Monday, January 14, 2013

Bouncer Post #30

Title: The Wake of Madness
Genre: NA Psychological Suspene
Word Count: 117,000


Throughout her childhood Olivia Winslow is demoralized, neglected, and abused by her mother and father, who - for reasons she cannot understand - believe she is the demon offspring of Satan. Molded by bitterness and resentment toward her parents, Olivia grows from a meek and fearful adolescent into a hardened teenager, consumed by her desperate need for revenge.

Her cousin Peter and boyfriend Travis are her only allies in her struggle to survive the cruelty and madness of home. In her sixteenth year, confusion over the boy of her dreams and a forbidden love leaves Olivia wondering if her parents weren’t right about her demon nature all along - until she discovers a family secret that just might prove it: The truth behind her conception. Once Olivia knows who she is, how many lives will she unwittingly destroy to ensure no one else ever finds out?

First 250:

“You were born at the stroke of midnight. You came out feet first with your demon-red hair on a snowy night while the moon was eclipsed. My mom always says my dimple was where an angel kissed my cheek when I was born, but you were born evil so angels wouldn’t touch you. Your dimple came from me, from when I kissed you when they brought you home from the hospital. So there. There’s your favorite story for the gazillionth time. Can we please go swimming now?”

“No, not yet!” I grabbed Cousin Peter’s arm to keep him sitting beside me by the fire when he tried to stand. “Tell me the one about Janie Mae Strothburn again, too.”

“You’ve heard that one a gazillion times, too.”

“I’ve heard it ten gazillion times, thank you, and I want to hear it again.”

Before he could protest, I speared another marshmallow to the end of my stick and then did the same for him.

“Olivia, no! I wanna go swimming.”

“We have all summer to swim and goof off. It’ll be daylight in a few hours and then telling creepy stories won’t be fun anymore.” I unwrapped another chocolate bar to make yet another s’more, and added, “And besides, we still have half a pack of smokes and there’s still a little moonshine left. We can’t go back to the house until it’s all gone. That’s the rule and you know it.”


  1. I really like the premise. I think the first paragraph reads a bit like an info dump -- some of it could be parsed out. I might start with an intro sentence like: I bugged the crap out of my cousin by asking him to tell me the story of birth over and over. He always gives in.

    With the satanic element, your genre might be more paranormal than psych suspense.

    Good luck. I'd love to read this book

  2. Ooh, this sounds cool and eerie! I have some questions about the query. First, her parents believing she’s the demon offspring of Satan—whoa! I feel like it’s tossed into the query like that’s a normal thing for parents to think/say, but it’s not, and I wanted more explanation as to why they’d think that and why she’s put up with it without explanation. And do you mean she’s seeking revenge on her parents? Then the second paragraph: how would confusion over love lead to finding out she’s a demon? I know you don’t have enough room in a query to tell every detail, but when it’s not a logical leap the reader can make themselves, I think we need a little more explanation.

    In the 250, I like the voice, but until the mention of smoking and drinking, I thought this was maybe a prologue with the characters as children. The whole “tell me a story” thing felt young to me.

    I do like the eerie cool vibe of this, though!

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment on my pitch! Your input is wonderful and will really help go a long way with trying to revise it. Just in case you haven’t made up your mind yet and happen to double back to check for my response, I wanted to address a few of your concerns.

      Another version of my pitch begins with this line: “Unbeknownst to Olivia Winslow, she is the product of a satanic cult rape,” but I took the advice of a few CP’s who suggested it gives away too much of the story up front, and that agents might make the wrong assumptions on the appropriateness of content involving such a mature theme. I have to admit, some of the content is controversial, which I hope was successfully alluded to in the vague reference to a forbidden love, but is handled maturely and appropriately for a YA audience - I believe.

      Again, thank you so much for the feedback!