Sunday, February 10, 2013

Bouncer Post #174

YA DYSTOPIAN (with zombies)
62,000 words
Sixteen year old Devonny, a genetically enhanced human enters Base to complete her mandatory soldier training and discovers that recruits infected with an infectious disease are being eliminated. She teams up with her fellow recruits to thwart the government but when they find out she is the cause of the disease and half-human, they no longer trust her. She must find a way to gain back the trust of the recruits and to stop the government from releasing a deadly virus designed to eliminate those they deem infected before it’s too late.
FIRST 250 
A small line of other sixteen-year olds I recognize from the Academy wait to be let in. A girl cries. One boy in particular catches my eye.


I pretend not to notice and avert my gaze making sure my screen is up. The racing of my heart magnifies the rush I feel at seeing him.

As soon as it’s my turn I stride up to the desk.

A soldier with short cropped hair on the sides and a long braid in the back is behind the desk. He has a large silver T on the right shoulder of his gray jumpsuit. He is Tagen.


“Devonny Wilcox.”

He checks a list and directs me to another room with a jerk of his chin.

A metal exam table is in the center of the room. A woman stands near it with a clipboard in her hand. I take a shaky breath and step forward.


  1. Your query feels like a list of unrelated sentences and it doesn't really draw me in.

    Your first 250 are interesting though. Try putting some of the voice from the 250 into the query to connect with the audience more.

    Good luck.

    -Brad (#178)

  2. Your query isn't quite a query. It reads more like a slightly disjointed summary. You need at least three distinct paragraphs that set up your character, conflict and stakes. I think you're revealing a bit too much in this summary, and it reads more like a point-by-point of your over-arching plot.

    I'd recommend starting off telling us exactly who your MC is. Something like:
    Sixteen year old Devonny is only half-human. She's also the cause of an infectious disease that is sweeping through the population, turning people into zombies.*

    *since this is a zombie novel, I'm guessing this? Whatever it is, clarify it here.

    Then your next paragraph is about her going to Base camp and uncovering a conspiracy. I wouldn't say that her fellow recruits find her out, but tease it: that she must hide what she is, for fear of being branded the enemy. You should also tease your romance in/around paragraph three. Is he one of the recruits who finds out what she is? Say so -- that's good romantic stakes.

    I would recommend you don't label this a dystopian. It's considered a dead/dying-genre and just seeing the label will turn a lot of agents off. If your world build well and truly is "utopia turned dystopia," stick with it if you must, but if you've got zombies, you may also be able to label it post-apocalyptic. It seems like you're using tech... could this be labeled sci-fi? Lead with zombies though -- zombies are huge!

    Good luck!

  3. I think your query has all the elements, just not quite the right format. It needs a strong hook. And I think if you use the part about her being the cause of the disease as the final part—like it's the cliffhanger of your query it would be stronger. I recommend looking up an ebook by Elana Johnson. She's got great worksheets to help construct queries.

    Good luck! #162