Monday, January 28, 2013

Bouncer Post #107


Title: PURGATORY
Genre: Adult/Science Fiction
Word Count: 88,000

Query:

Forget Christianity.  As a matter of fact, forget every religion that humans believe in.  There is only one God per universe, and ours can't keep up with the ever-increasing population rate, while still attempting to manage the evil that plagues our world.  He has created a system that can, or so he thought. 

In 2006, an armed robbery critically injures Clayton and takes the life of his six-year-old brother, Joey.  Clayton struggles to find meaning in life while dealing with the loss of his brother and absence of a father, whom he lost earlier to cancer.  He is a self-proclaimed agnostic but desperately seeks closure regarding his little brother’s ill-timed death. 

Meanwhile, Joey’s soul begins the intricate process of reincarnation that is well hidden from today’s society.  Our God has created a multi-layered system that can automatically recycle souls, erase their previous life, and assign a new host and destination for their next life on Earth.  

Clayton, only eighteen years old, succumbs to the early stages of depression.  He turns to drugs and alcohol for immediate escape but constantly longs for the bond his family once had.  Only after discovering signs from a hidden afterlife, he realizes the family he yearns for can be recreated with his girlfriend, Brittney. 

God’s system is supposedly impeccable, but an erratic malfunction occurs in Purgatory (where the system is located).  Joey’s soul is accidentally sent into the body of Clayton’s newborn son.  This mistake will affect the entire world and only Clayton has the power to stop it, even if he doesn’t realize it yet. 

PURGATORY is a found-footage novel about two worlds secretly coexisting as one, and one brother’s determination to finally solve life’s most sought-out question – what really happens after we die?

First 250 :

“Joey!  Get your fucking ass over here right now!”  Mother screamed at Joey, my ADD six year old brother.  “Don’t make me tell you again.”

It was Black Friday at Greenwood Park Mall and to say it was a bit over-crowded is an understatement.  It was like an emo infested mosh pit except there was no shitty music, just the sounds of fiends scavenging the mall for any type of sale or discount.  Mother, who’s never afraid to speak her mind, seemed scared she was going to lose Joey again, just like she did two years ago at the State Fair.  Memories of that chaotic scene probably replayed in her head as she waited for Joey to return to her clammy, terrifying grip.

“Joey-- I am going to count to three.  If you are not next to me, I am going to spank your ass so hard–you won’t be able to sit on Santa’s lap until next year!” she yelled toward his direction.

As usual, Mother’s filthy mouth seemed to shock shoppers.  I could only imagine, as they most likely stared off in disgust.  But my mother’s cold eyes could over-power anyone’s judging attitude, like an un-even battle in tug-of-war.  By now, Joey hopefully knew she wasn’t playing.  This was exactly what happened to him when she finally found him at the fair.  He got his ass beat, welted, right in front of everyone.  But, Joey simply couldn’t help it.  The countless amounts of Christmas lights and holiday decor outside of the store had caught his attention a little bit better than the lotions our mom sampled at Bath and Body Works.

7 comments:

  1. I am sucker for your premise. I think it's very interesting.

    A few things. Your query is long. Queries should typically be 3-4 paragraphs long and be more of a teaser than anything else. Trust me, I too have a query that is more than just a "teaser" that goes into more detail.

    Your query needs a hook right from the beginning, and while your first paragraph is interesting (it did keep me reading), it's too long and I'm not sure if you should/want to start the query that way.

    First 250: Wow, what I can say, your opening line shocked me into reading more. I wanted to read more, I was intrigued. I noticed you have the word "bit" in two different parts in your first 250. This may seem very nitpicky, but it's good to avoid using that kind of word too many times. The description of the mall being like an emo mosh pit made me laugh. Good luck.

    I'm #91 if you'd like to share your thoughts.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It was the last paragraph of your 250 words that grabbed my attention and made to read the entire selection. I *love* you final ending of the query, too. Yea, I kinda read your package backwards. I read the last paragraph and thought, hmm, interesting. Then I read the last of the query and thought, I need to read it all from beginning to end.

    I enjoyed it and wish you luck this week.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I like the concept and your writing is strong and thought provoking.

    A few suggestions (My opinions, others may feel differently)--

    In the query:
    Like I said, your writing is really strong, but this query seems a little scattered and overlong. If you put all your paragraphs about Clayton together and all your paragraphs about God's system together, you will see you have some repetition. I would like to see some of the thoughts combined so it doesn't seem like we're reading the same idea in slightly different words. I would also like to see the 2nd paragraph first so the MC is immediately introduced.

    (These are all your words, just combined in a different order with repetitive info deleted.)

    "In 2006, an armed robbery critically injures eighteen-year-old Clayton and takes the life of his six-year-old brother, Joey. Clayton is agnostic and struggles to find meaning in life while dealing with the loss of his brother. He succumbs to the early stages of depression, turning to drugs and alcohol for immediate escape. Still, he longs for the bond his family once had. After discovering signs from a hidden afterlife, he realizes the family he yearns for can be recreated with his girlfriend, Brittney.

    Meanwhile, Joey’s soul begins the intricate and well hidden process of reincarnation.

    Forget Christianity. As a matter of fact, forget every religion that humans believe in. There is only one God per universe, and ours can't keep up with the ever-increasing population rate, while still attempting to manage the evil that plagues our world. He has created a system that can. It's a multi-layered system that can automatically recycle souls, erase their previous life, and assign a new host and destination for their next life on Earth.

    The system is supposed to be impeccable, but an erratic malfunction occurs in Purgatory and Joey’s soul is accidentally sent into the body of Clayton’s newborn son. This mistake will affect the entire world and only Clayton has the power to stop it, even if he doesn't realize it yet."

    I like the last little blurb as is. It's succinct and nicely worded.


    In the first 250:
    I really love your opening. I don't normally enjoy dialogue as an opening line, but the dialogue from Clayton's mom tells me so much about her. I also like Clayton's worldview. He's an intriguing narrator. I assume you are starting the story right before Joey is killed? That's great. I love it when a story starts right before things change. You've got me hooked with the Black Friday setting too. There's a lot of room for charged emotions there!

    I'm happy with every word until the last paragraph. Several sentences there distance me from the MC.

    "As usual, Mother’s filthy mouth seemed to shock shoppers. I could only imagine, as they most likely stared off in disgust." I know why you wrote these this way--to set up for the 3rd sentence (which I adore and completely sympathize with)--but I think it would still work without the 'seemed' and 'I could only imagine.' The MC either sees the other shoppers look away in disgust, or he doesn't. If he does, then he's not 'only imagining' it. Instead, try, "As usual, Mother’s filthy mouth shocked shoppers. They stared off in disgust rather than meeting her gaze. My mother’s cold eyes..."

    "By now, Joey hopefully knew she wasn’t playing," is also a distanced way of saying, "I hoped Joey knew she wasn't playing."

    I'm sorry for going on so long and I hope nothing here offends. Take only what feels right to you, or nothing at all, if that's the case. I wouldn't have taken the time to write a critique if I didn't think your writing and concept were great! Good luck with the contest and all your writerly endeavors!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I was very intrigued by your query. I almost glanced over it because I thought, "Everyone is going to comment on the most recent post on this blog," but my eye couldn't help being drawn to your opening paragraph. So, congrats, you got me! As for a critique, Virginia and Leila really say everything I thought about your query, so I'll leave that with them.

    For your 250, my only critique was the POV. Even though I know it's being told from Clayton's POV, the meat of the first 250 is all about Joey and his mom. Meaning, I don't get any true sense of a POV. I see the occasional "my" and "I" but Clayton is lost to me at this point. I want to know your protagonist as quickly as possible. I don't think you should change the scene or anything that dramatic, but bringing Clayton more to the surface. Let me know its his thoughts that are narrating the scene.

    Hope this helps,

    Rhen #75

    ReplyDelete
  5. Interesting concept and an eye-catching opening line. A couple suggestions: my ADD six year old brother could be "my six year old brother with ADD" since ADD isn't an adjective? And in the query, instead of whom he lost earlier to cancer. you could say "whom he lost to cancer." We can assume it was earlier. Well-hidden needs a hyphen. I may be clueless, but what's a "found-footage novel"? I agree with the POV comment by Rhen. The line about Santa's lap is hilarious! Good luck! Tracy (#84)

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  6. I agree with Tracy, and also somewhat object to the idea of the first identifier of the brother being that he has ADD--also ADD doesn't technically exist as a diagnosis anymore. It's all under the ADHD umbrella

    ReplyDelete

  7. RR
    แคนดี้ดรีม เป็นเกมสล็อตขนาด 7×7 ช่อง
    “ช็อกโกแลต” เป็นสัญลักษณ์ Wild ของเกม สามารถใช้แทนทุกสัญลักษณ์ในเกม
    วิธีชนะเกม (Payout) คือ ทำให้สัญลักษณ์เดียวกัน 5 ช่องขึ้นไปเกาะเป็นกลุ่มเดียวกัน
    ยิ่งชนะเกมด้วยช่องจำนวนมากเท่าไหร่ อัตราคูณแต้มก็จะยิ่งสูงขึ้น
    สล็อตออนไลน์
    สล็อตออนไลน์

    ReplyDelete