TITLE: Brake Fluid, Blood and Body Bags
GENRE: YA Contemporary
No one who rides with Triss is ever in control, but calling shotgun means I get the best view of whatever chaos she’s driving straight into. When you sit up front, you share responsibility when things go wrong, but I don’t mind. I’d do anything for Triss.
Like today I’m helping her dump a body. Jackson’s body, her betting partner in their twisted game of manipulation. The only thing better than an unsupervised party where you can dance, drink and screw, is betting on who’s gonna get wasted and do something stupid. We just didn’t figure on anyone getting dead. Now, between Triss’ broken-down car, her crazy divorced parents, and the fact that we’re just a couple of dumb, broke kids who know nothing about corpse disposal, getting rid of Jackson keeps getting more complicated. Especially since I don’t know how much of it is my fault.
Sure, it wasn’t me who swung the Louisville Slugger that split his head open, but I was one of the main players at the game six months back when this whole thing started. By the end of the night, Triss won five-hundred bucks, Jackson cracked her jaw with his fist, and she stabbed him in the gut with a butter knife. It was a party. Things happen. But people aren’t like cards or poker chips. They have baggage. They get angry. They want revenge.
And now Triss and I have to clean up the mess before his parents get home.
Brake Fluid, Blood and Body Bags is a 60,000 words Contemporary YA which hops between three timelines: the present, the night Jackson died, and the party six months earlier.
No. Unfortunately, I was thrown off by the query being in the main character's point of view.ReplyDelete
Do not ever write a query in first person; it's a pet peeve among most agents.
NO. This didn't sound like a query to me, it sounded like a page from your manuscript in your protagonist's POV.ReplyDelete
No. The first-person present tense makes this read like back story instead of what's to come.ReplyDelete
NO. Agents typically don't like queries in the voice of the MC.ReplyDelete
No. A query needs to be more descriptive of what to expect in the book. This is too much like simply a section of the book.ReplyDelete
Yes. Reservations about a story of two kids disposing of a body, but I LOVED the voice.ReplyDelete
No. I like the info but not how it's conveyed in first person.ReplyDelete
I am open to nontraditional approaches in conveying the pitch, but this one doesn't work for me. I get lost in the first person account here, it doesn't pull me in.
NO. I didn't mind the unconventional first person POV, but this felt like an inciting incident, not the story.ReplyDelete
No. The query style was offputting, but more than that I was just confused about what's actually going on. Am I right that Jackson died SIX MONTHS AGO, and they're still trying to properly dispose of the body? doesn't it, you know, smell?ReplyDelete
No. For all the reasons stated above.ReplyDelete
No, per above, I quit reading as soon as I saw it was written in first person.ReplyDelete
No. I didn't care for the 1st person and it was a bit much for me.ReplyDelete
No, like others said, the first person threw me off. I thought I was reading the first chapter of your book.ReplyDelete
Yes, despite the query letter being bad, I'd want to see the first few pages. The concept sounds good. The query letter though, is very bad, for all the above reasons.ReplyDelete
No, this sounds like a prologue, and not one that would entice me to keep reading.ReplyDelete
Yes, only because I like the voice. I had to stop and skim down to see if this was actually a query and not the opening of your book.ReplyDelete
I likewise thought I was reading from the manuscript and the idea of going on a ride with such morally bankrupt characters and their idea of 'fun' is impossible to imagine.
NO, the first person POV didn't work for the query.ReplyDelete
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
I couldn't get past the 1st person POV to see what the story was about
No. This is written in the voice of a character I detest almost immediately.ReplyDelete
NO. Sounds like a cut and paste out of the manuscript.ReplyDelete
No. Everything I've read/heard says that you can break the rules (in this case, writing it in 1st person) if you do it really well, but I don't think that's the case here; seems like you have a solid story, and I think that writing this in 3rd person will give you a better chance of success (i.e. don't get rejected one sentence in because you use the word "I.")ReplyDelete
No. Because the query was written in first person, I spent half the time wondering if this was actually the first page (and the other half thinking that first-person queries almost never work).ReplyDelete
No. Query didn't work for me and I had to reread to figure out Triss was a girl.ReplyDelete
However, I'm intrigued by the idea you could make an unlikable protag likable. The q reminds me of a dark 'weekend at bernie's' which I did not like but if you can pull off engaging a reader's sympathies for a bunch of murderous, stupid teens, go for it.
No. It read like a page from the book, not a query.ReplyDelete
No. I think I might have liked it, but I'm in the camp that first person POV is never a good idea for a query.ReplyDelete
No. Not a fan of the first person POV, and I couldn't see any way to make the characters likeable.ReplyDelete
No. Never write a query from the POV of your protagonist.ReplyDelete
No - only because this felt like the actual book rather than a query to pitch the book.ReplyDelete
No. Don't mind the first person, but I really never cared about the protagonist and didn't see why he would go so far to help Triss.ReplyDelete
YES. I was thrown off by the first person POV, but loved the voice and wanted to read more.ReplyDelete
No. The premises sounds interesting, but the first person narrative doesn't work. If the voice carried through to third, maybe.ReplyDelete
I liked the voice and the hot mess of a situation, there, but the issue with the first-person POV is that I left knowing absolutely nothing about the MC--the story seems all about Triss and the MC is superfluous to that.
YES. True, the POV threw me, but this query accomplished what it was supposed to. It told the plot. And the plot is really different. I'd want to read a few pages and see if your MC can win me over.ReplyDelete
Sounds like a pretty gruesome story, and I don't get the impression that I'd want to read about these characters.
Yes. First person, violence and dead body aside, it sounds like an interesting tale in dark YA fiction.ReplyDelete
YES. I really liked the voice of this though I did think Triss was female until the end and it might be a bit too adult for YA. I'd want to read it.ReplyDelete
No. The POV just doesn't work. The voice is pretty good, but there's nothing about the plot that makes me want to read the story. Plus, you forgot the serial comma after Blood!ReplyDelete
No- POV is uncomfortable and it feels too over the top for YA.ReplyDelete
Hate a query from a character's POV, and this one sounds like either an airhead or a girl who needs to be smacked upside the head a few times. This is a body disposal, not a road trip. If there'd been some hook in how the guy died that'd be one thing, but it doesn't sound like any more than a bunch of drunk, stupid kids.
No. Lost me after the first paragraph.ReplyDelete
Yes. Strong voice evident.ReplyDelete
No. The concept sounds interesting but the delivery in first person throws me off.ReplyDelete
NO, despite the strong voice and 'helping dump a body' (which I liked), 1st person was off-putting and the conflict you left me with after a MURDER was 'will the parents find out?'ReplyDelete
NO. Per above. Also, some of the mc's comments struck me as "adult trying to sound like a teen."ReplyDelete
Yes. I didn't think the query itself was great, but the plot sounded really interesting to me. I'd read a bit to see if I liked it.ReplyDelete
I thought for a second I was reading the first 250 words, not a query -- with a reformat/hook maybe but generally "badass kids being bad" isn't my thing. Also be aware: the MC of the Divergent triology is Tris, and that's the first thing I thought of when your MC mentioned Triss (which is hardly a common name).
No - the first person query throws me, and I'm also not really sure what this book is about. The three timelines make me a little nervous.ReplyDelete
No. I'm a avid YA reader, but I think this crosses the line.ReplyDelete
Yes. Despite the fact that it reads more like a sample than a query, that the characters sound amoral, and that my son's name is Tris (well, Tristan), the query did its job in getting me to want to read on. So it worked, despite the flaws.ReplyDelete
No. That the author breaks the "no first-person in a query" rule makes me think he or she is inexperienced OR someone who thinks rules don't apply to him/her. Not someone I'd want to work with if I were an agent.ReplyDelete
No. No sense of the conflict of the story and really not fit for YA.ReplyDelete
No. The main character didn't hook me.ReplyDelete
Yes. I love it when queries break the rules - when it works! This works, especially the first paragraph, it grabbed me, and I liked the three timelines.ReplyDelete
No. Voice and hook is fantastic, but you need to switch it to third person. The first person is going to throw a lot of people off.ReplyDelete
Thanks everyone for your comments. Unfortunately, due to my hard drive failing, I was unable to get online and respond to everyone else's.ReplyDelete
Just a note, I already commented and I know judging is closed. Just wanted to point out that you refer to 'Triss' as 'she' in the first paragraph and then refer to 'his' parents at the end. Not sure whether Triss is male or female.ReplyDelete
Sorry, my own poor wording :) Triss is female, the 'he' was probably referring to Jackson.
Incidentally, my MC has no name or defined gender, hence the impossibility of writing this query in 3rd person :)
...though I'm smacking myself in the head, 'cause I should have at least put the 'Dear Agent' line at the top to make it clearer that this wasn't just text from the story.
No, because it's almost all backstory.ReplyDelete