Sunday, February 10, 2013

Bouncer Post #151


Title: SEEING SHADOWS
Genre: YA Paranormal Suspense
Word Count: 81,000

Query:

Seventeen-year-old Skylar is very skeptical of her crazy great aunt's psychic ability. And even more skeptical of her aunt's insistence that she's inherited it. But now she's having flashes of the future. She thinks she's just imagining them until she sees a classmate in a bloody bathtub, and two days later hears that the girl committed suicide.

Skylar wants no part of this invasive ability. But when a vision reveals that her classmate was actually murdered, and that Andrei, her best friend and long-time crush, was involved, she has no choice but to embrace her ability to find the murderer. Hopefully before the vision of getting shot comes true, but after she tells Andrei how she really feels about him.

First 250:

The first time it happened I was only nine years old. We were at a funeral and when I saw my dad tear up, I slipped my little hand into his big, sturdy one. His sadness hit me like a dodge ball to the chest. I started crying so hard that my mom had to carry me out. We passed grieving family members, shaking their heads at me in disapproval and confusion, making it worse. But no one was more confused about it than me.

Later, at the reception, my great aunt, Annie Veronica Scotts, found me sitting alone in the swinging chair on the porch. She pulled off one of the many colorful scarves she wore, wrapped it around my neck, peered at me through her jewel-encrusted horn rims and whispered, "You're gonna be just like me Skylar Belle." 

It seriously freaked me out.

As I grew up I heard all sorts of stories about her, but saw her less and less. Which was fine with me. My grandmother had sort of been the bridge between weird Annie V. and the rest of us. So when she passed, I guess the family kind of accidentally-on-purpose forgot to invite Annie V. to stuff.

That's why I never saw it coming.

You didn't have to have my ability to pick up on other people's emotions to see how happy Mom was as she came dancing into the living room. I was all cozied up in the recliner with a strawberry-banana smoothie enjoying the new, tremendous flat screen. 

6 comments:

  1. Ooh. The tension is strong and the query is well-organized. Good luck!

    #155

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  2. Bouncer Colonel MustardFebruary 11, 2013 at 10:04 PM

    I'm going to wait to pick my top 3 until Thursday, but I'm giving everyone feedback in the meantime.

    I like this query. It picks up on some popular t.v. shows with "Medium" and "Long Island Medium."
    I'd rework your last two lines though: "Hopefully before the vision of getting shot comes true, but after she tells Andrei how she really feels about him."

    What vision of getting shot? The only vision you mentioned was the one that already happened (the girl in the bloody bathtub), so this second vision needs better set up. And why on earth--if she thinks Andrei was involved in a murder--would she want anything to do with him? You may want to add a bit of explanation there. You have room to do it.

    Okay. Stay tuned!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the feedback! I think I pared down my second paragraph TOO much for the contest. Here's my pre-contest draft:

      Skylar wants no part of this invasive ability. But when she sees that her classmate, Simone, was really murdered, she confronts the murderer and gets sucked into a fight for her life. Simone had information that could bring down a drug dealer and now he thinks she must have told Skylar what she knew. Now Skyler’s going to have to purposefully use her new ability to find out who is behind all this. When she uncovers the fact that her best friend, Andrei, who she’s been crushing on for three years, has been forced into working for the dealer, she’s determined to find a way to stop the drug dealer without getting Andrei in trouble. Hopefully before a recurring vision that she’s going to be shot comes true, but after she tells Andrei how she really feels about him.

      Not sure if that clears up the confusion or invites more! : )
      I'd love to know your thoughts on the 250. Thanks again!

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  3. Nice query, though I wondered momentarily who got shot...
    The 250 have a strong voice, and your MC draws my empathy and curiosity.
    ~Just Jill (#139)

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  4. I thought your query was okay (more on that in a minute), but I LOVED your first 250. It made me want to read more. There was something about the tone and style that clicked with me, and I also got a hint of some Southern color -- is it set in the South at all? (something about the way her aunt spoke to her/called her Skylar Belle)

    I read your pre-pared down 2nd paragraph above and think it really helps with clarity *and* it makes me more inclined to read your book. I would clean it up a bit, but definitely keep those details. I do feel like you can tighten throughout your query. Your first two sentences, for example, could be combined into one. Something like: Seventeen-year-old Skylar doesn't believe that her crazy great aunt is psychic, nor does she buy her claims that Skylar's inherited her "gift." (because sometimes you only get one sentence to make an impression!)

    Some other small suggestions. I would change "Skylar wants no part of this invasive ability." to "Skylar wants no part of her unpredictable, embarrassing and invasive ability." (adding some qualifiers adds emotional stakes/sets up for the reader that there will be Hijinks). And tighten that 2nd graph like this: But the visions about Simone won't stop. Simone knew information that could bring down a drug dealer, and she didn't kill herself. She was murdered.

    Then start a new paragraph: Now Skyler will have to embrace her ability in order to solve the crime. etc.

    You can take or leave my specific sentences, but I think you can tighten up the sentences so they deliver your plot in an exciting, edge-of-your-seat way :)

    Good luck!

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    Replies
    1. Great advice! Thanks so much! (And yes, it is set in the south.)

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