Thursday, December 16, 2010

Query 44: Redux

Timesurfers

Fifteen-year-old Cate is fuming at the sucky ‘we r ovah’ text from her loser ex, when everyone around her is suddenly frozen. Breathing, but still like statues. Three teenagers appear out of nowhere. One hoists the bus Cate’s waiting to board over his head while the others disarm a bomb planted under it. Cate freaks out when they decapitate a boy who can also see them before vanishing. With everyone else oblivious to their near death experience she’ll sound insane if she says anything.

When the teens show up at her school, heads turn and jaws drop. No one is frozen this time, but everyone acts like they know them. It’s like they’ve always been there, when they’re totally new. What the hell?

After she accidently brings a dead cheerleader back to life, Cate discovers all the weirdness is because she’s going to be a Timesurfer. A time travelling warrior who should protect history. She’s like the chosen one for Team Evil. She’ll be an awesome, evil Timesurfer who raises the dead and commands an army of Zombies. Which sounds kind of cool.

She can go with good. But she’ll be stripped of her magical powers and sent back to her vanilla life. Totally alone, except for Austin. He’s with Team Good. One killer smile from him and she was hooked. Just like that. Doing the right thing and getting the super hot guy should make her decision easy.

Cate has been brushing shoulders with the Team Evil leader every day. It’s one of the people she trusts most in the world. Throw in the ultimate bad-boy Jonah and the fact she suspects Austin kidnapped her brother, and Team Evil is suddenly more tempting than Cate could ever have imagined.

TIMESURFERS is a 72,000 word YA urban fantasy. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Comments

I think this version is close. The end just needs to be tightened and re-ordered a bit. Jonah and the kidnapping are just, as the query says, "thrown" in and they feel rushed, and with adding the Team Evil leader, it makes the whole last part of the query feel over-busy. I've tried to streamline the end just a bit in my rewrite.

My Version

Fifteen-year-old Cate is fuming at the sucky ‘we r ovah’ text from her loser ex when everyone around her suddenly freezes, like in a game of Statues. Freakier still are the three teens who appear out of nowhere. One hoists the bus Cate’s waiting to board over his head while the others disarm a bomb planted under it. Saving her? All good. But when they decapitate a boy who can also see them right before they vanish, Cate about loses it. But with everyone else oblivious, who can she tell without sounding insane?

When the teens show up at her school, acting all normal, heads turn and jaws drop. Yet everyone acts like they know them -- like they’ve always been there, when they’re totally new. What the hell?

It's only after she accidently brings a dead cheerleader back to life that Cate discovers all the weirdness is because she’s supposed to be a Timesurfer. In fact, she’s like the chosen one for Team Evil. She’s destined to be awesome, raising the dead and commanding an army of zombies. Which does sound kind of cool.

It also means fighting Team Good, the time travelling warriors who protect history. Like Austin. One killer smile from him has her hooked. But if she refuses to become a Timesurfer, she'll be stripped of her magical powers and sent back to her vanilla life. Still, doing the right thing and getting the super hot guy should make her decision easy.

Ultimate-bad-boy Jonah, though, playing for Evil, starts pushing all her right buttons. And when Cate's brother goes missing, the clues point to a kidnapping -- with hottie Austin the prime suspect. Suddenly Team Evil is more tempting than Cate could ever imagine.

TIMESURFERS is a 72,000 word YA urban fantasy. Thank you for your time and consideration.

8 comments:

vkw said...

I wouldn't say -

"Cate freaks out when they decapitate a boy who can also see them before vanishing."

Cate freaks out when they decapitate a boy who is the only other person not frozen in time.

I would omit "With everyone . . . ."

omit "when they're totally new" - repititious.

so is the cheerleader now a zombie?

I think you'll need more on the cheerleader

"When the cheerleader falls from the top of the pyrimid, Cate discovers she has the power to bring her back to life. And, that's only the start. She has. . . ."

Sylvia said...

This is really very nitpicky - I'm sorry! I'm not good at writing queries but I am good at asking stupid questions. So take what you can use and just ignore me for the rest.

Fifteen-year-old Cate is fuming at the sucky ‘we r ovah’ text from her loser ex When she got the message, he was her boyfriend, so ex seemed a bit odd to me here

...when everyone around her is suddenly frozen. The double "is" in this sentence makes it harder to recognise the interrupting action. I would use freezes or some other active verb.

One hoists the bus Cate’s waiting to board over his head This was a little bit complicated to parse, I would say Cate's bus or even just that he lifts a bus so they can disarm the bomb. It's clear that people were in danger and they did something good.

Cate freaks out when they decapitate a boy who can also see them before vanishing. Vanishing attaches to "see them" in an odd sort of way - and how can she tell that the boy can also see them (or that the frozen people can't). I would be tempted to simplify this by staying firmly in Cate's viewpoint: what did the boy do before they decapitated him? We can freak out with Cate if we see the sequence of events (and understand that Cate must not move in order to avoid the same fate).

Then the teens show up at her school, heads turn and jaws drop. No one is frozen this time, but everyone acts like they know them. It’s like they’ve always been there, when they’re totally new.

I think of "Heads turn and jaws drop" as a reaction to a newcomer, so I was a bit surprised to run into "everyone acts like they know them" in the next sentence.

After she accidently brings a dead cheerleader back to life

I love this line.

She can go with good.

This one confused me. After a reread, I came to the conclusion that you mean she can choose to be good instead (but I'd tie in to the Team Evil statement to keep it clear: If she refuses to be evil, she'll be stripped of her ....)

Cate has been brushing shoulders with the Team Evil leader every day.

It felt like you were starting a new subject here but I think it could tie in to the previous with a "On the other hand," type statement. Also not sure why the leader doesn't get a name check but Jonah does (the ultimate bad-boy should be the leader of the bad-boys, shouldn't he)?

Again, I know I'm throwing lots of questions out there - but the query has intrigued me enough that I want to understand the premise! So that's got to be a good thing. :)

Lauren K said...

I love some of the details you've added in. Commanding an evil army of zombies does sound pretty cool.

I agree with Sylvia that the "heads turn and jaws drop" line is kind of confusing. Maybe you could just say that they're the center of attention at school.

fairyhedgehog said...

This is coming together well. I like what Phoenix has done with it because it makes it clearer - my only nitpicks were to do with parts that were unclear, like the fact that TimeSurfers apparently protect history but she's going to be on Team Evil.

I must say that the boy being decapitated gave me pause and made me think that this isn't going to be as lighthearted as I'd guessed. I wonder how she could ever want to join a team that casually kills someone like that.

Anonymous said...

Thx vkw - all great suggestions you've made. Very much apprecaite you taking the time to read this second draft. Tess

Anonymous said...

Sylvia - thanks for taking the time to be nit picky! I'm very greatful. You comments on the lines that confused you and suggestions are really helpful. Tess

Anonymous said...

Lauren K - thx for the feedback on the zombie add in - I think it does make this better - only a few more goes and i hope to be close - thanks again for the feedback. Tess

Anonymous said...

Hi FHH - yes I agree I need to make that sentence flow better and explain the idea of good and bad sides. Have been rolling that around in my head.

Also the decapitation - might need to give a little more insight - to show the dilemma etc it's a warriors life!

Thanks heaps for taking the time to read and comment. Tess