Sep 28, 2010

THE WHIP-SLIP QUERY

The students and faculty of Waltham High School have had a lot of incidents lately – broken legs, allergic reactions, nosebleeds, heart palpitations – and they’re beginning to think 17-year-old Thea Vans has something to do with it.

They’re not wrong.

Thea’s always been able to hurt or heal with a single touch. Bruises, hives, projectile vomiting. Another touch cures colds, mends broken legs, or brings blissful sleep. Not even her best friend knew about the powers – until Left-Hander came along, the new and inexplicable voice in her head. And Left-Hander controls the powers now.

Unfortunately for Thea, Left-Hander prefers hurting to healing. Thea can’t stop Lefty when she decides to punish someone - and it doesn’t take much to annoy Left-Hander.

Before she can figure out just who – or what – Left-Hander is, a group of teenagers with powers identical to Thea’s attack the local park. Thea convinces Left-Hander to fight them, but doing so lands her in the middle of a war between the soldiers of Life and the soldiers of Death. A war where Thea is the weapon of mass destruction.

If either side finds out what Thea is, thousands will die – but her best friend is injured in the attack on the park and taken by the soldiers of Life. Thea follows with the hope that if she hides her abilities, maybe they’ll both make it through alive.

If Left-Hander can cooperate.

THE WHIP-SLIP is a young adult fantasy complete at 90,000 words. This will fit well alongside the works of your clients xxx & xxxx.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

4 comments:

Rick Daley said...

I like the voice for this query. It has confidence in itself.

I have a few questions/comments though:

- I don't think you need to mention Thea's best friend. You can get right to Left-Hander (pun not intended)

- Are Left-Hander and the teenagers who attack the park the soldiers of Life and Death, or is there another layer of action?

- If Thea's powers are identical to the teenagers who attack the park, wouldn't they all be weapons of mass destruction in the war?

I'm still interested in the story though. It's different.

Zee Lemke said...

Yeah, this sounds pretty cool. I'm going to harp on the same thing I always harp on--protagonist agency. (To make y'all feel better, I just got taken to task for writing a WHOLE STORY where my protag did nothing.)

In this query, Thea can do things, but Left-Hander actually DOES things. Thea's biggest action is persuading Left-Hander to do something. Give us her healing by showing her healing someone; give us why she's afraid to try to rescue her friend (and why she does anyway) in terms of what she does.

Dominique said...

Overall, this sounds pretty cool. Interesting premise, voice present in the query.

I do think, though that you could do with less listing of ailments upfront. People know what injuries are, so you can just say she can cause and heal them and leave it at that.

Draconium said...

i agree with Rick Daley entirely. Especially the second two points he brings up. This story seems to have promise, but as it reads now, much of the energy is lost in the confusion of the details.

Along with the question about the soldiers of life and death, and the question about the other teenagers with identical abilities, i have another question: how can Thea convince left hander of anything if she doesn't know who it is? how does she know who to punish? Can this left hander control the other kids too?

I agree with Zee Lemke too, although i would say what the protagonist (everyone actually) is missing is motive, why would she take on an army of kids when each one is just as strong as her? Why would she get involved if her primary goal is just to get herself and her friend out alive? What is even going on in the first place?

so...as you can see i have many questions, probably more than you can answer in 250 words. SIMPLIFY. Find what's essential to the story and make it clear. What is the central life-changing decision Thea is faced with and what was the situation that led to that decision. Who are the characters and what do they want. Leave everything else out.