I’m Back!

So, the blog has been a touch quiet of late, namely because I moved house and it took two months for the lines to be dug into the road so I could have internet again.  That said, I am officially back!  And what better way to kick start the blog than to do a little Pitch Wars pre-competition fun!

Most folks know what Pitch Wars is in the writing world, but if you’re an aspiring writer and you don’t know what it is, then why don’t you go and check out BRENDA DRAKE’S WEBSITE for all the cool details.  After all, she is the queen of the contest.

Okay, are we all clear on the details now?  Good.  As I’ve missed you all so much (and I missed the fun of the query critiques and first page critiques on Brenda’s website), I’ve decided to do a 1 week special – writers who post EITHER their blurb (the bit that explains your story in the query letter) OR a 1 page synopsis of their book will get feedback.  Please indicate whether you would prefer feedback as a reply on the post or as a private email.  The critiques will be available until the 4th of August.

I am happy to look at any genre, though you should know that I will only be looking at YA submissions for the actual contest.

I look forward to seeing what you’ve all got!

79 thoughts on “I’m Back!

  1. Hello and thank you for being willing to do this! I've posted my query below and you are free to give feedback on the site so others can find it useful to! Thanks!!

    Twelve-year-old Simon is a kidnapper. At least, that’s what the people of Dundras believe. Their librarian is missing, and when Simon finds her magic necklace, it teleports him from Massachusetts to the secret Scottish city where he’s an immediate suspect. Even worse, the necklace transferred its powers to Simon allowing him to teleport whenever he touches a tap point. Actually, that’s pretty cool. The downside: it doesn’t bode well for his alibi.

    While the council monitors him under probation, Simon learns how to manage his new ability in the whimsical city. The place has everything from Nimmy’s Six-Legged Petshop, to spotted hornknuckles. Or are they horntruffles? Simon isn’t the best with names. All that matters is avoiding trouble, keeping the council happy, and not disappearing to Mt. Everst.

    Until he teleports with a council member’s son.

    They had been fighting for a soccer ball, and Simon lost control, transporting them into the city fountain. Unable to convince the council it was an accident, Simon is put on trial. No one will believe it’s a mistake, and Simon grows desperate to prove his innocence, even if he has to find the librarian himself. If he can’t clear his name before something else goes wrong, he could spend the rest of his days rotting in a jail for crimes he didn’t commit.

    Unfortunately for him, someone else just went missing.

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  2. Thanks, Fiona. This is a wonderful opportunity. You gave me excellent feedback during the last Pitchwars. My query is below. I'd appreciate feedback either as a reply or an email, whichever is easier for you. It doesn't matter to me. My email is drsujas(at)yahoo.com.
    Seventeen-year-old soccer star Sam Daley wants to know why his academically gifted twin killed himself. His questions lead him to Zack, a popular kid at school.

    Sam’s classmate, nerdy Mira Patel, keeps her willful younger sister out of trouble and out of the way of her traditional Indian parents, while hiding her own relationship with Zack.

    While Sam pieces together the last few days of his brother’s life, Mira’s sister breaks one rule too many with Zack and her parents find out. Tempers explode in spite of Mira’s attempts, and a decision is made to send her sister to her aunt’s.

    Then her sister is found dead, a presumed drug overdose. Mira, overwhelmed with guilt, turns to Sam.

    As the two deal with their loss and their growing attraction for each other, they uncover clues that link their siblings’ deaths. Soon they’re in a race to expose a killer before he doubles back to finish them, too.

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  3. Twelve-year-old Simon is a kidnapper. At least, that’s what the people of Dundras believe. Their librarian is missing, and when Simon finds her magic necklace, it teleports him from Massachusetts to the secret Scottish city where he’s an immediate suspect. Even worse, the necklace transferred its powers to Simon allowing him to teleport whenever he touches a tap point. Actually, that’s pretty cool. The downside: it doesn’t bode well for his alibi.

    THIS HAS A GREAT STARTING LINE. GOOD HOOK. HOWEVER, I AM A LITTLE CONFUSED – IS THE LIBRARIAN FROM DUNDRAS? AND DUNDRAS IS IN MASSACHUSETTS, RIGHT? SO WHY IS HE AN IMMEDIATE SUSPECT IN SCOTLAND? I THINK YOU NEED TO CLARIFY THIS, BECAUSE AT THE MOMENT IT READS AS THOUGH THE LIBRARIAN WENT MISSING FROM MASSACHUSETTES BUT THEY ARE ACCUSING SIMON IN SCOTLAND. IS THIS BECAUSE THIS IS THE HQ OF SOME MAGICAL PLACE? A LITTLE CLARITY WILL HELP HERE.

    While the council monitors him under probation, Simon learns how to manage his new ability in the whimsical city. The place has everything from Nimmy’s Six-Legged Petshop, to spotted hornknuckles. Or are they horntruffles? Simon isn’t the best with names. All that matters is avoiding trouble, keeping the council happy, and not disappearing to Mt. Everst.

    I LIKE THE VOICE IN HERE, BUT IT DOESN’T MATCH THE MORE FORMAL TONE OF YOUR OPENNG.

    Until he teleports with a council member’s son.

    THIS IS A GREAT TWIST! RIFE FOR CONFLICT!

    They had been fighting for a soccer ball, and Simon lost control, transporting them into the city fountain. Unable to convince the council it was an accident, Simon is put on trial. No one will believe it’s a mistake, and Simon grows desperate to prove his innocence, even if he has to find the librarian himself. If he can’t clear his name before something else goes wrong, he could spend the rest of his days rotting in a jail for crimes he didn’t commit.

    GREAT, GREAT, GREAT!

    Unfortunately for him, someone else just went missing.

    WONDERFUL CLOSING LINE. I AM HOOKED. THIS WOULD DEFINITELY CATCH MY EYE IN THE AGENCY INBOX WHERE I INTERN. ALL YOU NEED IS SOME CLARIFICATION IN YOUR OPENING PARAGRAPH AND TO CHOOSE WHETHER YOU KEEP THE STYLE VOICE DRIVEN OR FORMAL. (I VOTE VOICE, BTW!)

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  4. Hey. Okay, I’ve decided to post on the website, as perhaps this is a good opportunity for others to see comments on another query (I hope that’s okay with you!). My comments will be in ALL CAPS after each paragraph of your query:

    Seventeen-year-old soccer star Sam Daley wants to know why his academically gifted twin killed himself. His questions lead him to Zack, a popular kid at school.

    GREAT OPENING LINE (YOU GUYS ARE GOOD AT THESE!).

    Sam’s classmate, nerdy Mira Patel, keeps her willful younger sister out of trouble and out of the way of her traditional Indian parents, while hiding her own relationship with Zack.

    THIS FEELS DISJOINTED FROM THE PREVIOUS PART. IS THERE A WAY YOU CAN SEGUE THIS TOGETHER IN A SMOOTHER WAY AND SHOW HOW BOTH PLOT LINES ARE CONNECTED? WHY DOES HER YOUNGER SISTER MATTER AT THIS POINT? SHE COULD JUST BE MENTIONED AT THE END OF THE PREMISE JUST AS EFFECTIVELY. AT THE MOMENT, THIS FEELS LIKE TWO SEPARATE STORIES.

    While Sam pieces together the last few days of his brother’s life, Mira’s sister breaks one rule too many with Zack and her parents find out. Tempers explode in spite of Mira’s attempts, and a decision is made to send her sister to her aunt’s.

    AGAIN, THIS AND THE PREVIOUS PARAGRAPH FEEL LIKE ONE STORY; THE FIRST PARAGRAPH FEELS LIKE IT IS UNRELATED.

    Then her sister is found dead, a presumed drug overdose. Mira, overwhelmed with guilt, turns to Sam.

    As the two deal with their loss and their growing attraction for each other, they uncover clues that link their siblings’ deaths. Soon they’re in a race to expose a killer before he doubles back to finish them, too.

    OKAY, SO NOW I SEE HOW THESE ARE CONNECTED. I LIKE THE PARALLEL NATURE OF THIS STORY BUT YOUR QUERY ISN’T DOING THIS FANTASTIC PREMISE JUSTICE. YOU NEED TO WORK ON SMOOTHING IT TOGETHER AND MAKING THIS GEL.

    IT GIVES ME THE IMPRESSION THAT THE START OF THE BOOK HOPS FROM CHARACTER TO CHARACTER AND THEN THE SECOND PART OF THE BOOK SOLIDIFIES THE ACTUAL STORY. YOU SORT OF JUMP FROM SAM’S STORY, TO MIRA’S THEN BACK TO SAM’S AGAIN, GIVING IT AN IRREGULAR FEEL. YOU COULD SIMPLY MENTION ZACK'S GIRLFRIEND BRIEFLY AT THE START, FOCUS ON THE REST OF SAM'S JOURNEY, THEN SHOW HOW MIRA AND HER SISTER COME INTO IT AT THE END.

    JUST SOME FOOD FOR THOUGHT!

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  5. Welcome back. A while ago I posted on here the first part of DEATH BY HIGH HEELS. You said you would have passed it on. I thank you so much for that.

    Today that book releases with Sweet Cravings Publishing and goes live on Amazon and Barnes&Noble next week.

    Thanks for the encouragement. Looking forward to Brenda's next contest too.

    violetingram.blogspot.com

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  6. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to reply…but I've changed my first paragraph due to your advice! I'm not expecting you to re-edit or comment, just wanted to show my progress, if that's alright. Hope it's better now! Thank you again for the help!!

    Twelve-year-old Simon is a kidnapper. At least, that’s what the people of Dundras, a secret Scottish city, believe. Their librarian is missing, and Simon found her magic necklace while exploring an abandoned theme park. He thought it was tacky jewelry until it teleported him into the center of Dundras, making him an immediate suspect. Even worse, the necklace transferred its powers, allowing him to teleport whenever he touches a tap point. Actually, that’s pretty cool. The downside: it doesn’t bode well for his alibi.

    Like

  7. Thank you for doing this! I have gone through a million revisions with this, but it's a mess. Queries are a different beast. You can just post it on this forum. Thanks again.

    —-

    Ever since Whik can remember, an abyss has split the sky.

    When the seventeen-year-old finds an ancient item in his teacher’s basement, the sky splits further and a phantom doppelganger follows him around. By using the item, Whik has duplicated his world. If one broken sky wasn’t enough, now there are two.

    Whik’s possession of the item attracts unwanted attention. Malachi, a banished murderer, wants revenge on Whik’s people for sponsoring an experiment that sucked his daughter into her own duplicate world. Now he has the backing of the Larks—bloodthirsty, dog-like creatures. If Malachi can find the item, he can create a dozen duplicate worlds with a dozen second chances.

    For every world duplicated, another falls apart. As Whik prepares for an invasion from Malachi and the Larks, parts of his world crumble away. To stop the sky from falling in one world, Whik will sacrifice everything in another.

    BEFORE THE SKY FELL, a young adult fantasy novel, is complete at 100,000 words and told from multiple perspectives. It has won the Wattpad Prize and has gathered over half a million reads on the site.

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  8. Yes it is. I can't believe you remembered. Sweet Cravings Publishing released it today. Amazon and Barnes&Noble will get it next week. Thank you so much for everything.

    Like

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