Query Critique Blog Hop

23 Jul

I’m throwing my hat into the ring for a query critique blog hop run by the wonderful Michelle Hauck. I’m working hard to get my novel in shape for Pitch Wars, which starts in August, and I’d love your feedback!

Query Letter

UPDATE 7/26 Oh my goodness, thank you for the feedback! I’ve entered a revision for anyone who still comes by this post. The new version is above the old one. I’ll be going around giving feedback in the next few days.

NEW VERSION:

Subject: Query for THE ACCIDENTS: HOLES meets MEAN GIRLS

Dear [Agent Name],

Sixteen-year-old Olivia must work with a girl she hates to escape a corrupt alternative school in THE ACCIDENTS, a 68,000 word YA contemporary novel. I am querying you because [I met you at x conference, your MSWL post, etc].

All Olivia wants is to go away to art college. But when boyfriend-stealing Bethany beats her in a high-stakes art contest, she loses it. Olivia and Bethany get in a fistfight, and their high school sends both troublemakers to the School for Alternative Foundations in Education (SAFE).

SAFE is not the outdoorsy utopia it’s advertised to be. Power-tripping counselor Hal steals Olivia’s sketchbook and displays her private drawings in group-therapy-gone-wild. There’s no way Olivia will be able to build the portfolio she needs for art school if she’s stuck here. When she lashes out, she’s forced into isolation therapy—a night with no bed, no light, and no bathroom. SAFE won’t let Olivia contact her parents, or she would beg them to take her home.

When Olivia and Bethany keep fighting, they’re sent on wilderness therapy under Hal’s supervision. The girls don’t like the way Hal watches them and fear they won’t be able to protect themselves if he tries anything. As much as they hate each other, they must work together to escape.

A version of the first chapter of this novel was published in YARN. My writing is published or forthcoming in The Stoneslide Corrective, Refractions, two feminist anthologies, and several other magazines. I cofounded Sounding Sea Writers’ Workshop, am an M.F.A. candidate in Fiction at The University of Baltimore, and am active in my SCBWI region.

Thank you for your consideration,

Tracy Gold

OLD VERSION

HOLES meets MEAN GIRLS when sixteen-year-old Olivia must work with a girl she hates to escape a corrupt alternative school. THE ACCIDENTS is a 68,000 word YA contemporary novel.

All Olivia wants is to go away to art college and escape Hughes High. She tries to keep her cool, but she gets in a fistfight with Bethany, her rival for a hot guy and a high-stakes art contest. Hughes sends both troublemakers to a new program, the School for Alternative Foundations in Education (SAFE).

SAFE is not the outdoorsy utopia it’s advertised to be. Power-tripping counselor Hal steals Olivia’s sketchbook and displays her private drawings in group therapy. And why does SAFE’s founder, Ms. Malvern, keep the blinds drawn at her house all the time? SAFE won’t let Olivia contact her parents, or she would beg them to take her home.

When Olivia and Bethany keep fighting, Ms. Malvern tries to force them to get along by sending them on wilderness therapy under Hal’s supervision. The trip might be their best chance to get away and get help for everyone who’s trapped at SAFE. Can they stop fighting long enough to outsmart Hal and escape?

A version of the first chapter of this novel was published in YARN. My writing is published or forthcoming in The Stoneslide Corrective, Refractions, two feminist anthologies, and several other outlets. I cofounded Sounding Sea Writers’ Workshop, am an M.F.A. candidate in Fiction at The University of Baltimore, and am active in my SCBWI region.

 

First 250 Words 

NEW

I sink into my chair as everyone else shuffles through their bags and takes out typed and stapled essays. Oh man. Why do I always mess this stuff up? I grope around in my bag, pretending to look for mine.

I knew we had a deadline today, but last night I stayed up late working on a portrait for art class that isn’t even due until next week. I got so caught up in the drawing, and then I guess I just fell asleep without even thinking about Mr. Drake’s stupid Lord of the Flies essay. If I could, I would go straight to Bolton College of Art and skip all this high school crap. But here I am, practically handcuffed to my chair.

I’ll be damned if I can’t get at least two pages done during class. Mr. Drake wanted us to write three pages about the id, ego, and superego in Lord of the Flies, but I don’t buy that psychoanalysis bull. You don’t need to be stranded on an island with a group of them to know that teenage boys are animals.

Mr. Drake rambles on in his mental-masturbation way about the symbolism of some pig the boys killed. I scribble until my hand hurts. “The id is the true soul of the human because the id is the same thing as the libido.” Mr. Drake would like that.

OLD

I sink into my chair as everyone else shuffles through their bags and takes out typed and stapled essays. Oh man. Why do I always mess this stuff up? I grope around in my bag, pretending to look for mine.

I knew we had a deadline today, but last night I stayed up late working on a portrait for art class that isn’t even due until next week. I got so caught up in the drawing, and then I guess I just fell asleep without even thinking about Mr. Drake’s stupid Lord of the Flies essay. If I could, I would go straight to Bolton College of Art and skip all this high school crap. But here I am, practically handcuffed to my chair, wishing I could be home sketching instead.

Still, I need to write that paper, and I’ll be damned if I can’t get at least two pages done during class. Mr. Drake wanted us to write three pages about the id, the superego, and the ego in Lord of the Flies, but I don’t buy that psychoanalysis bull. You don’t need to be stranded on an island with a group of them to know that teenage boys are animals.

Mr. Drake rambles on in his mental-masturbation way about the symbolism of some pig the boys killed. I scribble until my hand hurts. “The id is the true soul of the human because the id is the same thing as the libido.” Mr. Drake would like that.

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