Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Feedback Request

The author of the book most recently featured here would like feedback on the following revision.

Hello. Because you represent New Adult, I'd like to offer for your consideration SUMMER, 1992, a love story that comes in at 89,000 words.

It's 1992 and 18-year-old singer/songwriter Angel Carlton has her life all figured out. She plans to go to college in Nashville, get a record deal, and finally get over Damon, her brilliant and elusive muse of three years. But first, she'll be spending a long-dreamed-about, unsupervised summer at her family's beach house near Ocean City, Marylandwhere she first met Damon. Her Dad has one rule: no drugs in the house. Not a problem for the straight-edge girl.

When Angel meets up with Damon again, she spends all her time with him in an attempt to fulfill her secret mission, to keep him away from his druggie friends andsave him from drug-fueled self-destruction.Though she's promised herself to keep their relationship platonic, the more time they spend together, the more she finds herself attracted to him, inspiring some of her bestsongs.

After falling in love with Damon again, drug paraphernalia is discovered in the house right before an all-important open mic, leading to a disastrous performance.By the end of the summer, Angel's world is turned upside-down, and shehas to decide between her heart and her dreams.

The story, told in diary format, alternates between 1992 and the present. The main character, now middle-aged, types up her journal from the summer of 1992 and shares it with her sixteen-year-old daughter, who has never heard of "Damon," curious to see if she can guess what it hides.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

[BTW - The story is definitely not inspirational, and I can't believe you don't know what a pot bowl is, and/or that you didn't immediately Google it. ;-) I mean, you. You Googled "Please allow me to introduce..." I liked your gif of the bowl smoking though. Also, I finished your book, "Why You Don't Got Published (Vol 1)" and loved it. Thanks again for tearing up my query.]


For some reason the space between words and sentences has disappeared in numerous places. Maybe that was an email thing.

The main change from the last version is that paragraph 4 is a condensed version, which is a good thing, but it has problems. For starters, the way it reads, the drug paraphernalia falls in love with Damon. Changing After falling in love to after Angel falls in love is one possible fix. Also, you could spell out how the discovery of drug paraphernalia leads to a disastrous open-mic performance. I can infer that Angel suspects Damon's been doing drugs in her house when she wasn't there, except that you claim she's been spending all her time with him.

I just Googled pot bowl, and found nothing. Possibly what you and your friends refer to as a pot bowl is known as something else in most places. Common drug paraphernalia would be a small pipe, a bong, rolling papers, a hookah, or DVDs of Tron, Fantasia, 2001, and Rocky Horror. Now that the term is out of the query, I recommend removing it from the book as well, as your readers will be disappointed when they try Googling it.


Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that you will probably have the attention of the agent/editor for about 30 seconds. If they can't figure out characters, objectives, stakes in that much time, they will likely pass. They could probably figure out a pot-smoking bowl has something to do with drugs, but chances are they won't google it, and may pass just because it's not obvious. Why take chances?

"personal mission" might be better than "secret mission" since this is something she's taken on herself to do.

I can understand elusive, but what makes Damon brilliant? Has he changed since she first met him or has he always been bent on drug-fueled self-destruction?

Is there a secondary/parallel plot happening in the present? Or is that part more of a framing story?

Good Luck

Anonymous said...

Here's the problem with "pot-smoking bowl." A bowl is a specific part of a smoking apparatus (a pipe or a bong, for example) that pot is loaded into. It's literally impossible to find a bowl on its own. If you mean a pipe with pot loaded into its bowl, you could just say "a pipe with pot in it," but I would opt for the simpler "joint."

Within the novel, "pot smoking bowl" might be perfect wording for straight-edge Angel, if she's never even been around smokers, but in the query, the wording needs to be just right.

Chelsea P. said...

I think you need to start with the deal Angel makes with God. From a previous query, I gathered that Angel's family beach house is going to sell, and she prays to God that it doesn't. Then, when her prayer is answered, she feels she has to save Damon to pay God back. Why? Does God visit her in her dreams? As the query stands, Angel jumps from planning to get over Damon to suddenly spending all her time with him.

Things you can cut: "Hello." I wouldn't recommend starting a query that way. I don't think you need "because you represent New Adult" either. If your reason for querying an agent is much more specific, then sure, I'd tell them why, but if you're just querying them because they represent your genre, that will be implied. I would simplify your opening line to:

Dear (Agent Name),

I am seeking representation for Summer, 1992, a 90,000-word New Adult Romance.

The final paragraph confused me. If the book alternates between past and present diary entries, when does the daughter aspect come in? Is the part with the daughter told in diary entries too? Or does the book alternate between past diary entries and present day scenes? Honestly, I might leave that paragraph out. Since you say the daughter has never heard of Damon, that automatically tells the reader that Angel doesn't choose him (or maybe he dies, and the daughter is his daughter).

It sounds like you've got a really interesting story here! I think a little clarification will go a long way. :)

Mister Furkles said...

"...drug paraphernalia is discovered in the house right before an all-important open mic,..."

To my eye this says that the paraphernalia is sitting in front of an open microphone. Paragraph four really needs revision. Sloppy wording will get you form rejections because an agent will assume that you will make a 250 query as nearly perfect as you can. She will assume flaws in the manuscript will be much more common and much worse than in the query.

St0n3henge said...

This isn't that much different than the last one. You've changed very little, and what you did change didn't help.

The paragraph about the daughter and diary isn't necessary at all. It's a framing device. You don't need to include the frame when describing a painting.

I did point out that I live in Colorado and have never heard of a pot smoking bowl. I certainly wouldn't need to Google it. I did, just in case I missed something, and got "smoking a bowl" and "packing a bowl" but not pot smoking bowl. Whatever you're calling it, that isn't what it's called.

You say it isn't inspirational, but there was no way to know that. You said the girl feels that God made a deal with her, or vice versa, and at one point feels she failed in her mission. She also seems to be kind of a "good girl" with fairly strict parents. All of this says religion is involved. Why would the reader think it wasn't? All we know is what you tell us about your story.

Stop and think. Maybe take a little more time with it. Remember what the reader doesn't know and think about what they need to.

And I may be old school, but EE forgot Pink Floyd's The Wall.