Sunday, February 17, 2013

Bouncer Round 6 #21

Title: ARTICLE 20
Genre: YA Thriller
Word Count: 68,000


On the eve of the Inauguration the President-Elect and Vice President-Elect are assassinated.

Although the Constitution clearly outlines the line of Presidential succession under Article 20, it cannot take effect because the President-Elect was not sworn in at his time of death. With the country still in mourning, the United States Congress invokes its right as outlined and chooses the incumbent, President William Travers, to remain in the White House for another four years

17-year old Jenna Rae Powell is the oldest daughter of the fallen President-Elect. With the country beginning to forget about the assassination, and stone-walled at every turn as she asks questions into the death of her father, she and Michael Stratton, the Secret Service Agent assigned to protect her, begin their own investigation.

Wading through the varied promises, conspiracy theories and cover-ups that seem to run rampant in Washington, Jenna and Stratton are suddenly aided by Stryker, an assassin who had originally targeted Powell but then had his fifteen minutes of fame snatched away. His only request is that when they find the assassins he is allowed to kill them himself.

The chase throughout Washington becomes more and more dangerous as they follow clues and a trail of bodies that lead them higher and higher into the levels of government.  Every path they take suddenly leads to a dead end . . . with a sniper waiting on the roof for them.

ARTICLE 20 is my YA Thriller, complete at 68,000 words.

I graduated from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.  After several years on the NYPD, where I had to retire due to an injury, I continued to work as a security consultant at a number of locations across the city and in Washington D.C.

First 250:

The morning of the Inauguration had finally come and the principals were quite different from what the voters had dictated the day of the election in November.  President-Elect John Powell and the Vice-President Elect James Mathers were assassinated just a week before and since the Powell was not sworn in on the steps of the Capitol as provided for in the Constitution; the line of Presidential Succession as outlined could not take effect.  With the country still in mourning, the United States Congress invokes its power and chooses the incumbent, President William Travers, to remain in the White House for another four years.

As the voters settle back into their normal lives, the city quietly prepares for the Inauguration celebration, and a teen-age girl stares out of the window of her Georgetown home, wondering how it all changed and why.
Seventeen-year old Jenna Rae Powell is the oldest daughter of the former President-Elect and she took his loss hard. A senior in high school the day her father accepted the presidential nomination at the Democratic National convention, she was thrust into the spotlight and became a breath of fresh air on the campaign.
Her penchant for speaking her mind, in spite of any type of political incorrectness or protocol, had made her the darling of the paparazzi. Now, the cameras are still there . . . but for a much different reason. With each flash they became far more intrusive as anyone with a camera seemed intent on getting that private, tear-filled moment where her guard is let down and she was NOT going to let them have it.


  1. Wow you had me hooked all the way through your query! I love the concept.

    I really like your opening 250 but I almost wonder if you'd get a stronger reaction if you started with the remarks about Jenna Powell and the paparazzi. There's a really powerful emotion associated with the fact that she was America's darling that quickly turned into a media storm for a different reason. It sets the tone early and quickly and would make a great opening hook. Then you can came back and sprinkle in a few of the details about the election as you go on from there.

    Gook luck with your entry. I'd love to read more of this! :)
    Jamie #36

  2. Hi...I really like your query, which is exciting and full of intriguing details. You don't give too much away, and yet you provide a good sense of what motivates your protagonist. Though I'm not normally a reader of YA thrillers, I find myself very interested in yours.

    Your first 250 words do seem a bit exposition-heavy. After that query, I want to meet Jenna. I don't need to be told her age or her full name immediately. I also don't need her back story stated outright, and I would rather you didn't tell me how she felt. Show me. You've got a neat plot here, and if you let it emerge via action and character development, it will be more powerful. As Jamie says, you can sprinkle details about the election throughout your opening chapter.

    You may also want to watch your verb tenses. You don't seem to be using past and present consistently here.

    I am anxious to know what happens later in the story. Good luck in the round...


  3. Great concept. I can tell from your query it will be executed well, especially with your background in law enforcement. The first 250 gives us some great background, but I'd love to see Jenna right in the midst of some action when the book starts. The premise is fantastic. Love that she's not PC. Would love to see her, like Jamie said, starting with Jenna reacting to the paparazzi. Good luck!
    --Amy #34

  4. Your query is excellent! Definitely makes me want to read more.

    I'd recommend starting the first 250 with a little less exposition. Maybe you could begin with the fourth paragraph and add in the other information later?

    Good luck from #20!

  5. It's exciting! I would start with Jenna in your 250 however and tell the rest of it as it goes along. I think the subject matter is timely and not one that has been written about that I know of. Great job!

  6. This is a great concept, and you've got my interest piqued even though I don't normally read this genre!

    I'll echo what others above have mentioned. I think the query and first 250 would be much stronger if you started with Jenna (3rd para in the query, last para in your opener). The reader can pick up on the rest later!

    Carissa -- #24

  7. This is a great concept and it is set up so that the suspense will be maintained the entire novel.
    Like others, I would like to see more action and dialogue. I'm surprised that you didn't begin with the assassination, or what happened from jenna's point of view on the day her father was killed. I think that emotional impact of the day will carry and help the reader feel her motivation for finding her father's killer.
    Definitely got me hooked!
    Dianne #13

  8. Bouncer Colonel MustardFebruary 19, 2013 at 5:36 PM

    I like this concept a lot. You may want to reconsider the title though. There's a pretty popular YA series out right now, and the first book in the series is called ARTICLE 5