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.
R = Request! Must read more!!
M = Maybe list
P = Sad pass
I will stick to overarching genres, not subgenre
SF Sci fi
Sci F Science fantasy
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
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
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
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.
31. Q14 A F Another one that needs work but has enough info to pique my interest.
Queries are hard, y'all.
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!
39. Q18 YA F Strong query, but I don't think this concept is right for me*, for this contest.
*This is totally subjective!
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