Monday, May 7, 2018

Query Critique Winner

Hello, all!  This month's lucky #8 is Nina!!  Congrats, Nina!  Here is her original query:

Dear Ms. Pestritto,
 Emerging from an unstable childhood, Mick Hardaway creates a life with his own special family. They share their lives, advise him, listen to his woes, and love him unconditionally like nobody ever has. Only problem? They are photographs.

 
When the twenty-three year old has a shot at a genuine relationship with a sweet intelligent coworker, he tries to ditch the photo family. They refuse to let him go. He fights back by writing them off as imaginary, each a metaphor of his own life, while his ties to the real world grow stronger. When he reaches out and seeks help, the social worker who comes to his aid is a man from of one of his photos. Then a new photo enters into his life, a school picture of a small child. Her stories of escalating violence between the adults in her life sound too much like his own past. And if she is real, he is the only adult who knows she needs to be rescued.
PICTURES OF US is a 78,000 word adult magic realism novel. told from two POVs. Mick’s is the dominant one. Kaitlin, the child in danger, is the other. This novel would appeal to fans of Alice Hoffman and Erin Morgenstern.

 
I’m both a longtime volunteer with Killer Nashville Writers Conference and a contest reader for the Claymore Dagger Award. I am also an active member of Nashville Writers Meetup. An award winning short story writer, my work has appeared in Nashville Noir, Everyday Fiction, Origami Journal, Rose Red Review and 101 Words. I have an upcoming piece in an anthology by Anchala Studios. I currently live in the hills around Nashville, TN with my husband, a slightly odd dog and a passel of scenic chickens.

Thank you for taking the time to consider Pictures of Us.


And here is my critique:




Dear Ms. Pestritto,
 Emerging from an unstable childhood, Mick Hardaway creates a life with his own special family. They share their lives, advise him, listen to his woes, and love him unconditionally like nobody ever has. Only problem? They are photographs. [I feel like you can have a more dynamic start here.  Something like what I added to really draw the reader in...]  Every day, Mick Hardaway wakes up and has coffee with noted chatterbox Lucy.  As he gets dressed, he talks with his stylish friend Tom, and on the bus, he and Professor Kimble share earbuds to listen to their favorite podcasts.  It would be a very fulfilling life if any of these people were real.
PICTURES OF US is a 78,000 word adult magic realism novel told from two POVs: Mick's and a young girl named Kaitlin's. Mick’s is the dominant one. Kaitlin, the child in danger, is the other. This novel would appeal to fans of Alice Hoffman and Erin Morgenstern.[We need clarification about who these photo people are/their origins right from the start so I moved this paragraph.  The reader needs to understand right away whether these are random pictures that Mick imagines into life and if he talks to them in a magical realism sense or in a schizophrenic sense.]
  Riddled with social anxiety, Mick has never been able to talk with people in real life, and instead finds comfort by taking photographs of interesting-looking men and women who cross his path and bringing them to life in his mind. But Wwhen the twenty-three-year old finally has a shot at a genuine relationship with a sweet, intelligent coworker, he tries to ditch the photo family. They refuse to let him go his photo family refuses to let him go. He fights back by writing them off as imaginary, each a metaphor of his own life, while his ties to the real world grow stronger. When, but when he reaches out and seeks help, the social worker who comes to his aid is a man from of one of his photos pictures. Then he meets Kaitlin, a young girl in a school photo a new photo enters into his life, a school picture of a small child. Her stories of escalating violence between the adults in her life sound too much like his own past. And if she is real, he is the only adult who knows she needs to be rescued. 
PICTURES OF US is a 78,000 word adult magic realism novel told from two POVs. Mick’s is the dominant one. Kaitlin, the child in danger, is the other. This novel would appeal to fans of Alice Hoffman and Erin Morgenstern.


 I’m both a longtime volunteer with Killer Nashville Writers Conference and a contest reader for the Claymore Dagger Award. I am also an active member of Nashville Writers Meetup. An award winning short story writer, my work has appeared in Nashville Noir, Everyday Fiction, Origami Journal, Rose Red Review and 101 Words. I have an upcoming piece in an anthology by Anchala Studios. I currently live in the hills around Nashville, TN with my husband, a slightly odd dog and a passel of scenic chickens.

This is definitely an interesting premise.  I like the unique idea behind this story, but felt like the way the query was originally set up brought up too many confusing questions.  As you can see, I did some reorganizing and clarification to make these read more smoothly and comprehensively.  I hope this is helpful, Nina--you have a good start!

Chime in with comments and questions below!