Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Teen Eyes Contest: Taryn's Winner!

Here's the scoop, from Taryn Albright of Teen Eyes: 

I read over 300 queries in the 10 days leading up to this contest with entries coming from my internship, this contest, and my query critique contest last week. That means the winners would really have to stand out. That said, I was surprised at how many intrigued me! If I'd gotten the following 24 queries in my inbox, I would have been a very happy intern:

Distant Horizon

An Unnatural Elegance

Kissing Frogs

Shut Up and Kill Me

An Uncommon Blue

Darkling

The Show Must Not Go On

Duet with the Devil’s Violin

Perfectly Broken

Crow’s Rest

And We All Are Damned

Dusted

The Astronaut’s Daughter

Operation Breakup

Chick Magnet

Cynisca and the Olive Crown

Temple Falls

Race to Butch Cassidy's Gold

Seven Riddles to Nowhere

Startripped

Accidents and Incidents

How Snow Came to the Desert

Abel Pirates

Princess of Swans

A few of them made me really excited:

Shut Up and Kill Me

Operation Breakup

Cynisca and the Olive Crown

Race to Butch Cassidy's Gold

Abel Pirates

But an early-on entry made me sit up and pay attention, and I knew right from the beginning this query was going to be really hard to beat.

Congratulations to Sarah Nelson with SHUT UP AND KILL ME.

High school's a bitch, especially when everyone thinks you're a murderer. I'm immediately hooked by both the voice and the content here. A murderer? WHY? Tell me more!

Claire Alexander was arrested for killing her parents when she was thirteen. Sure, she was acquitted four months later, but that sort of rep is hard to shake. More voice, easy, well-done backstory. Now, after four years shifting between out-of-town family members, seventeen-year-old Claire has come back home to try for a normal life. But normal isn't easy when your sister's on drugs, the cops still think you're a killer, and the media call you the Baby Faced Butcher. Baby Faced Butcher sealed the deal for me. Plus I love this character who is strong enough to come back home.

Only high school drop-out, Blake Slater, believes in Claire's innocence. He thinks her parents were murdered by a serial killer, and he says he has proof. Omg, serial killer? DANGER! However alluring Blake may be (who can resist a pick-up line like "I know you didn't do it"?), Claire dismisses the theory. After all, this so-called serial killer should've been brought up at her trial. Hmm, why wasn't he? Why didn't Blake step forward earlier? THESE ARE THINGS I NEED TO KNOW! MS, please!!!
But Claire realises that Blake may have a point when she stumbles upon a crime scene where a local couple have been murdered. Worse, the whole set-up gives her a sick sense of deja vu. It looks like her parents' murderer has come home too. So I don't actually think I read to this point in the query. I was too busy salivating over the premise. This paragraph isn't the most clear, but I've already been so hooked it doesn't matter. It does introduce danger and the fact that there is a plot, and that's about all I needed to know to want this in my pile ASAP.

Congratulations, Sarah!  Please contact Taryn directly to discuss your prize.

16 comments:

  1. Congrats Sarah. :-)

    And thanks for judging this contest, it's neat to see which ones caught your interest. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Congrats to Sarah and to all the standouts! And a big thanks to Taryn for you time as a judge. AND a second huge thanks to Authoress for hosting amazing contests like these!! :D

    ReplyDelete
  3. Congratulations Sarah! And thanks for the shout out for Crow's Rest, Taryn!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Congrats Sarah! Congrats to the mentions! Thanks Taryn and the Authoress for hosting. Very much appreciated.

    Best wishes and happy writing!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for judging this contest, Taryn! I'm thrilled just to have made the "short list"--gives me hope I'm on the right track as I work to revise my query.

    Congrats to Sarah for getting the request!

    ReplyDelete
  6. That is a great query and a very compelling story idea. I've heard inklings from agents they are looking for YA thrillers. After the release of I Hunt Killers this year, this one seems like it has a great chance at publication. Just in my opinion. Nice work -- congrats!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Go Sara! I want to read that book!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks for judging this Taryn! I know how much work this is. And thanks for the shout out to TEMPLE FALLS! Just making the list made my day!

    Congrats Sara!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Congrats Sarah! I can see why this query stood out. As an avid YA reader, I would LOVE to find this on a shelf soon! :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Congrats Sarah, what an awesome query!!! I would read that story in a heartbeat. And I loved the voice!

    And thanks, Taryn for the kudos ;)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Congratulations,Sarah! It is definitely an intriguing query.

    I imagine this new murder occurring right as she moves home really ratchets up the local law enforcement's distrust of her as well. I would love to see how it all plays out.

    It sounds like am amazing read! Good luck with your submission!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Congratulations, Sarah--what a great query! Thanks, Authoress, for hosting this contest, and Taryn, for reading and judging the entries.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Congratulations, Sarah! Excellent query.

    Thank you, Taryn, for judging the contest. Going through 300 queries must have been a challenge. And thanks for mentioning DARKLING. It's helpful to get feedback and know the query caught your attention.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Congrats, Sarah! And I was told that a swear word in the first sentence was a turnoff... very interesting seeing the opposite from a YA POV... Best of luck to you!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Congratulations,Sarah!I'm thrilled to be the lucky CP that gets to read the entire manuscript. Trust me, this girl can write!!

    ReplyDelete