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SECRETS THE DEAD KEEP - YA Psych Thriller - Will crit back :)


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#1 perpetual

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Posted 04 February 2019 - 03:17 PM

Hey all! Thanks in advance for your help.
If you post a link to your query, I will crit back!


Dear Agent,
 

Mackenzie Oden's body was pulled out of the Hudson last night.

 

That's the news high school senior Rose Morton gets the day she and nine friends leave to spend a week in a castle nestled in the French countryside. When they arrive, the ten find an envelope on each of their beds. Inside, a note reads: Welcome to France, where all your secrets follow you. Whose will come out first?

 

Rose assures the group it's likely nothing more than prank, but another envelope arrives later that evening. Envelope after envelope exposes everyone's skeletons: sabotage, drugs, blackmail. Distrust festers in the cracks between the group, but Rose is determined to be the mortar that keeps them together. Ten years of history and friendship can't go to waste in a few days. They just can't.

Then the latest note reads, Mackenzie Oden was murdered. Those four words are a dangerous shift—Mackenzie discovered Rose's secret. If the envelopes keep coming, it'll soon be clear Rose had the perfect motive to silence Mackenzie. Rose needs to get ahead of the ever blurry end-play, or else risk being framed for murder, with no friends to back her innocence.

 

SECRETS THE DEAD KEEP is an 80,000 word YA psychological thriller with an unreliable narrator. It's Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None meets Gossip Girl. It would appeal to fans of the morally grey characters in Kara Thomas’ Little Monsters. Thank you for your consideration.


Would love your feedback on my query: Click here.

 


#2 ScarlettLeigh

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Posted 04 February 2019 - 04:10 PM

High school senior Rose Morton's spring recess (Spring break, I think is the more common term?) plans for a week with nine friends in a castle nestled in the French countryside loses its appeal when another friend, Mackenzie Oden, drowns in the Hudson. (Nice hook!) Rose wants to cancel, but Mackenzie's cousin insists he needs this trip now more than ever. When the group arrivesthey each find an envelope on their beds. (Suggested rewording to condense and clarify who "they" is referring to) Inside, a note reads: Welcome to France, where all your secrets follow you. Whose will come out first? (Love this!)

 

Another envelope arrives later that evening, (I wonder if there's a way to show this around Rose taking an action? I wouldn't mind seeing how she reacts to the first letter before more show up. Otherwise, she runs the risk of coming across as passive) and the secrets begin coming to light: sabotage, drugs, blackmail. With each exposed truth, distrust festers in the cracks between the group. Rose scrambles to remind everyone of their ten years of history and friendship, unable to deal with the loss of another friend. 

 

Then the latest note reads, Mackenzie Oden was murdered. To Rose, those four words are a personal attack. Mackenzie knew Rose’s secret. Nice complicating action!) If the envelopes keep coming, it'll soon become clear just how much Rose had to gain from Mackenzie's death. Rose needs to get ahead of the end-play, or else risk being framed for murder, with no friends to back her innocence. (Love the hints of unreliable narrator coming through here!)

 

SECRETS THE DEAD KEEP is an 80,000 word YA psychological thriller with an unreliable narrator. It's Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None meets Gossip Girl. It would appeal to fans of the morally grey characters in Kara Thomas’ Little Monsters. Thank you for your consideration. Really cool!

 

I think this is already really good. The one thing I think you could stand to really punch up is what action Rose takes. As it stands, it sounds like much of the plot is her waiting for letters to show up, but what's she actually doing about them besides trying to keep her friends from arguing? Without a sense of Rose's plan, she's coming across as a bit passive here. Overall though, I would definitely pick this up!

 

If you get the chance to take a look, my query is BY VIRTUE FALL :)



#3 Nessa

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Posted 04 February 2019 - 04:50 PM

Dear Agent,

 

High school senior Rose Morton's spring recess plans for a week with nine friends in a castle nestled in the French countryside loses its appeal when another friend, Mackenzie Oden, drowns in the Hudson.[I like the concept, but the sentence runs long, especially in the beginning.] Rose wants to cancel, but Mackenzie's cousin insists he needs this trip now more than ever.[Could add a small mention about why he needs it, assumedly to pay respect to his cousin. Or does he suspect foul play and wants to investigate?] When they arrive, the ten find an envelope on each of their beds. Inside, a note reads: Welcome to France, where all your secrets follow you. Whose will come out first? [Oooh. I like where this is leading.]

Another envelope arrives later that evening,[Where? On each other their beds?] and the secrets begin coming to light: sabotage, drugs, blackmail.[Each letter has a secret in it?] With each exposed truth, distrust festers in the cracks between the group. Rose scrambles to remind everyone of their ten years of history and friendship, unable to deal with the loss of another friend.[This loses some of the tension/emotion for me. Try rewording.]

Then the latest note ["the latest note" feels strange. Is this the first note that implicates Rose?]reads, Mackenzie Oden was murdered. To Rose, those four words are a personal attack.[This sentence kills the tension. Don't explicitly say they're a personal attack.] Mackenzie knew Rose’s secret. If the envelopes keep coming, it'll soon become clear just how much Rose had to gain from Mackenzie's death. Rose needs to get ahead of the end-play, or else risk being framed for murder, with no friends to back her innocence. [I love this concept, but I think this paragraph needs the most work of the query. Be less explicit in saying that Rose has something to gain from Mackenzie's murder. Is there a particular note that causes the friends to suspect Rose? If you hint at Rose being more invested in proving herself innocent than discovering who killed Mackenzie, you'll guide the reader into realizing Rose is unreliable.]

SECRETS THE DEAD KEEP is an 80,000 word YA psychological thriller with an unreliable narrator.[YES!! I love this.] It's Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None meets Gossip Girl.[Interesting.] It would appeal to fans of the morally grey characters in Kara Thomas’ Little Monsters. Thank you for your consideration.



#4 IMB

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Posted 04 February 2019 - 05:03 PM

Don't be scared by all the red, I tend to write a lot!

 

Hey all! Thanks in advance for your help.
If you post a link to your query, I will crit back!


Dear Agent,

High school senior Rose Morton's spring recess plans for a week with nine friends in a castle nestled in the French countryside loses its appeal when another friend, Mackenzie Oden, drowns in the Hudson. (Is this first sentence supposed to be so comically long? I think there's a better way to phrase this that'll make the reading less monotoned. Construction aside, nice start.) Rose wants to cancel, but Mackenzie's cousin insists he needs this trip now more than ever. When they arrive, the ten find an envelope on each of their beds. (When you put 'the ten', I got a little confused, and I had to re-read the first phrase, because for a moment I had the impression Mackenzie was going on the trip with them - which would mean without her they are at nine. I get now that she was never going on the trip, but it distracted me. It might be better to generalize this to 'the group' or 'each person', or something like that, so you don't get us thinking about numbers again.) Inside, a note reads: Welcome to France, where all your secrets follow you. Whose will come out first?  (Very Gossip Girl-like, and classic thriller hook, and I kinda love it. Nice vibe.)

Another envelope arrives later that evening, and the secrets begin coming to light: sabotage, drugs, blackmail. With each exposed truth, distrust festers in the cracks between the group. Rose scrambles to remind everyone of their ten years of history and friendship, unable to deal with the loss of another friend. (Maybe generalize this a bit more too? Because 'another friend' makes it seem like someone else is about to die, rather than her group breaking up.)

Then the latest note reads, Mackenzie Oden was murdered. To Rose, those four words are a personal attack. Mackenzie knew Rose’s secret. If the envelopes keep coming, it'll soon become clear just how much Rose had to gain from Mackenzie's death. Rose needs to get ahead of the end-play, or else risk being framed for murder, with no friends to back her innocence. (Nice! Great stakes, and exciting, and that's exactly what you want.)

SECRETS THE DEAD KEEP is an 80,000 word YA psychological thriller with an unreliable narrator. It's Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None meets Gossip Girl. It would appeal to fans of the morally grey characters in Kara Thomas’ Little Monsters. Thank you for your consideration.

 

You have a really strong base here! Your biggest problem to me is just wording, and that's really easy to fix! I'm very selective with thrillers and mysteries (I'm more of a SFF person), but I'd definitely read this.

 

And if you do have the time, the link to my query is down there in my signature!


Current Query (YA Science Fiction): http://agentquerycon...cience-fiction/

Any feedback is appreciated :)


#5 perpetual

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 05:49 PM

Thank you everyone for your help! New draft posted above. Would love more feedback :)

Would love your feedback on my query: Click here.

 


#6 beccamae

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 11:12 PM

Hi thank you for your help on my query. Here's some thoughts on yours:

 

Dear Agent,
 

Mackenzie Oden's body was pulled out of the Hudson last night.

 

That's the news high school senior Rose Morton gets the day she and nine other friends are meant to leave for a week in a castle nestled in the French countryside. This sentence is hard to digest. I feel like I'm struggling for placement. What about "The day Rose Morton and nine friends leave for a week at a French castle, they learn Mackenzie Oden's body was pulled out of the Hudson last night"? She wants to cancel and mourn in secret, but Mackenzie's cousin insists s?he needs this trip now more than ever. When they arrive, the ten find an envelope on each of their beds. Inside, a note reads: Welcome to France, where all your secrets follow you. Whose will come out first?

 

Rose attempts to reassure everyone this is likely a prank, but another envelope arrives later that evening. One envelope after another, the secrets begin coming to light: sabotage, drugs, blackmail. I think some details would help us link emotionally with this With each exposed truth, distrust festers in the cracks between the group. With Mackenzie gone, Rose is fully aware she'll have no friends left unless she salvages the group's ten years of history.

 

Then the latest note reads, Mackenzie Oden was murdered. Those four words are a dangerous shift for Rose—Mackenzie knew her secret. If the envelopes keep coming, it'll soon be clear how much Rose had to gain from Mackenzie's death. Rose needs to get ahead of the ever blurry end-play, or else risk being framed for murder, with no friends to back her innocence.

 

SECRETS THE DEAD KEEP is an 80,000 word YA psychological thriller with an unreliable narrator. It's Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None meets Gossip Girl. It would appeal to fans of the morally grey characters in Kara Thomas’ Little Monsters. Thank you for your consideration.

 

This is really to the point and has good pacing. The only part that slowed me down was the second paragraph. I think one or two strong details here would help keep us in the story. The list begins to pull us out.



#7 beccamae

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 11:13 PM

Sorry, something didn't come out blue in paragrph one: This sentence is hard to digest. I feel like I'm struggling for placement. What about "The day Rose Morton and nine friends leave for a week at a French castle, they learn Mackenzie Oden's body was pulled out of the Hudson last night"? 



#8 IMB

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Posted 07 February 2019 - 08:56 AM

I wrote a lot, so don't be scared by all the red!

 

Hey all! Thanks in advance for your help.
If you post a link to your query, I will crit back!


Dear Agent,
 

Mackenzie Oden's body was pulled out of the Hudson last night. (This is a lot better already. Talk about setting the mood!)

 

That's the news high school senior Rose Morton gets the day she and nine other friends are meant to leave for a week in a castle nestled in the French countryside. (This is still running awkwardly long, but I think you can fix it with a comma. One suggestion would be 'That's the news hight school senior Rose Morton gets(,) the day she and nine other friends are meant to leave... etc'. And if you don't want commas ,try to think of ways to summarize the sentence, like using just 'for a week in a French castle.' that removes 4 words already.) She wants to cancel and mourn in secret (mourn in secret? Were they in a relationship? was she secretly in love with Mackenzie? Honestly, you could remove the in secret part, or substitute it with 'mourn the loss of her friend', and the paragraph would be just as strong.), but Mackenzie's cousin insists he needs this trip now more than ever. When they arrive, the ten find an envelope on each of their beds. Inside, a note reads: Welcome to France, where all your secrets follow you. Whose will come out first? (I still love this.)

 

Rose attempts to reassure everyone this is likely a prank, but another envelope arrives later that evening. (Nice, getting Rose in the spotlight. Great improvement.) One envelope after another, the secrets begin coming to light: sabotage, drugs, blackmail. With each exposed truth, distrust festers in the cracks between the group. With Mackenzie gone, Rose is fully aware she'll have no friends left unless she salvages the group's ten years of history. (I like this paragraph. It's to the point, and doesn't run too long. It tells me just what I need to know.)

 

Then the latest note reads, Mackenzie Oden was murdered. Those four words are a dangerous shift for Rose—Mackenzie knew her secret. (This is a lot better too. Reads way nicer than 'a personal atack'. Good work!) If the envelopes keep coming, it'll soon be clear how much Rose had to gain from Mackenzie's death. Rose needs to get ahead of the ever blurry end-play, or else risk being framed for murder, with no friends to back her innocence.

 

SECRETS THE DEAD KEEP is an 80,000 word YA psychological thriller with an unreliable narrator. It's Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None meets Gossip Girl. It would appeal to fans of the morally grey characters in Kara Thomas’ Little Monsters. Thank you for your consideration.

 

I still like this a lot. I'm starting to think I might not be the best person to critique it, since I'm feeling biased towards the story, but I do think you have a really strong query! I almost think it'd be okay for you to start sending out a few, testing the waters!

 

also, I have a new revision out too, if you wouldn't mind checking it out.


Current Query (YA Science Fiction): http://agentquerycon...cience-fiction/

Any feedback is appreciated :)


#9 smithgirl

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Posted 15 February 2019 - 03:54 PM

Dear Agent,
 

Mackenzie Oden's body was pulled out of the Hudson last night.

 

This is not a traditional hook. It's also not traditional to use italics like this. Some people seem to like it so far, and it does set the mood. Just be aware you're breaking a bit with convention.

 

That's the news high school senior Rose Morton gets the day she and nine friends leave to spend a week in a castle nestled in the French countryside. When they arrive, the next day, they each ten find an envelope on each of their beds. In every case, Inside, a note reads: Welcome to France, where all your secrets follow you. Whose will come out first?

 

 

Do they learn the Mackenzie news the same day as they arrive and find the notes? I'm unclear if these things happen on the same day. Also, does Rose know Mackenzie? Why does Rose care if Mackenzie was killed in the Hudson? You need to clarify Mackenzie's relationship to Rose and the other girls.

 

Rose assures the group it's likely nothing more than a prank, but more another envelopes, again each with a single message, arrives later that evening. Doesn't each person get an envelope? So that would be more instead of another. Envelope after envelope exposes everyone's skeletons: sabotage, drugs, blackmail. Distrust festers in the cracks between the group, but Rose is determined to be the mortar that keeps them together. Ten years of history and friendship can't go to waste in a few days. They just can't.

 

I'm unclear regarding the logistics of the envelopes. I think this would be an easy thing to clarify; I made a suggestion above.

 

 

Then the latest note reads, Mackenzie Oden was murdered. We still don't know who Mackenzie is to these ten girls. Those four words are a dangerous shift—Rose realizes Mackenzie must have discovered her Rose's secret. What? Is that in the note, too? Or does Rose deduce the secret part from Mackenzie being murdered? If the envelopes keep coming, it'll soon be clear Rose had the perfect motive to silence Mackenzie. Rose needs to get ahead of the ever blurry endgame I think you mean endgame., or else risk being framed for murder, with no friends left to back her innocence.

 

SECRETS THE DEAD KEEP is an 80,000-word YA psychological thriller with an unreliable narrator. It's Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None meets Gossip Girl. It would appeal to fans of the morally grey characters in Kara Thomas’ Little Monsters. Thank you for your consideration.

 

 

I think this is a nice query. I'm unclear on some of the logistics, which I marked in the body of the query. I also think you need to clarify why any of these girls would care about the death of this other girl, Mackenzie. You start out with a body being found, then you never clarify how this dead person is related to the rest of the girls. Was she a another student in their class? Was she a friend? Is she someone's mother? A neighbor? 

 

I think these are all easy fixes, and your query is already in good shape. Can you please review my query when you get a chance? Thanks! http://agentquerycon...title-redacted/



#10 Joseph Isaacs

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Posted 26 February 2019 - 09:56 AM

Hey all! Thanks in advance for your help.
If you post a link to your query, I will crit back!


Dear Agent,
 

Mackenzie Oden's body was pulled out of the Hudson last night. good hook

 

That's the news high school senior Rose Morton gets the day she and nine friends leave to spend a week in a castle nestled in the French countryside. When they arrive, the ten the ten? you lost me here ? word missing? find an envelope on each of their beds. Inside, a note reads: Welcome to France, where all your secrets follow you. Whose will come out first? this seems to me a bit odd. a mix of friendly and menacing in a sort of confusing way. Also not everyone who comes to France can expect this :-) hence suggested edit

 

Rose assures the group it's likely nothing more than prank, but another envelope arrives later that evening. Envelope after envelope exposes everyone's skeletons: sabotage, drugs, blackmail. great Distrust festers in the cracks between the group, but Rose is determined to be the mortar that keeps them together. good Ten years of history and friendship can't go to waste in a few days. They just can't.

Then the latest note reads, Mackenzie Oden was murdered. Those four words are a dangerous shift—Mackenzie discovered Rose's secret. If the envelopes keep coming, it'll soon be clear Rose had the perfect motive to silence Mackenzie.if all the other secrets had been coming why woudln't she have foreseen this?  Rose needs to get ahead of the ever blurry end-play, or else risk being framed for murder, with no friends to back her innocence. sounds cool

 

SECRETS THE DEAD KEEP is an 80,000 word YA psychological thriller with anunds cool unreliable narrator. It's Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None meets Gossip Girl. nice It would appeal to fans of the morally grey characters in Kara Thomas’ Little Monsters. Thank you for your consideration.Hi mine is soul hosts for the return crit, thanks!






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