Apr 26, 2011

Query: Abbey (1st revision) --note new title

Click here to read the original query.

On the first day of camp, Abbey realizes a horrible mistake has been made—she’s stranded at the wrong camp.

By the second day of camp, Abbey is faced with the consequence of being a lifetime “spook magnet.” The River Falls camp—which has its own spooky history—turns Abbey’s spook-ometer up to 11.

The third day of camp begins with cold spots and moving furniture, quickly escalating to a paranormal freakshow with a field of dead frogs, a ghostly stalker and mysterious symbols carved into the wall.

The first week of camp ends with Abbey trying to figure out the meaning behind the symbols—as they intrude into her life with more and more urgency. Abbey’s ghostly experiences were a curse growing up, costing her dearly and leaving her scarred and friendless at 14 years.

The final week of camp features a scavenger hunt which turns deadly as lightning strikes—leaving Abbey trapped with a boy she likes, a mean girl she doesn’t and her drama queen roommate. Abbey is forced to use her curse to save their lives as she reaches into another world for help. The trouble is, this help threatens to consume her, which could cost Abbey her new friends—as well as her very humanity.

Spooky Girl is a 56,000 word young adult novel with a paranormal theme.

I have written professionally in advertising and marketing for over a decade.

Thank you for your time,

Allan Evans
[PHONE NUMBER REDACTED] | allan@docevans.com | www.evanswriter.com/Abbey


Project Savior said...

I like the style of this query.
A couple things to be fleshed out, she's friendless after the 1st week then she worries about losing her new friends. I realize time has passed in the novel but in the query it stands out.
Second, where are they trapped? Is it close quarters, where tensions would rise? Knowing where might help.
Finally, is 56,000 long enough for a YA in other genres that would be a little short, thought 65,000 is the starting point.
All that being said your query makes me want to read it which is the point of a query.

Anonymous said...

I followed your link and read some of your manuscript. I really think you should join a critique group. If you find one where everybody compliments your writing and tells you you're doing just great, look for another critique group.

Nothing personal. I'd give this advice to anybody who was trying to break into this very, very, very competitive market.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous is being kind.

To be completely frank, you're really not ready to query. You need to spend a lot more time working at the craft of writing.

Start with short stories, perhaps, you'll find it easier to focus -- and easier to file things in 'the drawer', where most of one's early work belongs.

I also suggest you write in your own voice and not attempt the voice of a 15-year-old girl.

Also: now that the entire novel has been posted online, no publisher will be interested in publishing it anyway.

Gin said...

Kudos on really listening to the critiques (and on a much better title for the genre) and working to incorporate it.

But. (There's always a "but.")

Look at how passive Abbey is. (Possibly a bad habit from copywriting experience.) Look at how few sentences feature Abbey as the subject of the sentence.

1. Abbey is stranded. (Okay, she realizes something too, but that's about as passive as a person can be while techically being an active verb.) Also note that it would be clearer to just say: Abbey is inadvertently stranded at a camp for [not even sure what it is a camp for; say it outright, no trying to be coy or artsy].

2. Abbey is faced with consequences. Passive. I don't know what those consequences are or what a spook magnet is. You're trying to be artsy again.

3. The subject is a day of the week, not Abbey, not even anything human/sentient.

4. The subject is now a concept ("week"), rather than Abbey. The only verb fixed to her is "trying to figurlize" is about as passive as a technically active verb can get.

5. Ditto. Subject is the "week," not Abbey.

Try writing the whole thing with Abbey as the ACTIVE SUBJECT of every single sentence after the inciting event: Abbey is stranded and sees ghosts. Then, show us what SHE DOES ABOUT IT.

glj said...

I have not read your previous version.

This starts out rather slow, but does pick up. The last full paragraph is pretty good, but the first couple of paragraphs don't add much. For example, how does being in the wrong camp come into play? To me, it seems more like Abbey just does not like the camp, so saying it is the wrong camp gave me the impression that she didn't intend to go to this camp.

The wording is indeed passive, and written as if describing events much later, after they happened. Which does not make it compelling.

By the second day of camp, Abbey is faced with the consequence of being a lifetime “spook magnet.” The River Falls camp—which has its own spooky history—turns Abbey’s spook-ometer up to 11.

Not bad, but could be phrased more in the present and active. Just a quick example: "But Abbey's curse, being a spook magnet, follows her, and the weird occurrences which have always happened to her happen here, too. When she tries to roast marshmallows, a spirit _." I hope this helps.