates commit suicide, all within a few weeks. Eerily, all of them were artists.

Just when she’s on the verge of breaking down completely, she’s committed to a mental hospital for her obsessive-compulsive behaviors. Lucy’s depressed and anxious, but willing to accept help—until she realizes something isn’t quite right. The art room has no artwork, four classmates have also been committed, and a woman is stalking her.

She’s offered an experimental drug with the promise of being discharged early. Though the drug helps her OCD, it takes away everything that makes her Lucy. As she fights back, threatening to expose the hospital for its sinister secrets, the head doctor threatens to never let her go. Either she does as she’s told and hopes for the best, or she can risk her future by providing the truth before they unmake everything she is.

LUCY COUNTING STARS, a YA contemporary novel, is complete at 91,000 words. It was selected as a manuscript for the 2017 Pitch Wars Contest and it's a finalist in the Serendipity YA Discovery Contest. 

I worked as a middle school counselor for ten years and suffer from generalized anxiety disorder. Therefore LUCY COUNTING STARS is part experience and part research.

Thank you for taking the time, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Kristy


And here is my critique!


Dear Carrie, 

Sixteen-year-old Lucy Andrews fears the color red, compulsively inks graffiti in bathroom stalls every time she has to pee, and avoids even numbers because they’re too perfect. Yet, despite the difficulties associated with it, she is somehow she’s able to manage her OCD—until her best friend Janice, her beloved art teacher, and two classmates commit suicide, all within a few weeks. Eerily, all of them were artists. [I'm not sure if this sentence belongs here or if it detracts from the previous sentence.  Unless they did something like all kill themselves in the art room, I'm not sure we need this information now.]

Sent into a tailspin and Just when she’s on the verge of breaking down completely, her family she’s commitsted her to a mental hospital for her obsessive-compulsive behaviors. Lucy’s depressed and anxious and not exactly thrilled about being in a psych ward, but willing to accept help—until she realizes something isn’t quite right. The art room has no artwork, four of her other classmates have also been committed, and a woman is stalking her.

The doctors on staff She’s offered her an experimental drug with the promise of being discharged early if she takes itAlthough Though the drug helps her OCD, it takes away everything that makes her Lucy. As she fights back, threatening to expose the hospital for its sinister secrets [What sinister secrets?  Give specific examples here...do you mean that they're having her take experimental meds or something more?], the head doctor threatens to keep her in the facility for the rest of her life never let her go. Either she does as she’s told and hopes for the best, or she can risks her future by forcing providing the truth to come out before they unmake everything she is.

LUCY COUNTING STARS, a YA, #ownvoices, contemporary novel, is complete at 91,000 words. It was selected as a manuscript for the 2017 Pitch Wars Contest and is it's a finalist in the Serendipity YA Discovery Contest. 

I worked with teens for 10 years as a middle school counselor I worked as a middle school counselor for ten years and also suffer from generalized anxiety disorder, making the writing of. Therefore LUCY COUNTING STARS is part experience and part research.

Thank you for taking the time to read my query, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Kristy

 
This is such an interesting premise for a story and Kristy does a really great job setting up the story so that I stay intrigued and interested to know more.  My edits are mostly to smooth out the flow in certain areas and pump up the drama/stakes, but in general, this query is off to a fantastic start!

Kristy, I really hope you found this helpful and wish you the best of luck as you are querying!  If you think this critique was helpful, please others know on Twitter, etc. so that they enter next month.

Everyone else, please chime in with your own thoughts, suggestions, and questions in the comments below!

3 comments:

  1. Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

    Kristy, very interesting premise.

    Carrie, your critique has created a dangling modifier. I don't think it's her family that's on the verge of breaking down completely.

    Blessings,

    Siri Kirpal

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  2. My comments without reading Carrie's (yet).
    I really found myself liking this query and story. I did think, Kristy, you should do a better job of connecting the deaths mentioned in paragraph one with Lucy being committed in paragraph 2. "The deaths push Lucy closer to the breaking point" or "the deaths make Lucy's condition worse to the point where she can't function" or something like that. I think it would make the query flow better.

    I like the way the second paragraph ups the tension level with Lucy in the hospital, but I feel it falls apart a bit in the third paragraph. Who is Lucy fighting against? And where did this sinister secret at the hospital come from? The art room with no art and the suicides hint at a secret, but how does Lucy discover that secret? I think you need to be more specific so that prospective agents can really have an idea of the story. It feels like you tiptoe around it too much.

    Good luck!

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  3. I really like Carrie’s changes to the lede. It just helped frame the character a little better. Sounds like you have great momentum, so good luck & best wishes!

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