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THE VIGILANTE (YA ACTION/THRILLER)

Fiction Thrillers/Suspense Young Adult

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#1 bhill010

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 10:44 PM

Hey everyone, below is the first draft for my second manuscript. I'd appreciate any feedback and would provide the same in return! Just let me know the title of any queries you may have.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

EDIT: UPDATED VERSION BELOW AND IN POST #21

 

===================================================================================

 

When sixteen-year-old Maxwell Hugo awakens from a four-year coma he’s devastated to learn that his home is gone, his parents were killed by a bomb, and according to public records, so was he.
 
Max’s life-long body guard, Bradford, managed to rescue him from the wreckage. But now that Max is awake he craves nothing but justice for his parents’ killer, who was never apprehended and is still at large. So he must make a choice: either live in hiding forever, or risk his second chance at life by hunting down the murderer.
 
He chooses revenge. 
 
Bradford helps Max rehabilitate himself and track down people with information about his parents’ murderer. But when Max’s punch-first method of interrogation gets him into trouble, he’s rescued by a homeless girl named Katsy, who relies on charm and wit to get what she wants. In exchange for helping Max find whomever he’s looking for, Katsy wants a place to stay. Max takes her offer and gets himself a partner who couldn’t be more different from his vicious mentor, Bradford. 
 
As his search for the truth intensifies, Max must trust either Katsy’s witty schemes or Bradford’s aggressive teaching to get what he wants. Max makes his decision when he finally confronts the man who masterminded the bombing that killed his parents: either kill or be killed.
 
THE VIGILANTE is a YA action/thriller complete at 70,000 words. 
 
Thank you for your time and consideration.

THE VIGILANTE (YA action/thriller)

Query: http://agentquerycon...actionthriller/

Synopsis: http://agentquerycon...actionthriller/


#2 Ireth

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 11:00 PM

Hey everyone, below is the first draft for my second manuscript. I'd appreciate any feedback and would provide the same in return! Just let me know the title of any queries you may have.

 

Thanks in advance.

-------------------

 

 

Twelve-year-old Maxwell Hugo wanted nothing else than to give his mother a special cake for her birthday. But there was just one problem with his gift: a bomb was placed inside.

 

When Maxwell awakens (from what? The explosion? Make this clearer) he finds himself in the care of his bodyguard, Bradford, who managed to survive the explosion as well. Max is badly burned, can hardly walk, and looks nothing like himself. But the burns and scars aren’t the only reason for his sudden change in Max's appearance--he’s been in comatose for four years and is believed to be dead along with his parents.

 

His family was assassinated, and if whoever was responsible for their murder finds Max is still alive(comma) then they’ll strike again. Max wants his old life back but cannot risk exposing his identity. So Instead, Bradford gives Max the biggest ultimatum: live a life forever in hiding forever, or seek revenge.

 

Max chooses revenge.

 

 

He’s trained Max trains to become a ruthless fighter and puts himself in harm(apostrophe)s way by hunting down a trail of dangerous people tied to his parents’ murder. Along the way Max makes an unlikely friendship with a sharp-tongued girl named Katsy(comma) who can talk her way out of anything and dislikes Max’s punch-first way of solving problems.

 

 

With the assistance of Katsy and Bradford, Max goes down a hit-list of suspects until he uncovers the truth behind his family’s assassination. But as his hunt for information intensifies, he risks becoming like the ruthless killer he’s sworn to bring to justice.

 

 

Kill Bill meets Kick-Ass, THE VIGILANTE is a YA action/thriller complete at 70,000 words.

 

Thank you for your time and attention.

 

Sounds like a cool story. Hope my comments are helpful. :)


There's too much blood in my tea system. Time to put the kettle on.

 

~~~

 

All projects except WINTER'S QUEEN are currently on hiatus until further notice. Thank you!

 

Queries:

Winter's Queen: http://agentquerycon...een-ya-fantasy/

Tenth Realm: http://agentquerycon...e-epic-fantasy/

Low Road: http://agentquerycon...orical-fantasy/

Moonhunter: http://agentquerycon...ya-xenofiction/

Song of the Sea: http://agentquerycon...sea-ya-fantasy/

My Soul to Keep: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/

Dancing On Edges: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/

Bellringer: http://agentquerycon...ringer-fantasy/

 

Hooks:

Winter's Queen: http://agentquerycon...tasy-hook-help/

Tenth Realm: http://agentquerycon...k-epic-fantasy/

Low Road: http://agentquerycon...fantasyvampire/

Moonhunter: http://agentquerycon...ya-xenofiction/

Song of the Sea: http://agentquerycon...ong-of-the-sea/

My Soul to Keep: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/

Dancing on Edges: http://agentquerycon...asy-query-hook/

 

Synopses:

Winter's Queen: http://agentquerycon...een-ya-fantasy/

Tenth Realm: http://agentquerycon...ntasy-synopsis/

Low Road: http://agentquerycon...fantasyvampire/

My Soul to Keep: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/


#3 bhill010

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 11:09 PM

Ireth thank you so much for the edits--they were very helpful. And I'll make sure to check out the queries you have posted =] 

 

Below is my updated version.

-------------------------

 

Twelve-year-old Maxwell Hugo wanted nothing else than to give his mother a special cake for her birthday. But there was just one problem with his gift: a bomb was placed inside.

 

After the explosion Maxwell awakens in the care of his bodyguard, Bradford, who managed to rescue him from the wreckage. Max is badly burned, can hardly walk, and looks nothing like himself. But the burns and scars aren’t the only change in Max's appearance--he’s been comatose for four years and is believed to be dead along with his parents.

 

His family was assassinated, and if whoever was responsible for their murder finds Max is still alive, they’ll strike again. Max wants his old life back but cannot risk exposing his identity. So Instead, Bradford gives Max the biggest ultimatum: live in hiding forever, or seek revenge.

 

Max chooses revenge.

 

Max trains to become a ruthless fighter and puts himself in harm’s way by hunting down a trail of dangerous people tied to his parents’ murder. Along the way Max makes an unlikely friendship with a sharp-tongued girl named Katsy, who can talk her way out of anything and dislikes Max’s punch-first way of solving problems.

 

With the assistance of Katsy and Bradford, Max goes down a hit-list of suspects until he uncovers the truth behind his family’s assassination. But as his hunt for information intensifies, he risks becoming like the ruthless killer he’s sworn to bring to justice.

 

Kill Bill meets Kick-Ass, THE VIGILANTE is a YA action/thriller complete at 70,000 words.

 

Thank you for your time and attention.


THE VIGILANTE (YA action/thriller)

Query: http://agentquerycon...actionthriller/

Synopsis: http://agentquerycon...actionthriller/


#4 RosieSkye

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 11:55 PM

Ireth thank you so much for the edits--they were very helpful. And I'll make sure to check out the queries you have posted =] 

 

Below is my updated version.

-------------------------

 

Twelve-year-old Maxwell Hugo wanted nothing else than to give his mother a special cake for her birthday. But there was just one problem with his gift: a bomb was placed inside.

 

After the explosion Maxwell awakens in the care of his bodyguard, Bradford, who managed to rescue him from the wreckage. Max is badly burned, can hardly walk, and looks nothing like himself. But the burns and scars aren’t the only change in Max's appearance--he’s been comatose for four years and is believed to be dead along with his parents.

 

His family was assassinated, and if whoever was responsible for their murder finds Max is still alive, they’ll strike again. Max wants his old life back but cannot risk exposing his identity. So Instead, Bradford gives Max the biggest ultimatum: live in hiding forever, or seek revenge.

 

(I feel like a lot of this is back story that can be condensed.  "After a bombing killed his parents and left him comatose for four years, sixteen-year-old Maxwell wants revenge."  That may be a little TOO brief, but you get the idea.  Throw in a few details about who his parents were that they would be assassinated and their son would have a bodyguard.) 

 

Max chooses revenge.

 

With the help of his bodyguard Bradford (if Bradford is indeed the one who trains him) Max trains to become a ruthless fighter and puts himself in harm’s way by hunting hunts down a trail of dangerous people tied to his parents’ murder. Along the way Max he makes an unlikely friendship with a sharp-tongued girl named Katsy, (Who is she, exactly?  How do they meet?  Max is living under the radar now, right?) who can talk her way out of anything and dislikes Max’s punch-first way of solving problems.  (Ha, I like this!)

 

With the assistance of Katsy and Bradford (again, more about Katsy.  She doesn't like him punching first, but she helps him kill people?), Max goes down a hit-list of suspects (this sounds like he's killing people without proof - are they guilty or just suspects?) until he uncovers the truth behind his family’s assassination. But as his hunt for information intensifies, he risks becoming like the ruthless killer he’s sworn to bring to justice.  (Good conflict and stakes here, but is there an ultimate choice he has to make?)

 

Kill Bill meets Kick-Ass (site comparable books, not films), THE VIGILANTE is a YA action/thriller complete at 70,000 words.

 

Thank you for your time and attention consideration.

 

Hope this helps!



#5 Guest_AWExley_*

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 12:11 AM

With a twelve year old MC this isn't YA, it's MG.



#6 Ireth

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 12:48 AM

With a twelve year old MC this isn't YA, it's MG.

 

I think the twelve-year-old bit is backstory, and the real plot begins when Max is 16. I could be wrong, though.


There's too much blood in my tea system. Time to put the kettle on.

 

~~~

 

All projects except WINTER'S QUEEN are currently on hiatus until further notice. Thank you!

 

Queries:

Winter's Queen: http://agentquerycon...een-ya-fantasy/

Tenth Realm: http://agentquerycon...e-epic-fantasy/

Low Road: http://agentquerycon...orical-fantasy/

Moonhunter: http://agentquerycon...ya-xenofiction/

Song of the Sea: http://agentquerycon...sea-ya-fantasy/

My Soul to Keep: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/

Dancing On Edges: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/

Bellringer: http://agentquerycon...ringer-fantasy/

 

Hooks:

Winter's Queen: http://agentquerycon...tasy-hook-help/

Tenth Realm: http://agentquerycon...k-epic-fantasy/

Low Road: http://agentquerycon...fantasyvampire/

Moonhunter: http://agentquerycon...ya-xenofiction/

Song of the Sea: http://agentquerycon...ong-of-the-sea/

My Soul to Keep: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/

Dancing on Edges: http://agentquerycon...asy-query-hook/

 

Synopses:

Winter's Queen: http://agentquerycon...een-ya-fantasy/

Tenth Realm: http://agentquerycon...ntasy-synopsis/

Low Road: http://agentquerycon...fantasyvampire/

My Soul to Keep: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/


#7 bhill010

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 12:57 AM

@RosieSkye--Thank you for your comments! I'm kind of too afraid to shorten the query now, but I have a feeling I'll have to at some point. I added in your idea of adding in a reason as to why his parents were killed. But yeah I'll definitely think about cutting down the initial backstory--I'm just unsure which parts to cut. And I'll be sure to check out any queries you have posted!

 

@AWExley--The bulk of the story is told when he's 16. Thanks for the clarification Ireth =)

 

Latest version below:

 

 

The Hugo family reigned as the governing power of Empire City, but it all came to a fiery end when a bomb exploded in their home.

 

After the incident twelve-year-old Maxwell Hugo awakens in the care of his bodyguard, Bradford, who managed to rescue him from the wreckage. Max is badly burned, can hardly walk, and looks nothing like himself. But the burns and scars aren’t the only change in Max's appearance--he’s been comatose for four years and is now sixteen.

 

He’s also believed to be dead along with his parents.

 

Max wants his family’s killer brought to justice but can’t go to the police for risk of exposing his identity. Because if whoever was responsible for their murder finds out Max is still alive they’ll strike again. So instead, Bradford gives him the biggest ultimatum: live in hiding forever, or seek revenge.

 

Max chooses revenge.

 

With the help of Bradford, Max trains to become a ruthless fighter and hunts down a trail of people tied to his parents’ murder. Along the way he makes an unlikely friendship with a sharp-tongued, homeless girl named Katsy who blackmails him into giving her a place to stay. Katsy, who can talk her way out of anything, dislikes Max’s punch-first way of solving problems and offers her skillset of wit and charm to get the information he wants out of people.

 

With the assistance of Katsy and Bradford, Max gradually uncovers the truth behind his family’s assassination. But as his hunt for information intensifies, he risks becoming like the ruthless killer he’s sworn to bring to justice. He’s vowed never to take a life, but as Bradford always tells him: It’s either kill or be-killed.  

 

THE VIGILANTE is a YA action/thriller complete at 70,000 words.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.


THE VIGILANTE (YA action/thriller)

Query: http://agentquerycon...actionthriller/

Synopsis: http://agentquerycon...actionthriller/


#8 humandancer

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 03:26 AM

The Hugo family reigned as the governing power of Empire City, but it all came to a(n) fiery end when a bomb exploded in their home. (But who set the bomb, was it some kind of rebellion?)

 

After the incident twelve-year-old Maxwell Hugo awakens in the care of his bodyguard, Bradford, who managed to rescue him from the wreckage. Max is badly burned, can hardly walk, and looks nothing like himself. But the burns and scars aren’t the only change in Max's appearance--he’s been comatose for four years and is now sixteen. (Not sure that all of the information in this paragraph is necessary and you could probably condense it to one sentence to say that he looks different, and he has aged).

 

He’s also believed to be dead along with his parents.

 

Max wants his family’s killer brought to justice but can’t go to the police for risk of exposing his identity. Because if whoever was responsible for their murder finds out Max is still alive they’ll strike again. So instead, Bradford gives him the biggest ultimatum: live in hiding forever, or seek revenge.

 

Max chooses revenge.

 

With the help of Bradford, Max trains to become a ruthless fighter and hunts down a trail of people tied to his parents’ murder. Along the way he makes an unlikely friendship with a sharp-tongued, homeless girl named Katsy who blackmails him into giving her a place to stay. Katsy, who can talk her way out of anything. (She) dislikes Max’s punch-first way of solving problems and offers her skillset of wit and charm to get the information he wants out of people.

 

With the assistance of Katsy and Bradford, Max gradually uncovers the truth behind his family’s assassination. But as his hunt for information intensifies, he risks becoming like the ruthless killer he’s sworn to bring to justice. He’s vowed never to take a life, but as Bradford always tells him: It’s either kill or be-killed.  

 

THE VIGILANTE is a YA action/thriller complete at 70,000 words.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Hi,

I think this is really well-written but like the comments on my own query, I think you could maybe raise the stakes a little more – because I understand that there are people after him, but I don’t really know why. Because he was just a boy when the first killings happened, is there some wider rebellion going on, or some big secret behind it all (like did their family ruin / oppress the killers or something)? You could maybe try to get that in without giving too much away, but just give a sense of there being something behind it all.

 

Hope this helps.



#9 Lisat

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 01:21 PM

Hey everyone, below is the first draft for my second manuscript. I'd appreciate any feedback and would provide the same in return! Just let me know the title of any queries you may have.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

EDIT: UPDATED VERSION BELOW AND IN POST #7

-------------------

 

 

The Hugo family reigned as the governing power of Empire City, but it all came to a fiery end when a bomb exploded in their home. *this doesn't feel like a good enough hook, it reads like it's just the first thing to happen in your novel. 

 

After the incident twelve-year-old Maxwell Hugo awakens in the care of his bodyguard, Bradford, who managed to rescue him from the wreckage. Max is badly burned, can hardly walk, and looks nothing like himself. But the burns and scars aren’t the only change in Max's appearance--he’s been comatose for four years and is now sixteen*complicated and intense, but this explanation doesn't do the plot justice, I don't think. This is a big deal but if feels like it's being down played. This fact should be placed front and center: The explosion puts twelve-year-old Maxwell Hugo in a coma and he wakes up four years later to the care of his bodyguard....

 

He’s also believed to be dead along with his parents. *this sounds dry, like it's not important, or exciting, but someone thinking he's dead shouldn't be dull. I suggest rewording.

 

Max wants his family’s killer brought to justice comma but can’t go to the police for risk of exposing his identity. Because if whoever was responsible for their murder finds out Max is still alive comma they’ll strike again. So instead, Bradford gives him the biggest ultimatum: live in hiding forever, or seek revenge.

 

Max chooses revenge. it takes too long to get here, I'd slim down a lot of the above.

 

With the help of Bradford, Max trains to become a ruthless fighter and hunts down a trail of people tied to his parents’ murder. Along the way he makes an unlikely friendship with a sharp-tongued, homeless girl named Katsy who blackmails him into giving her a place to stay. :) I like her Katsy, who can talk her way out of anything, dislikes Max’s punch-first way of solving problems and offers her skillset of wit and charm to get the information he wants out of people.

 

With the assistance of Katsy and Bradford, Max gradually uncovers the truth behind his family’s assassination. But as his hunt for information intensifies, he risks becoming like the ruthless killer he’s sworn to bring to justice. He’s vowed never to take a life, but as Bradford always tells him: It’s either kill or be-killed.  * Great stakes - sounds like a really good book. I hope I've helped!

 

THE VIGILANTE is a YA action/thriller complete at 70,000 words.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.



#10 trickster71

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 03:03 PM

The Hugo family reigned as the governing power of Empire City, but it all came to a fiery end when a bomb exploded in their home. Stay present tense throughout the entire query. You need a snappier hook.

 

After the incident comma twelve-year-old Maxwell Hugo awakens in the care of his bodyguard, no comma Bradford, who managed to rescue him from the wreckage. Max is badly burned, can hardly walk, and looks nothing like himself. But the burns and scars aren’t the only change in Max's appearance--he’s been comatose for four years and is now sixteen. Why not start this when he wakes up and turn it into a hook?  Like:

 

When sixteen-year-old Maxwell Hugo wakes up four years after his family home was bombed, he discovers his skin is scarred, his parents are dead, and his family no longer reigns over Empire City.  (That isn't very catchy, but you get the point.  It will set up the story and you can delete a lot of the unnecessary wordage.)

 

 

 

He’s also believed to be dead along with his parents. Uh, why do peeps think this?  And if the parents are dead, who is paying Bradford the last 4 years?

 

Max wants his family’s killer brought to justice but can’t go to the police for risk of exposing his identity. Because if whoever was responsible for their murder finds out Max is still alive comma they’ll strike again. So instead, Bradford gives him the biggest ultimatum: live in hiding forever, or seek revenge.

 

Max chooses revenge.

 

With the help of Bradford, Max trains to become a ruthless fighter I thought he could barely walk and hunts down a trail of people tied to his parents’ murder. Along the way he makes an unlikely friendship with a sharp-tongued, homeless girl named Katsy who blackmails him into giving her a place to stay. Katsy, who can talk her way out of anything, dislikes Max’s punch-first way of solving problems and offers her skillset of wit and charm to get the information he wants out of people.

 

With the assistance of Katsy and Bradford, Max gradually uncovers the truth behind his family’s assassination. But as his hunt for information intensifies, he risks becoming like the ruthless killer you say prior that it is a trail of peeps tied to the murder, so you should say "killers" here. he’s sworn to bring to justice. He’s vowed never to take a life, when was this?  when he was training to be a ruthless killer? seems contradictory. but as Bradford always tells him: It’s either kill or be-killed. If Max listens so closely to Bradford's every word, he wouldn't have vowed to never take a life, right?  This sounds like a really good story.  Keep at it and good luck!

 

THE VIGILANTE is a YA action/thriller complete at 70,000 words.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Want a more in-depth critique/edit of your query, synopsis, or MS?

Contact me at:  refugeforwriters.com

 


#11 bhill010

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 08:53 PM

@humandance, Lisat, and trickster71:  Thank you so much for your comments and feedback! The biggest comment I saw was the necessity to cut the initial backstory and tighten the opening hook. I also clarified some of the confusion with the details of Max's hunt. He isn't killing the people he's tracking down for information because he doesn't want to kill anyone, but as the story goes on he finds it harder to keep that moral. 

 

I hope this new query is tighter and more engaging! And please notify me of the queries you guys are working on! =] 

 

-----------------------------------

 

When sixteen-year-old Maxwell Hugo awakens from comatose four years after his family’s home was bombed, his skin is charred, memory hazy, and his parents no longer reign over Empire City-- but that’s because they’re dead.

 

And according to public records, so is he.

 

Bradford, who worked as the Hugo’s bodyguard, managed to rescue Max from the explosion and kept him safely hidden in his personal care. Even though Max learns that the search for his parents’ killer has gone cold, he craves nothing but justice for their murder. So Bradford gives him the biggest ultimatum: live in hiding forever, or seek revenge.

 

Max chooses revenge.

 

With the help of Bradford, Max rehabilitates his body and hunts down a trail of people tied to his parents’ murder. Along the way he makes an unlikely friendship with a sharp-tongued, homeless girl named Katsy who blackmails him into giving her a place to stay. Katsy dislikes Max’s punch-first way of solving problems and instead offers a skillset of wit and charm to get the information he needs.

 

From the outset of his journey Max avoids bloodshed, but as his search for the truth intensifies he risks becoming like the ruthless killers he’s sworn to bring to justice. Slowly Max finds himself adapting Bradford’s take on life: Either kill or be-killed.  

 

THE VIGILANTE is a YA action/thriller complete at 70,000 words.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.


THE VIGILANTE (YA action/thriller)

Query: http://agentquerycon...actionthriller/

Synopsis: http://agentquerycon...actionthriller/


#12 Ireth

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 08:59 PM

 

@humandance, Lisat, and trickster71:  Thank you so much for your comments and feedback! The biggest comment I saw was the necessity to cut the initial backstory and tighten the opening hook. I also clarified some of the confusion with the details of Max's hunt. He isn't killing the people he's tracking down for information because he doesn't want to kill anyone, but as the story goes on he finds it harder to keep that moral. 

 

I hope this new query is tighter and more engaging! And please notify me of the queries you guys are working on! =] 

 

-----------------------------------

 

When sixteen-year-old Maxwell Hugo awakens from a coma four years after his family’s home was bombed, his skin is charred, memory hazy, and his parents no longer reign over Empire City-- but that’s because they’re dead. 

 

 

 

And according to public records, so is he. 

 

 

 

Bradford, who worked as the Hugo’s bodyguard, managed to rescue Max from the explosion and kept him safely hidden in his personal care. Even though Max learns that the search for his parents’ killer has gone cold, he craves nothing but justice for their murder. So Bradford gives him the biggest ultimatum: live in hiding forever, or seek revenge.

 

 

 

Max chooses revenge.

 

 

 

With the help of Bradford's help, Max rehabilitates his body and hunts down a trail of people tied to his parents’ murder. Along the way he makes an unlikely friendship with a sharp-tongued, homeless girl named Katsy who blackmails him into giving her a place to stay. Katsy dislikes Max’s punch-first way of solving problems and instead offers a skillset of wit and charm to get the information he needs.

 

 

 

From the outset of his journey Max avoids bloodshed, but as his search for the truth intensifies he risks becoming like the ruthless killers he’s sworn to bring to justice. Slowly Max finds himself adapting Bradford’s take on life: either kill or be (no hyphen) killed.  

 

 

 

THE VIGILANTE is a YA action/thriller complete at 70,000 words.

 

 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

You've got some weird spacing issues in this version, likely from how you copied and pasted it from your word processor. I'd recommend using the "paste as plain text" button (the middle of the three little clipboards) to keep things tidy.

 

If you're interested, Winter's Queen could use a look-over. Thanks!


There's too much blood in my tea system. Time to put the kettle on.

 

~~~

 

All projects except WINTER'S QUEEN are currently on hiatus until further notice. Thank you!

 

Queries:

Winter's Queen: http://agentquerycon...een-ya-fantasy/

Tenth Realm: http://agentquerycon...e-epic-fantasy/

Low Road: http://agentquerycon...orical-fantasy/

Moonhunter: http://agentquerycon...ya-xenofiction/

Song of the Sea: http://agentquerycon...sea-ya-fantasy/

My Soul to Keep: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/

Dancing On Edges: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/

Bellringer: http://agentquerycon...ringer-fantasy/

 

Hooks:

Winter's Queen: http://agentquerycon...tasy-hook-help/

Tenth Realm: http://agentquerycon...k-epic-fantasy/

Low Road: http://agentquerycon...fantasyvampire/

Moonhunter: http://agentquerycon...ya-xenofiction/

Song of the Sea: http://agentquerycon...ong-of-the-sea/

My Soul to Keep: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/

Dancing on Edges: http://agentquerycon...asy-query-hook/

 

Synopses:

Winter's Queen: http://agentquerycon...een-ya-fantasy/

Tenth Realm: http://agentquerycon...ntasy-synopsis/

Low Road: http://agentquerycon...fantasyvampire/

My Soul to Keep: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/


#13 phenomenonsense

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 11:51 PM

@humandance, Lisat, and trickster71:  Thank you so much for your comments and feedback! The biggest comment I saw was the necessity to cut the initial backstory and tighten the opening hook. I also clarified some of the confusion with the details of Max's hunt. He isn't killing the people he's tracking down for information because he doesn't want to kill anyone, but as the story goes on he finds it harder to keep that moral. 

 

I hope this new query is tighter and more engaging! And please notify me of the queries you guys are working on! =] 

 

-----------------------------------

 

When sixteen-year-old Maxwell Hugo awakens from comatose four years after his family’s home was bombed, his skin is charred, memory hazy, and his parents no longer reign over Empire City-- but that’s because they’re dead.  Feels long. Shorter punchy sentences often help play up the energy/action in the novel.

 

And according to public records, so is he.

 

Bradford, who worked as the Hugo’s bodyguard, I don't know that "the Hugo's bodyguard" is important. I would probably change it just to Max's bodyguard so as to avoid confusion and make it simple and clear. manageS Present tense to rescue Max from the explosion and keeps Present tense him safely hidden in his personal care. Even though Max learns that the search for his parents’ killer has gone cold, Personal note: How long does this take exactly? Seems like he just woke up and the search is over, for the killer of a royal family. he craves nothing but justice for their murder. So Bradford gives him the biggest ultimatum: live in hiding forever, or seek revenge. How is this the "BIGGEST" ultimatum? How is this an ultimatum in any way? I don't get it.

 

Max chooses revenge.

 

With the help of Bradford, Max rehabilitates his body and hunts down a trail of people tied to his parents’ murder. How is there a trail of people if the trail already went cold? Along the way he makes an unlikely friendship with a sharp-tongued, homeless girl named Katsy who blackmails him into giving her a place to stay. Katsy dislikes Max’s punch-first way of solving problems and instead offers a skillset of wit and charm to get the information he needs.

 

From the outset of his journey Max avoids bloodshed, but as his search for the truth intensifies he risks becoming like the ruthless killers he’s sworn to bring to justice. Slowly I most certainly wouldn't use the word "slowly" Max finds himself adapting Bradford’s take on life: Either kill or be-killed.  

 

THE VIGILANTE is a YA action/thriller Don't like "action/thriller" complete at 70,000 words.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Currently need help with:

 

Query:

http://agentquerycon...pra-na-fiction/

 

250 Words:
http://agentquerycon...ic/35773-supra/

 


#14 kvalenti

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 05:38 AM

@humandance, Lisat, and trickster71:  Thank you so much for your comments and feedback! The biggest comment I saw was the necessity to cut the initial backstory and tighten the opening hook. I also clarified some of the confusion with the details of Max's hunt. He isn't killing the people he's tracking down for information because he doesn't want to kill anyone, but as the story goes on he finds it harder to keep that moral. 

 

I hope this new query is tighter and more engaging! And please notify me of the queries you guys are working on! =] 

 

-----------------------------------

 

When sixteen-year-old Maxwell Hugo awakens from [a comacomatose four years after his family’s home was bombed, his skin is charred, [his] memory [is] hazy, and his parents no longer reign over Empire City-- but that’s because they’re dead. [not crazy about the last bit, although I can't really pin-point why that is. Perhaps you could say something like "because they are no longer alive"? I think my hang-up is that it's more powerful or more dramatic to state that they are not alive - since life is ultimately what we are - than to say they are simply dead.]

 

And according to public records, so is he. [obviously if you decide to change the phrase above, then this would be: "neither is he."]

 

Bradford, who worked as the Hugo’s [I know Hugo is a first name but I've never seen it used as a last name. I don't doubt that there might be Hugos but since it's uncommon, it does read a bit strange and gives me pause every time I see it - which is to say, it breaks with the flow of the story] bodyguard, managed to rescue Max from the explosion [it might be nice to know a bit more about this explosion] and kept him safely hidden [where?] [you need to add "and"] in his personal care [although I'm not sure that you need to have this part about "in his personal care." Is that necessary for the query - where every word counts?]. Even though Max learns that the search for his parents’ killer has gone cold, he craves nothing but justice for their murder [this is the first time we hear about this being a murder. It would be good for you to set this up earlier]. So Bradford gives him the biggest ultimatum [why does Bradford have to give him this ultimatum, why can't Max decide this on his own?]: live in hiding forever, or seek revenge.

 

Max chooses revenge. [why?]

 

With the help of Bradford, Max rehabilitates his body and hunts down the a trail of people tied to his parents’ murder. Along the way he makes an unlikely friendship with a sharp-tongued, homeless girl [be careful of presenting your character so stereotypically, Agents cringe at that] named Katsy who blackmails him into giving her a place to stay [why does she do this? How? Where are they staying that Katsy wants to be there? There's a lot here that isn't being explained. Also, is that part of the story even necessary to mention in the query?]. Katsy dislikes Max’s punch-first way of solving problems [first time we learn about this] and instead offers a skillset of wit and charm [again, this is a bit too stereotypical and makes Katsy seem like a paper person. Can you phrase this in a way that gives us a sense of who she is and how she is different from all the other sharp-tongued, witty homeless characters out there?] to get the information he needs.

 

From the outset of his journey Max avoids bloodshed [really? Even if he's a punch-first kind of guy?], but as his search for the truth intensifies he risks becoming like the ruthless killers he’s sworn to bring to justice. Slowly Max finds himself adapting Bradford’s take on life: Either kill or be-killed.  

 

THE VIGILANTE is a YA action/thriller complete at 70,000 words.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Hi! One of the things I'm learning as I get my own query critiqued is that we have a tendency to try to say too much (to try to explain the whole plot in the query). Your goal should really be to say just enough to get the Agent to want to read a few pages. That's it, you don't have to explain everything here. So, with that said, pick your most exciting points and phrase them in the most active and dynamic way. Leave everything else out. If you hook an Agent, they will eventually read the rest.

 

Good luck!


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#15 dkdufton

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 08:36 AM

Hi, this sounds like a great concept.  A few suggestions:

 

When sixteen-year-old Maxwell Hugo awakens from a coma comatose four years after his family’s home was bombed, his skin is charred, memory hazy, and his parents no longer reign over Empire City-- but that’s because they’re dead.

 

And according to public records, so is he.

 

Bradford, who worked as the Hugo’s bodyguard Bradford managed to rescue Max from the explosion and kept him safely hidden in his personal care. Even though Max learns that the search for his parents’ killer has gone cold and he craves nothing but justice for their murder. So Bradford gives him the biggest ultimatum: live in hiding forever, or seek revenge. Not sure if this is the biggest ultimatum, maybe try something else. Also, does a lot of time pass? Charred skin implies he was seriously injured and would need a lot of recovery--probably nit picky, but it was kind of in my way.

 

Max chooses revenge.

 

With the help of Bradford's help, Max rehabilitates his body and hunts down a trail of people tied to his parents’ murder. Along the way he makes an unlikely friendship with a sharp-tongued, homeless girl named Katsy who blackmails him into giving her a place to stay. Katsy dislikes Max’s punch-first way of solving problems and instead offers a skillset of wit and charm to get the information he needs.

 

From At the outset of his journey Max avoids bloodshed, but as his search for the truth intensifies he risks becoming like the ruthless killers he’s sworn to bring to justice. Slowly Max finds himself adapting to Bradford’s take on life: Either kill or be-killed.  

 

THE VIGILANTE is a YA action/thriller complete at 70,000 words.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.



#16 trickster71

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 08:59 AM

When sixteen-year-old Maxwell Hugo awakens from a comatose four years after his family’s home was bombed, his skin is charred, memory hazy, and his parents no longer reign over Empire City-- but that’s because they’re dead.

 

And according to public records, so is he. I like :)

 

Bradford, who worked as the Hugo’s bodyguard, managed to rescue Max from the explosion and kept him safely hidden in his personal care. I would start the sentence with Max instead of Bradford to keep the flow. Like:  Max learns his life-long body guard Bradford managed to resecue him from the explosion and keep him safe. Even though Max learns that the search for his parents’ killer has gone cold, he craves nothing but justice for their murder. So Bradford gives him the biggest ultimatum: live in hiding forever, or seek revenge.

The word "ultimatum" bugs me.  Idk, I would reword that.  Maybe Bradford points out his two choices:  live in hiding forever, or seek revenge.

Max chooses revenge. I like :)

 

With the help of Bradford, Max rehabilitates his body and hunts down a trail of people tied to his parents’ murder. Along the way he makes an unlikely friendship with a sharp-tongued, homeless girl named Katsy who blackmails him into giving her a place to stay. Katsy dislikes Max’s punch-first way of solving problems and instead offers a skillset of wit and charm to get the information he needs.

 

From the outset of his journey Max avoids bloodshed, but as his search for the truth intensifies he risks becoming like the ruthless killers he’s sworn to bring to justice. Slowly Max finds himself adapting Bradford’s take on life: Either kill or be-killed.

 

THE VIGILANTE is a YA action/thriller complete at 70,000 words. This query is coming along!  Yay!

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Want a more in-depth critique/edit of your query, synopsis, or MS?

Contact me at:  refugeforwriters.com

 


#17 bhill010

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 05:23 PM

@Ireth, Phenomenonsense, kvalenti, dkdufton, and trickster71: Thank you for your comments and critiques! As always I will check out any queries you want critique on, just let me know what they are! I've shortened the hook of my query and rephrased the middle-section paragraph, which all of you commented needed changing. 
 
Your feedback has been more than helpful, thank you again. Latest version below. 
 
-----------------
 
When sixteen-year-old Maxwell Hugo awakens from a four-year coma he’s hit with grave news: his home is gone. His parents were killed by a bomb. And according to public records, so was he.
 
Max learns his life-long body guard, Bradford, managed to rescue him from the wreckage and kept him hidden all these years. But now that Max is awake he craves nothing but justice for his parents’death. So he must make a choice: either live in hiding forever, or seek revenge and risk his second-chance at life.
 
He chooses revenge. 
 
Bradford helps Max rehabilitate his body and hunt down people with information about the murder. Along the way he makes an unlikely friendship with a sharp-tongued, homeless girl named Katsy who blackmails him into giving her a place to stay. Katsy dislikes Max’s punch-first way of solving problems and instead offers a skillset of wit and charm to get the information he needs.
 
At the outset of his journey Max avoids bloodshed, but as his search for the truth intensifies he risks becoming like the ruthless killer he’s sworn to bring to justice. Eventually Max finds the man who masterminded the bombing and must decide to either kill or be-killed.
 
THE VIGILANTE is a YA action/thriller complete at 70,000 words. 
 
Thank you for your time and consideration.

THE VIGILANTE (YA action/thriller)

Query: http://agentquerycon...actionthriller/

Synopsis: http://agentquerycon...actionthriller/


#18 Ireth

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 05:29 PM

 

@Ireth, Phenomenonsense, kvalenti, dkdufton, and trickster71: Thank you for your comments and critiques! As always I will check out any queries you want critique on, just let me know what they are! I've shortened the hook of my query and rephrased the middle-section paragraph, which all of you commented needed changing. 
 
Your feedback has been more than helpful, thank you again. Latest version below. 
 
-----------------
 
When sixteen-year-old Maxwell Hugo awakens from a four-year coma he’s hit with grave news: his home is gone. His parents were killed by a bomb. And according to public records, so was he.
 
Max learns his life-long body guard, Bradford, managed to rescue him from the wreckage and kept him hidden all these years. But now that Max is awake he craves nothing but justice for his parents’ death. So He must make a choice: either live in hiding forever, or seek revenge and risk his second (no hyphen) chance at life.
 
He chooses revenge. 
 
Bradford helps Max rehabilitate his body and hunt down people with information about the murder. Along the way he makes an unlikely friendship with a sharp-tongued, homeless girl named Katsy(comma) who blackmails him into giving her a place to stay. Katsy dislikes Max’s punch-first way of solving problems and instead offers a skillset of wit and charm to get the information he needs.
 
At the outset of his journey Max avoids bloodshed, but as his search for the truth intensifies he risks becoming like the ruthless killer he’s sworn to bring to justice. Eventually When Max finds the man who masterminded the bombing(comma) and he must decide to either kill or be (no hyphen) killed.
 
THE VIGILANTE is a YA action/thriller complete at 70,000 words. 
 
Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

This is much better! I'm not sure about the very last sentence, since it seems to give away the climax of the novel. But it works to show the stakes and the choice Max has to make, so it's your call if you keep it or cut it.

 

PS - Winter's Queen (both synopsis and query) could do with a read if you have the time. I posted the latest revisions today.


There's too much blood in my tea system. Time to put the kettle on.

 

~~~

 

All projects except WINTER'S QUEEN are currently on hiatus until further notice. Thank you!

 

Queries:

Winter's Queen: http://agentquerycon...een-ya-fantasy/

Tenth Realm: http://agentquerycon...e-epic-fantasy/

Low Road: http://agentquerycon...orical-fantasy/

Moonhunter: http://agentquerycon...ya-xenofiction/

Song of the Sea: http://agentquerycon...sea-ya-fantasy/

My Soul to Keep: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/

Dancing On Edges: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/

Bellringer: http://agentquerycon...ringer-fantasy/

 

Hooks:

Winter's Queen: http://agentquerycon...tasy-hook-help/

Tenth Realm: http://agentquerycon...k-epic-fantasy/

Low Road: http://agentquerycon...fantasyvampire/

Moonhunter: http://agentquerycon...ya-xenofiction/

Song of the Sea: http://agentquerycon...ong-of-the-sea/

My Soul to Keep: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/

Dancing on Edges: http://agentquerycon...asy-query-hook/

 

Synopses:

Winter's Queen: http://agentquerycon...een-ya-fantasy/

Tenth Realm: http://agentquerycon...ntasy-synopsis/

Low Road: http://agentquerycon...fantasyvampire/

My Soul to Keep: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/


#19 Selene Bell

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 09:12 PM

Hi! This is going to sound strange but I've been giving your story here and your query a lot of thought for the past couple of days. Your plot sounds really interesting and I like the way you write, but I keep trying to put my finger on what exactly it is that keeps nagging at me. Am I accurate in thinking that your basic story setup is that in his quest for revenge, Max is pulled between Bradford's bloody ways and Katsy's crafty, nonviolent ways, and the big question is whether he'll go so far that he becomes as bad as his parents' killers?

 

 

When sixteen-year-old Maxwell Hugo awakens from comatose a coma four years after his family’s home was bombed, his skin is charred (agree with the above commenter. Four years later, his skin would be scarred, not charred, if it was a bomb like we know), memory hazy, and his parents no longer reign over Empire City-- (extra space here) but that’s because they’re dead.

 

And according to public records, so is he. (<<I really thought that was cool!)

 

Bradford, who worked as the Hugo’s Hugos' bodyguard, managed to rescue Max from the explosion and kept him safely hidden in his personal care. Even though Max learns that the search for his parents’ killer has gone cold, he craves nothing but justice for their murder. So Bradford gives him the biggest ultimatum: live in hiding forever, or seek revenge.

 

I think the problem I have here is when you just said he craves nothing but justice, setting up this big ultimatum is kind of false choice. There is really no choice because of that craving. The wording sounds good and this next line is awesome, and it requires setup. But this setup isn't the issue you're making it up to be. If you agree, the next question is how to fix it. I'd suggest something like this:

 

Max learns the search for his parents' killers has gone cold. Bradford says he can rehabilitate Max and teach him to hunt the evil-doers, or Max can melt into the population and not have to deal with the pressure of royal life ever again.

 

If you're going to make it a choice, I'd make it a real choice for your character. Give him something good about not going that route -- which could help to round out your character -- and don't give away his decision before the choice is presented. Also, not using revenge in this part gives more weight and seems starker when you use the word in this next sentence.

 

Max chooses revenge.

 

(The start of this might need changed, obviously, if you make a change above.)

With the help of Bradford, Max rehabilitates his body and hunts down a trail of people tied to his parents’ murder.   Along the way (I'm not a fan of using this wording in a query. It makes the event or whatever sound coincidental or "oh by the way," instead of being the carefully thought-out plot development you've put in your MS for a very good reason. I'd delete it.)  he makes an unlikely friendship with a sharp-tongued, homeless girl named Katsy who blackmails him into giving her a place to stay. Katsy dislikes Max’s punch-first way of solving problems and instead offers a skillset of wit and charm to get the information he needs. (I don't personally find her description cliché, although I'm sure agents have read "unlikely friendship" thousands of times in queries. Is her name too cute? I don't think there's a right answer to this question.)

 

From the outset of his journey Max avoids bloodshed, (agree with the commenter who said this doesn't match his punch-first way above) but as his search for the truth intensifies he risks becoming like the ruthless killers he’s sworn to bring to justice. Slowly Max finds himself adapting Bradford’s take on life: Either kill or be-killed.

 

This last sentence reads more like it belongs in the previous paragraph talking about his hunt with Bradford. As a last line, it seems to negate the chance for soul searching brought up by Katsy's character. What's the point of her if he's just going to embrace kill or be killed? (Or if you tell us he is?) And it also seems to say that the risks in the sentence just before it ultimately don't matter to him. I'm a little unclear on what the big stakes are -- that he'll become as evil as the killers? That he'll be killed? That he'll lose his new friends? I think if you can clarify that, this whole final paragraph will have more focus. It's like right now, you give his answer, when ideally I think you want to leave the reader wanting to read the book to find out that answer.

 

 

THE VIGILANTE is a YA action/thriller complete at 70,000 words.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

After saying all that, though, I will say the hardest thing I found about going through the query process on this site was deciding which advice, though smart enough and well-intentioned, didn't work for me and my writing style. So, if you feel the urge to discard any of this, please do! Good luck! Again, your story sounds really interesting!


Confessions of a Binge Reader -- www.selene-bell.com -- for query tips, book recommendations and other interesting minutia

 

@selene_bell


#20 kvalenti

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 06:20 AM

 

@Ireth, Phenomenonsense, kvalenti, dkdufton, and trickster71: Thank you for your comments and critiques! As always I will check out any queries you want critique on, just let me know what they are! I've shortened the hook of my query and rephrased the middle-section paragraph, which all of you commented needed changing. 
 
Your feedback has been more than helpful, thank you again. Latest version below. 
 
-----------------
 
When sixteen-year-old Maxwell Hugo awakens from a four-year coma he’s hit with grave news: ["devastated to learn that" I think it's good to infuse this with some emotion] his home is gone. [insert comma] His parents were killed by a bomb. [insert comma] And according to public records, ["he is a dead man" I feel like this is a bit more punchy]. so was he.
 
Max learns his life-long body guard, Bradford, managed to rescue him from the wreckage and kept him hidden all these years. [is it relevant to know why he had to be in hiding?] But now that Max is awake he craves nothing but justice for his parents’death. So he must make a choice: either live in hiding forever, or seek revenge and risk his second-chance at life. [I still don't see this as a real choice. Why does he have to stay in hiding? Why can't he just forgive and move on with his life? For his choice to be meaningful, there have to be big stakes on either side. I'm sure there are, but I just don't know what they are based on what you've said so far.]
 
He chooses revenge. 
 
Bradford helps Max rehabilitate his body [no need to state the obvious] and hunt down ["track down" hunt down is more like what he's going to do to the people he wants to get revenge on] people with information about the murder. [this sentence is fine but I feel like it could be more. Who are these people? Are they hard to find? Is there anything interesting about them?] Along the way he makes an unlikely friendship [why is it unlikely? do you need to even mention that in your query? Remember, every word should have a purpose] with a sharp-tongued, homeless girl named Katsy who blackmails him into giving her a place to stay. Katsy dislikes ["disagrees"?] Max’s punch-first way of solving problems and instead offers a skillset of wit and charm to ["help him"] get the information he needs. [question: why does he even care about K's opinion? Also, is he not having success using his own punch-first way of solving problems? Why not?]
 
At the outset of his journey Max avoids bloodshed [why? this seems like an important part of who he is and why the choice he makes is so hard. Also, I have a hard time buying this since you mention that he is a punch-first kind of guy.], but as his search for the truth intensifies he risks becoming like the ruthless killer he’s sworn to bring to justice. Eventually Max finds the man who masterminded the bombing and must decide to either kill or be-killed.
 
THE VIGILANTE is a YA action/thriller complete at 70,000 words. 
 
Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

This reads much better! It's a lot more concise and organized. The sentences you chose all add to the plot line and move it forward. Seriously, nice job.

PS - my query, SEVEN, is in need of work as well. If you have a moment to spare, I'd love your input.


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