Where an undercover cupid brings writers and agents together to form magical literary connections...
I love this premise! Pirates and space! It feeds on my love of Star Wars and Firefly.I think you've got an excellent query, and your first 250 words feel strong. I want to keep reading. I'm also in the contest (#19) and I wish you lots of luck!
Thanks Shannon! That is really encouraging to read! Thanks for taking the time to comment. I know I already said it in the comments I wrote on your query, but best of luck to you too!
Love this and want to read more! Good query-I like how you introduce the conflict. You grabbed me with your first line--your opening is beautifully written, and full of promise. I would definitely pick this up in a bookstore! Good luck on your publishing journey!! BTW, I'm entry #2.
Thanks Jenn! You are so sweet in all your comments! I really appreciate it!
That I'm about to get nit-picky with you means I think you've got all the big-picture issues in splendid shape. :) Voice, character, scene-setting - all lovely. Your stakes are great. Your grammar IS good - which is why I want to see your piece achieve a high shine.Second sentence in query: 1st & last clauses have nothing to do with each other, so what is the "but" doing?Violet is chasing her father, but just to say "sorry" doesn't seem important enough for such a full-court press. Does she have another reason to find him?Why is Violent kidnapped? For a bounty?"Worthless" planet. To whom? It kept Violet alive so wasn't totally without use. Perhaps a more descriptive adjective.The more joy line is pretty, but do shooting stars bring Violet joy? Maybe a more grounded (ha) metaphor is called for here.The first two dialogue paragraphs start without the reader having any idea who might be speaking. Suggest putting an action identifying speaker in front.The "Even when I was annoyed..." line is a bit clunky and I think you could delete without loss of meaning.Look out for places you can simplify things like "have been" into just "be." "Would have lost" could be just "lose." I spotted a couple excess "that"s and at least one unnecessary "has."Is there only one port on this planet? I feel like it should be capitalized or referred to as "the port." I keep thinking of after-dinner drinks.Your last line, you miss a chance to intrigue by using the boring word, "stayed" - is there a more interesting thing you could do (ie hunted lachrymose slugs...)?
Thanks thanks so much for taking the time to leave such detailed feedback! I know how long that takes, and I really appreciate it. Thanks again!
Well, you have me. This is ingenious, mixing pirates and space. I absolutely, positively, think this is awesome. The first 250 were unique and imaginative, giving me a real feeling that I was entering a special and fully realized world.Great job! I'm #12 by the way.
Thanks so much Marie! Your comments totally made me smile!
I think the idea of space pirates is neat! As the first commenter said, sorta shades of Firefly. The first 250 is strong and establishes the setting well. I thought the query felt a little long - is there any way to trim it down by a paragraph? And it's possible that her first betrayal is a spoiler but if it's not, I think I'd like to see just what it is that she did to her father that she hasn't seen him in a year. Without knowing that, I couldn't really feel the sense of urgency/determination behind her desire to apologize, nor why betraying her father again is such big stakes. But I'm intrigued!Good luck from entry #1!
Thank you for the thoughtful comments! I'd wondered about the length of my query too. :) I appreciate you taking the time to comment!
I thought your query was good but maybe a little too detailed. But your 250? LOVED. I seriously wanted to keep reading. Loved the last two paragraphs.Especially this line: If I’d grown up on this planet, feet always so close to the ground, head always too far from the stars, I probably would have been humorless, too.Good luck!
Thanks Margie! I really like that line too! And I appreciate your thoughts on my query. I'm already thinking of ways I can tighten up after reading everyone's comments!
Stephanie--I once read a post by Crewel author (and future bouncer) Gennifer Albin that helped me immensely. In fact, it's the reason my query (#6) is written the way it is. The first three short paragraphs happen in the first few chapters. Here's the link:http://genniferalbin.blogspot.com/2011/07/friday-five-5-completely-optional-rules.html
Margie, you're the best! Thank you so much for the link! That was really thoughtful of you. I can't get over how awesome everyone in this contest has been. I'll totally read that post today! Thanks again!
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SPACE PIRATES ARE AWESOME!! :) It sounds like a kick-ass story. I would love to understand more from the query though--I don't know why people think she's a pirate, and why she needs Jacks. And I SO WANT TO KNOW. :) Good luck!
Thanks for your enthusiasm, Heather! And for your input about my query!
Great job on this entry. This is another one that was in my top 5, and not just because it's about space pirates (I do love me some space pirates). You have a great sense for openings. This is exactly what I want to read when I'm starting a story--a feeling of potential, of something just about to happen, ships descending into port just waiting to snap up the MC and take her out to the stars. Plus, you've got a little humor thrown in there--"Maybe I want to meet a pirate and breed children with naked feet"--that gives us a good sense of voice for the character.But there are some places I felt just aren't quiiiiiite there yet, at least compared to some of the other entries in my group. As others have pointed out, your query needs some trimming. Consider deleting the first paragraph entirely, combine the last two paragraphs and then whittle that paragraph down as much as possible. Also, consider trimming back on the romance description. I personally prefer hinting at romance rather than factoring it into the query as a forgone conclusion. It sort of spoils it for me. Even if I can guess where it's going, I don't want to know he loves her back until I'm watching it unfold. But that's a personal quirk, so I can't say for sure if agents have that hang-up as well. As for your first 250, as I said, I like where you've chosen to open the story, and I like the bit of humor, but I think it could use a little tightening/clarifying in the prose here and there. The second sentence, for example, didn't make a lot of sense to me. Why would she care so much about the sky changing color that she'd look really hard for it? Did it have to do with the ships entering the atmosphere? Is it related to the fragments of blue and white? If so, maybe a way to clarify that is to change the sentence to something like: "Sometimes if I looked hard enough from my boardinghouse window, I could see this planet’s murky sky change color--fragments of blue and white, like pieces of broken stars, signaling the great ships’ arrivals." Also, the repetition of 'feet' threw me: "...feet always so close to the ground..." Since you were just talking about the port children's naked feet, I immediately pictured Moira as a port child, which I don't think was your intent. Changing this instance of 'feet' to something else, 'boots' even I think would be fine, would eliminate that association I think.Really, though, this is a wonderful entry. And like several others I've had to judge this week, it deserves to go on to the next round. Unfortunately, I can only pick three. (Woe!) But I absolutely think you've got an amazing story on your hands that I definitely want to read, so please, please keep putting it out there. I just know someone will snap it up soon!
Bouncer Z! I really feel like you have gone above and beyond for the entire group of entries you've critiqued. Thank you so much for all your thoughtful comments and feedback! I'm bummed I didn't make it to the next round, but I was really encouraged to hear how much you liked my entry. And I loved your idea for my query! Thanks so much, I would have never thought to do that. I am totally going to try it out. :)Thanks again!
You're so welcome, Stephanie! I remember well (it wasn't that long ago, really) how much I wished for detailed feedback when I was participating in contests and sending out queries. The whole process can be so demoralizing! But it's so totally worth it, I promise. :-D And your entry is particularly awesome, so it's really only a matter of time!