Thursday, May 26, 2016

May Pass Or Pages Entry #4

Welcome to our feedback reveal for Pass Or Pages. In this contest, randomly chosen entries were critiqued by our agent panel. We hope it will give everyone a sense of what is going on in an agent's head as they read queries and first pages. We're so grateful to the members of the agent panel who gave their time to provide feedback on these entries. We'd also like to thank the entrants. It's hard to put yourself out there. Thanks for being brave!


Entry #4: VAMPIRE MASK (?? words [MF1] [RW1])


QUERY


Piper is a thirteen-year-old vampire. [MF2]

Unless you ask her mom. [RW2] [EK1] To Mom, she’s an adorable thirteen-year-old daughter who was diagnosed with lupus—right after she lost her father to complications from lupus.

But in Piper’s mind, she’s a vegetarian vampire, waiting for her magic powers to come in. [RW3] She can’t go in the sun, she has to watch what she eats, she’s tired and hurting all the time and she can’t hang out on the beach with her friends [RW4] . It leaves her feeling very alone in a sea of sun-kissed people. Thank goodness for her mom and older brother, who refuse to “lose her to the dark side”. [MF3] [RW5]

And then she meets Devon, a homeless boy trying to feed his little sister by dumpster diving. In Piper’s eyes, he’s even weirder than she is, but her curiosity is piqued, and an unlikely friendship is formed. While Piper struggles to hold on to her mask—refusing to admit she has an incurable disease—Devon disappears and her “vampire powers” almost get her killed while she’s trying to find him. It takes the strength of a mother’s love and a brother’s unwavering support to pull her out from behind her “vampire mask” and into the sun once more. [RW6]
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Moe's notes:
[MF1] What's the word count?
[MF2] Vampires. Why did it have to be vampires? /Indiana Jones reference. Not the agent for vampires and I would stop here.
[MF3] I’m having a hard time with these two paragraphs. Her family doesn’t want to lose her to the dark side, but in the paragraph above it feels like her mom doesn’t know she’s a vampire.
[MF] What are the stakes? (No pun intended!) This feels rather quiet to me from the query.

Roseanne's notes:
[RW1] I don’t see the category or the word count.
[RW2] I like this switch. It sets you up to think it’s paranormal, but then it makes it a coping mechanism.
[RW3] This should come after what she can’t do because it’s the result of her “logic” that she’s a vampire.
[RW4] This is repetitive of going out in the sun. If you want to emphasize that she lives in a place where the beach is the culture, then make it it’s own thought. We don’t know where she is geographically, which would also help.
[RW5] Does she want to be lost? This is not clear. Does she think she’s a vampire, or does she want to be one?
[RW6] This is not clear, and I don’t see what she wants or what the stakes are.

Emily's notes:
[EK1] My first thought was “oh no not another vampire book.” But if she’s not actually a vampire, why start with that?

FIRST 250


I remember the day I was reborn into this new life. The day they told me not to go outside because the sun could kill me. That day, my whole life changed.

It was not a change I am [MK1] happy with. [RW1]

"Piper, eat your breakfast."

I blinked at my mom. "Vampires don't do mornings."

Long suffering sigh. "You aren't a vampire."

"Then why can't I go in the sun?" I asked, mushing up my pancakes.

"You can go in the sun. You just have to cover up. Wear that cute floppy hat I bought you."

I pushed away from the table, glaring at my mom. She would never understand me. I resisted the urge to bare my fangs at her and instead I jumped to my feet and stalked out…or at least, I tried to stalk out. But the big black combat boots she bought me yesterday make it very hard to stalk [MK2]. I think they weighed as much as I do, and they made my knees ache.

But.

Vampires wear black. And since I'm sure I'll have to be fighting other vampires soon, [RW2] I must have combat boots.

"Piper!" Crap. My mom had noticed my retreat and my still-full plate left behind on the table.

"I'm going back to sleep." I called as I tried to bound up the stairs. I only fell once.

Do vampires sleep in their combat boots? I was new at this, so I wasn't sure.
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Moe's notes:
[MK1] Don’t switch tenses.
[MK2] Watch your repetitions!
[MK] Sorry, but vampires just aren’t my cup of tea.

Roseanne's notes:
[RW1] This isn’t doing much to draw me in. It’s vague, sounds cliché, and makes it feel like a memory rather than the moment we’re in. And there are much more interesting ways to express a character’s displeasure with change.
[RW2] I’m not sure why she’ll be fighting other vampires? Does she know, or she assumes that’s part of being a vampire?
[RW] The MC sounds very young, more like 10 than 13, but I like the idea of her disassociation with her condition by accepting that she’s a vampire. Please send 30 pages following the guidelines on jdlit.com.

RESULTS

Moe Ferrara: PASS
Roseanne Wells: PAGES!
Emily Keyes: PASS

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