Saturday, June 3, 2017

The Saturday Slash

Meet my Hatchet of Death (or, some other colorful description RC Lewis and I come up with at any given moment). This is how I edit myself, it is how I edit others. If you think you want to play with me and my hatchet, shoot us an email.

We all know the first line of a query is your "hook." I call the last line the "sinker." You want it to punch them in the face, in a nice, friendly kind of way that makes them unable to forget you after having read the 300 other queries in their inbox.

If you're looking for query advice, but are slightly intimidated by my claws, blade, or just my rolling googly-eyes, check out the query critique boards over at AgentQueryConnect. This is where I got my start, with advice from people smarter than me. Don't be afraid to ask for help with the most critical first step of your writing journey - the query. My comments appear in green.  

Please consider representing my speculative thriller, Song of the Forest. Complete at 88,000 words, it appeals to fans of Kat Richardson, Kelly Armstrong, and Charlaine Harris. Cool comps, but sometimes using big names can backfire because a lot of other queries may be using them too - as long as it's accurate, that's great. Just be sure it is.

Serial killer Karl Marsburg held gifted later on in the query it becomes clear that by gifted you mean something other than that she's good at her job. It changes he nature of the genre, so I'd make it clear earlier that you mean psychic abilities. NYPD detective Ellen Pijiw captive for three days. He tortured her and told her his plans for future crimes that he wanted to commit with her by his side. He had planned to keep her permanently – to make her into his companion, so he could use her mind reading abilities to attain more victims, but she was rescued by her friends in the NYPD before he finished "changing" her into a monster like him.

Three years later, Elle is finally starting to win a long battle with depression and PTSD. She’s returned to her small hometown in the middle of Maine where she works as a reporter for her uncle’s small newspaper. She is in love with her best friend, Deputy Camille Desjardins, but is afraid of being anything more than friends that because of what Marsburg did to her. What do you mean by this, specifically? Because she's afraid maybe he actually did change her in a fundamental way, or is this still a PTSD issue?

When the children of women who are Marsburg’s “type” the women are the type or the children are the type? start disappearing from The County, not caps the sheriff calls on Elle to use her abilities to find them the missing people. As she finds herself working side by side with Cam, it becomes difficult to deny her feelings for him. Okay, I totally thought Camille was a chick. The problem is, every touch carries the threat of a flash back. Marsburg’s return not only offers Elle a chance at revenge, but an opportunity to heal wounds that never closed.

Elle’s disabilities are partially based off my own experience with depression and social anxiety. Her struggle with PTSD was drawn from research and my experience with a minor case of PTSD caused by a car accident. I was the second place winner of Women on Writing’s Winter 2016 Flash Fiction Contest. My speculative, short fiction has been published in Secrets of the Goat People, Helios Quarterly,  Dark Magic: Witches, Hackers and Robots, and Theme of Absence.

Nice, good bio. Overall, this is strong. I would say that we need to know more about what Elle's specific abilities are, and how she is using them to aide in the investigation. Also, does she feel that Marsbrug is targeting her, or is it simply a case of him popping up in the same place as she is?

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