Saturday, April 23, 2016

#CPfest 2016 Query Critique Day 4 (#1)

Are you getting excited about #FicFest? I know I am! In honor of this first annual manuscript contest, a few of the mentors (incluyendome a mi) are giving away a query critique each day leading up to submission day (that's April 24th guys, as in a day from now!) I'm behind this week, so I'll actually post two today! Be sure to check out the second one for a special #FicFest announcement! For more details, check out my posts here and here, and the hostess with the mostest Tiffany Hofman's post here.

Happy #FicFest Eve!

Day 4 #QueryHelper Critique


First thoughts: This one has a good length, if a bit long but her self paragraph is a tad longer then some. That's a good thing!

Dear Agent,

Sixteen-year-old Alice Burton is looking forward to college, but she doesn’t know how she is going to pay for it. [EM1] Getting passed over for the National Developmental Lacrosse Team means less exposure to coaches and scholarships, but Alice can handle that[EM2] . Things escalate when she discovers her father, a local celebrity, has gambled away her senior year tuition. If she can’t find a way to pay it she will be forced to transfer to the local public school, which doesn’t have lacrosse, and a college scholarship will truly be out of reach.

Alice focuses on figuring out her future, but thanks to her recent weight loss, everyone else is focused on her figure. When hot, twenty-something Chris Thompson checks her out she feels powerful, but when her dad’s friend, thirty-something, pro-athlete Karl Bean leers [EM3] at her, Alice realizes her new body comes with considerable risks.[EM4]  While she’s busy trying to convince Chris Thompson that she’s not too young for him, Karl Bean steps in to pay her tuition. [EM5] Chris wants her to expose Karl but Alice can’t afford to lose his monetary support. Alienated from her friends and family, she must find a way to protect her body, her tuition money, her future and her heart.[EM6] 


This is my first novel. I have a degree in English from George Mason University and I majored in Fiction Writing at the Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Arts. When I’m not writing, I work in the admission office of a private school where I talk to high school students every day about books they love and issues that are important to them.[EM7] 

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Jamie Beth C.


 [EM1]Great hook, but I sort of want to know something special about Alice.
 [EM2]This downplays the tension of being passed over for the NDLT. Maybe remove this and combine with the next one? Something like, “Getting passed over for the National Developmental Lacrosse Team is bad enough, but then she discovers that her local-celeb dad has gambled away the tuition for her private school senior year.”
 [EM3]This seems threatening. Maybe try a different word that sounds more racy.
 [EM4]This feel formal for a high school mind set. Maybe write it differently?
 [EM5]There’s a disconnect in the two parts of this sentence. I expected Karl Bean to make a move before offering the tuition cost, or a sentence about how he expects another form of loan repayment. Give us more of the MCs feelings within the vocab you use in the query, a little spunk or something.
 [EM6]I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this stakes sentence.
 [EM7]The last two paragraphs are great!

Final thoughts: This query has a few confusing spots and needs a bit more tension, but the well-written stakes sentence almost cancels that. With a bit of rewriting, this query is ready for the big time.

Thank you Jamie for trusting me with your work!


The rafflecopter picks have already been chosen, but I may or may not have a little surprise coming later on today. So keep coming back to critique #2 today and connect with me on twitter for the announcement!

All #PCFest posts for PB writers will be in the comments on Monday's post. You are welcome to comment however you like, though if you are specifically searching for a CP, you should make sure to include your critiquing style, maybe some favorite authors of yours, what sort of critique you are looking for, etc. You don't have to be entering Ficfest to post in the #CPFest. 

Come on back tomorrow for our next #CPFest critique!

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