Monday, January 14, 2013

Bouncer Post #19


 Title: THE MEMORYWALKER
Genre: YA Mystery/Light Sci-fi
Word Count: 65,000
Query:
With the boyfriend of her dreams, eighteen-year-old Alexis Ortega has magical expectations for her senior prom. Only as luck would not have it, her dream date is ruined by a voice in her head who claims to be herself from two years in the future.
The voice, nicknamed the memorywalker, needs Alex to prevent something horrible from happening, except she can't say what. But strong emotions soon leak through to Alex. What’s with the hot and cold feelings toward her boyfriend and her BFF? How is her father involved with this time traveling technology, and will he die?
The memorywalker has a reason for coming back in time, and only Alex can help her. If they fail, the future isn’t likely to go happily-ever-after.
My obsession with all things foreign led me to a B.A. in International Business. As yet unpublished, I write about teens having amazing adventures in the far corners of the earth.
First 250:
I’ll remember you.
I couldn’t turn my head in any direction without seeing those three words. They were taped to the outside of my locker as I elbowed it shut and littered the ground as I stepped over them. They even hung on a shiny vinyl banner across the hall.
The letters were bold white against a midnight blue sky, sprinkled with sugary stars. The silhouette of an embracing couple completed the promise that every senior would remember this year’s prom for the rest of his or her life.

At least that’s what I assumed. Maybe I was reading too much into those three words, but I had my reasons for being the teensiest bit excited about this prom, for wanting it to be the most perfect day of my life.

I skirted past a fellow senior who had crumpled up some of the prom fliers from the ground and was chucking them down the hall like snowballs. Before I reached the end of the hall, I felt the unmistakable smack of a snowball hitting the back of my head. Nice.

I bent over and picked up the crumpled paper. Scrunching it tighter in my hands, I turned to glare at Spence Tilby. Rumor had it he wasn’t going to graduate with our class, and his normally immature behavior had lately migrated to just plain ridiculous. Last week he somehow turned on the sprinklers in the middle of lunch, ruining my PB & J, along with my favorite pair of ballet flats.

15 comments:

  1. I'm a sucker for anything time-travel! And I loved your first 250 words. I like Alexis' voice and the way you show her excitement about prom. Very believable, and relatable. I would keep reading.

    I thought your query was good, but I think you could make it even stronger. I was a little confused by your second paragraph. The question about Alexis' father dying and the technology he's created seemed to come out of nowhere. I would have also liked you to be a little more specific about the hot and cold feelings she has toward her boyfriend and her BFF.

    But overall I thought this was great! Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  2. P.S. I just read your comments on my entry (#4). Thanks so much!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I really like this! I get a clear feel for the MC's voice from both the query and the intro. An intriguing premise--and I'm drawn in from the first line of your MS.I want to keep reading...I agree with Stephanie, though--I think you could add just a bit more specifics in your query. Just enough to paint the picture with a few more details and really reel us in. Good luck!! (I'm entry #2, by the way ;)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I guess I'm joining the chorus but I really liked this! (And agree that a few more details in the query is a good idea). The main idea, of a voice in her head from the future, hooked me right away.

    The scene in the first 250 is normally a typical one, don't be mad, because what I mean to say is that your beautiful writing makes it so much more. "The letters were bold white against a midnight blue sky, sprinkled with sugary stars." Just lovely. :) I'd read this.

    I'm #12

    ReplyDelete
  5. Mr. Spock (Bouncer)January 14, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    You're in!

    I didn't like the query but the pages really drew me in. You need to revise your query and make it more succinct and specific. Who is the main character, what is she up against, what are the stakes, and what does she stand to lose?

    Time travel books are sort of hot right now. You should make sure yours is different somehow... I would take out the references to "memorywalker" in your query because it makes the book sound too paranormal/Stephen King-ish, and I'm afraid there's not much of a market for paranormal YA.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mr. Spock,

      Thank you soooo much for overlooking my "bum" query!! I appreciate your tips for punching it up. In my comment directly below this one, I wrote the new query I came up w/ based on your and others feedback.

      A question for you (or maybe Cupid): Can I switch out my current query for the new one before the agent round?

      Delete
    2. Yes, all those that make it through to the agent round will send in updated entries.

      Delete
  6. I can't thank everyone enough for your comments! Eep, who agrees that writing the query is harding that writing the actual book??

    Anyway, here's the new query I've come up w/ based on everyone's comments...

    QUERY

    With the boyfriend of her dreams, eighteen-year-old Alexis Ortega has magical expectations for her senior prom. Unfortunately, her dream date is ruined by a voice in her head who claims to be herself from two years in the future.

    Using a device Alex's father created to time-travel via memories, the voice needs Alex to prevent something horrible from happening, only she won't say what. But when strong emotions leak through to Alex, followed by visions, several pieces of her future are revealed.

    Alex wishes she didn't know that her future holds a broken heart and an estranged BFF. Worse still is what will happen to her father if she doesn't help the voice. Because if they fail, her future will surely go unhappily-ever-after.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mr. Spock (Bouncer)January 15, 2013 at 6:36 PM

      I like this a lot more. I think you should change "needs" to "wants" in the second paragraph. I'd get rid of the "unhappily-ever-after." That's too cliche. What exactly will happen to her father if she fails?

      Why can't her future self tell her what she needs to prevent? Or why won't she? That needs to be something with high stakes. If she tells her past self, xxxxxx will happen, and it's really bad. Does that make sense? Otherwise it just feels like it was inserted to cause drama and it's not fully meshed with the story.

      Also, I'd add the words "from her future self" after "emotions leak."

      Delete
    2. Okay Mr. Spock, hopefully you pop in one more to time check out yet another revision on my query. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment!

      QUERY

      With the boyfriend of her dreams, eighteen-year-old Alexis Ortega has magical expectations for her senior prom. Unfortunately, her dream date is ruined by a voice in her head claiming to be herself from two years in the future.

      Using a device Alex's father created to time-travel via memories, the voice wants Alex to prevent something horrible from happening. To protect them both, she won't say what exactly. But when strong emotions leak from her future self to Alex, followed by visions, several pieces of her future are revealed.

      Alex now wishes she didn't know that her future holds a broken heart and an estranged BFF. Worse still is what will happen to her father if she doesn't help her future self. They have a chance to save his life, but if they fail, he isn't the only one who will die.

      Delete
    3. Mr. Spock (Bouncer)January 16, 2013 at 8:11 PM

      I like this a lot more! Great work on your revisions. I'd change are the words "magical expectations." What does that mean exactly? You have a bit of room for some voice - tell us something snarky or romantic or something to set the mood for the book. Or to give us a taste of the main character's voice. To me, a night of magical expectations involves a lot of Mexican food and looking at pictures of cute animals online. To someone else, it might mean a night of clubbing and eating cupcakes. I want to KNOW your main character through this query.

      Also, I don't like the words "dream date" in this context. How about "night" or something more simple? Dream date could refer to the guy or to the actual event.

      On a different note, there are plenty of time traveling books out there right now, e.g. Time Traveler's Wife, Through to You, Time Between Us. How is your book different (and better) than those? In my opinion you should mention a book or two in your query and explain how your book is different and how it will fit into the marketplace.

      Good Luck!

      Delete
    4. Mr. Spock, I'm already working on these things! You are my Query Guru.:)

      Delete
  7. Yay, Shannon! I'd check out this post on writing an awesome query! http://elanajohnson.blogspot.com/2010/02/writing-query-letter-with-voice.html

    ReplyDelete
  8. Congratulations Shannon! And I really like the new query! I love the concept of time-traveling via memory! Good luck!

    ReplyDelete