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#RevPit #10Queries - April 2020



Every year during the #RevPit Annual Contest, the editors tweet anonymous feedback on participants’ queries and first five pages. This way, the feedback in the tweets is helpful to all writers, not just the particular authors whose work we are addressing. This are all my tweets from the 2020 Annual Contest in April. If you prefer to read them on Twitter, they’re all in a thread, which you can view here.

1. My #RevPit #10Queries system is simple

R = Request! Must read more!!

M = Maybe list

P = Sad pass

I will stick to overarching genres, not subgenre

F Fantasy

H Horror

HF Historical

SF Sci fi

Sci F Science fantasy

SFF Speculative

2. Q1 A F A+ voice for a query. Super cool premise. But focus a little more on the MC. What do they want? What's their emotional wound, and how does it tie to the plot? GREAT start though. #RevPit #10Queries

3. P1 Again, super strong voice. But the voice is actually out of balance with the rest of the writing. Ground more in a scene + start with character. So promising! M #RevPit #10Queries

4. Q2 A SF This feels like a beginner query (we all start somewhere!). It's a fine line between showing what's cool about your story and flat out telling why someone should acquire it. Hie thee to CPs and more query feedback #RevPit #10Queries

5. @LombardEmma has a great post about finding pre-readers: https://emmalombardauthor.com/post/beta-readers

See also:

@QueryConnection

To see what makes strong QLs, check out Query Shark https://queryshark.blogspot.com + the Successful Queries blog at Writer's Digest writersdigest.com/Successful-Queries #RevPit

6. P2 The writing is nice, but this isn't the best way to start. It isn't clear how pg 1 gets into the story. BUT I see what you're going for. Keep working on it. For now, this is a "not yet," but the next draft might be a R #RevPit #10Queries

7. Q3 A HF The opening line has already broken my heart. Great query for a quiet story, but it needs more focus on stakes + conflict (even harder for quiet stories!). What actually happens in the plot? #RevPit #10Queries

8. P3 Lovely voice, but I worry this is the wrong point-of-view (1st/2nd/3rd, not character). The opening is cliché, but there's a lot to love here. I definitely want to know more. M #RevPit #10Queries

9. Q4 A H My favorite kind of horror. Great query, but the final dilemma isn't strong enough, doesn't offer high enough stakes. What will happen if MC fails or doesn't Do The Thing? #RevPit #10Queries

10. P4 Too much backstory and exposition in these pages leads to a slow start. Horror needs to set the tone right out of the gate so we need more tension. This doesn't mean starting in the middle of a big action scene! It's all about microtension. #RevPit #10Queries

What's microtension, you ask? Lucky for you, @KyraMNelson wrote a fantastic piece about this for my blog. #RevPit

11. Q5 YA SF I really like this premise. But this QL is way too short and doesn't really give much info about MC. QLs can be 250-450 words so you have room to expand. Tell us more so we can fall in love! #RevPit #10Queries

12. P5 Starts en media res. Nice microtension. I see lots of promise here, but 1st person needs DEEEEEP POV and that ins't here. Lots of filtering words + needs more shown emotions. M #RevPit #10Queries

13. Here's another quick resource for deep POV. Hint: there needs to be a lot of reaction + interiority. https://www.jenichappelleeditorial.com/post/do-s-and-don-ts-of-deep-pov #RevPit

14. Q6 YA H Another short QL. You need another paragraph to connect to MCs' character arcs. Why should we care? How do their internal goals/obstacles connect to plot? How do they learn/grow? But OMG I love the comps! #RevPit #10Queries

15. P6 I Heart suit the mechanism in this opening paragraph--so smart. GREAT way to start a horror. This also needs a much deeper POV + lush interority. YA needs lots of interiority, y'all. Teenagers basically live in their heads. Very promising but needs a lot of work. M #RevPit #10Queries

16. Q7 MG F The balance is off between set up, character, and stakes. We need about 50% less set up to add more of the others elements. This word count is high for this age. But voice is awesome + the concept is adorable. I want to read more! #RevPit #10Queries

17. P7 VOICE ALL DAY! I feel like I know this MC in the 1st para. By the end of pg 1, I know genre and age category + some of the plot. Great work. Strong M, maybe even R #RevPit #10Queries

18. P8 Needs a deeper POV. At the end of the pages, I don't feel like I know much about this MC--who are they, what do they value, and what is stopping them from getting/being what they really want? P (mostly due to MSWL) #RevPit #10Queries

19. Q9 A F Fun concept. BUT stick to the more traditional query format so you can get more info on the page. Remember, connect to MC (touch on their internal problem/emotional wound too!) + explain conflict/plot + stakes (including emotional wound) = best queries. #RevPit #10Queries

20. P9 This POV is great + reminds me of greats! But there's a lot going on in these pages. Simplify, focus more, so the reader has a chance to get into the story and connect with the characters a little. Spread out the quirky stuff some. M #RevPit #10Queries

21. Q10 MG ? This is one of the ones that didn't put a correct genre on the form. It's right on the QL, but make sure you read carefully when querying so a mistake like this doesn't DQ you with agents. 1/2 #RevPit #10Queries

22. Q10 cont The premise is super cool, and I love it! Query is strong but a little too much worldbuilding. We only need the essentials in the query. What is the minimum the agent needs to know to understand the premise? 2/2 #RevPit #10Queries

23. P10 Perfect voice + slow start = mixed pages. Some words are a little too childish. Be deliberate in your word choice to make sure you're playing to your readership + being consistent with voice. First pages need to focus more on MC, less on other characters. M #RevPit #10Queries

24. Bonus #WriteTip:

From an industry/market standpoint, crossover is upper YA that will also appeal to adults. Using it as a genre/age category in another context won't make sense to agents.

25. Q11 A F This query isn't fantastic, but I've read enough to know that there's something here. Great premise + interesting twist really piques my interest. #RevPit #10Queries

26. P11 The voice has this lovely, lyrical quality that pulls me in right away. The writing isn't quite there yet. Needs work on show and tell. But I really need more info. M #RevPit #10Queries

27. Q12 MG SF Such a cool concept, and this is an excellent query. I have no critique. I legit think you might be ready to query. #RevPit #10queries

28. P12 A+ worldbuilding--starts en media res and shows the world through details as the MC interacts. Pages match query + seem ready to go. R but do you even need me? #RevPit #10Queries

29. Q13 A F This query needs some work on the structure, but the premise is so cool. So many keywords here make me excited! But the word count is way off #RevPit #10Queries

30. P13 1st paragraph sets the tone right away with voice, tension + mystery. The rest of the pages impress! Can we make the word count work? M #RevPit #10Queries

31. Q14 A F Another one that needs work but has enough info to pique my interest.

Queries are hard, y'all.

Still, premise has me excited for the pages. #RevPit #10Queries

32. P14 That first line is AMAZE! The pages need help with balance of show and tell but show SO MUCH promise. M #RevPit #10Queries

33. Q15 MG F I've seen this one before, and I'm happy to see you took notes + made changes. Query is much stronger now! Love the tension, stakes, conflict. Great work! #RevPit #10Queries

34. P15 Voice needs a little work, but it's almost there. Use voice to convey mood + set the tone. Think carefully about word choice. M #RevPit #10Queries

35. Q16 A F I saw the teasers for this one and am excited you subbed to me! Query lives up to the hype. Can't wait for pages. #RevPit #10Queries

36. P16 There's some really cool stuff happening here, but it's too much information in a short space so it feels like it moves too fast. How can you focus on one or two main elements to let the reader orient + connect with MC? M #RevPit #10Queries

37. Q17 A F Great query, cool premise, but I worry the timing might not be right for the market.

But for RevPit, I am interested!

#RevPit #10Queries

38. P17 Another great opening line. Pulls me in from the start. The voice is A+ and keeps me engaged. SO FUN. I definitely need to read more of this one. R #RevPit #10Queries

39. Q18 YA F Strong query, but I don't think this concept is right for me*, for this contest.

*This is totally subjective!

#RevPit #10Queries

40. P18 Great emotion on the page, really gives a felt sense. Great interority, needs to be a little more balanced with action of the scene. P (just for premise--the writing is great!) #RevPit #10Queries

41. Q19 MG F Query is a little confusing, feels like I'm missing vital info that would make it click. Might need to take a step back and write more simply then fill in with details + voice. #RevPit #10Queries

42. P19 This doesn't feel like MG. It feels like YA. The voice + tone feel too mature. The word count is also too high. Why not make this YA? #RevPit #10Queries

43. Q20 A SF Very strong. I can tell you've been doing this for a while. You have the structure down pat + have just the right mix of explanation + hook. #RevPit #10Queries

44. P20 Pages are beautiful. Well written, great worldbuilding. Only critique is that I would like to see a little more conflict, but I'm just not connecting. P #RevPit #10Queries

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