Monday, February 4, 2013

Bouncer Post #133

Genre: YA Dystopian
Word Count: 98,000


Livvy Moore never thought she’d have to choose between love and loyalty. In fact, love has never been an issue.  Second dates never seem to follow the first. Livvy always manages to insult even the nicest of boys, no matter how blue his eyes or how adorably disheveled his hair. A seventeen-year-old living in the not-to-distant future, Livvy is about to become an integral part of The Administration as a recruit for the Department of Psychological Defense. But when the first stranger she has ever met, Wes, shows up at the Academy just weeks before graduation, she is immediately drawn to him in ways she can't explain.

Livvy must help Wes escape a fate that she and the government she's about to join have handed down to him and in doing so learn a truth that will change all she's ever known, all she's ever trusted. To believe in Wes is to turn her back on her family, her future, her entire existence as she knows it. But to stay loyal to the Administration could mean Wes’s life. Will she trade hers for his?

First 250:

I suck at flirting. But Will Connelly's beautiful blue eyes are motivation for success. So I listen to my inner monologue: Don’t judge.

"What's your SARA?" He asks, sipping green tea.

I'm grateful Will picked Joe for our sort-of-date. It is, after all, my second home. Caffeine and I have a long and successful relationship. Boys, well, they’re another story. Sitting here, though, in one of Joe's high backed wooden chairs, the café's warm amber light, black coffee in hand, I am at total and utter peace. That is, until I realize I'm staring.

I've never looked at Will like this. The faint sprinkling of freckles across his nose and cheeks are boyish reminders of playground chases and jumping off swings. But boyish he is not. I've always known Will was a possibility for a match, but come on. No human being should have eyes like his. Icy blue with lashes any girl would kill for—please.

Afraid his eyes can read my thoughts, I shift my gaze to his hair. The Academy mandates it be cropped short, but Will's sandy locks are just long enough for that adorable bed head look that few can master. Finally I notice him waving his hand in front of my face.

"Huh?" I ask.

"Your SARA?"

I must still look confused, which I am. So he repeats.

"Your SARA... sanctioned artistic release activity? Just wanted to know what you do." His smile is warm, and my cheeks flush. I guess I’m still in the game.


  1. It sounds like there's an interesting concept in here somewhere, but I think your query is too vague. It could use a little more world building to show what she's up against and what's at stake. What is the Department of Psychological Defense? What does it mean to be a recruit? What draws her to Wes? Why does she feel compelled to protect him?

    As for the first 250, I love the voice, and I'm a sucker for some awkward flirting. I'd definitely keep reading.

    Good luck to you! :)


    1. Thank you, Abby. I'm so grateful for query critique. I've already rewritten this one from what is posted. Every time I read it, I rewrite it! Getting the gist of 98,000 words into a couple of paragraphs--almost harder than writing the novel itself!

  2. I really like your first 250 and would definitely read on!

    I might suggest a couple of small changes in your query. Instead of saying Livvy "is about to become...", you could change to "is recruited by..." to make it sound more active. Also, I don't think you need "in ways she can't explain."

    I would like to see a little bit more specific information in the second paragraph, like what Wes' terrible fate is. It might make it easier to understand why Livvy would turn her back on the rest of her life in exchange.

    All in all, it sounds interesting. I wish you all the best!

    1. Thank you, Laura! I have to get over giving away too much in the query because I know that's what's needed to hook the agent to read further. I so appreciate the feedback!

  3. Your first 250 were so good that I read it twice. I love the set-up. I wanted to keep going.

    Your query - you said it best yourself above. It's really hard to squeeze that 98,000 into a query letter. You've got a good start here, but we need a bit more information to know what is going on. The first 250 show us a glimpse of your talent as a writer! We just need a bit more information to let us know what the rest of the story is. I do like the stakes - you've got great stakes and you communicated them well (choosing between everything she has and the boy). She's been able to resist boys in the past, but what makes Wes so irresistible? And what sentence does she hand down? Because if he's about to lose his life, it ups the stakes even greater - she's turning her back on everything to save the life of this boy then he must be very special.

    Best of luck!

    1. Thank you, Jennie! Your feedback is so helpful. I can't wait to revamp this query!

  4. I would have to echo what the others have said about your query. It's concise right now, which is a really good thing, but I'm wondering if you could expand on the Administration. I think it would help if you gave some details that differentiate the government in your story from other dystopians. Other than that, your story sounds great and it's definitely the type of thing I like to read! Hope you do well in the contest!

  5. Thanks, Erin. This is why I'm here, for y'all to help me with this query thing. All of this feedback helps so much. If I don't make it through in Round 4 or with my kissing scene, I'm excited to revamp and try again for Round 6! The revamping will happen regardless, so keep the feedback coming!