A few days after her move to her new town, sixteen-year-old Mira receives a warning from a strange old woman - someone's out to hurt her mother. Attempting to shrug it off as the rantings of a lunatic, Mira gets on with her biggest problem, adjusting to her new school. An unfortunate remark to the school's queen bee, who's also her mom's boss's daughter, creates a deadly enemy, and school becomes a cycle of subtle and not so subtle abuse for Mira.
Added to this, the woman's warning echoes in Mira's mind. Determined to find out what she meant, she confronts the woman, Aiyana, and learns that the threat comes from none other than her mother's boss, the most powerful man in town, with the unpleasant habit of eliminating anyone in his way - like Aiyana - and the next in line could be her mother.
In her race to trap the man and save her mom, she comes up against tall, handsome Brad, the queen bee's boyfriend. Sparks fly, and Mira's fate will depend upon whether she can avoid getting burned.
My YA novel, Double-Faced, is complete at 60,000 words.
First, I’m impressed that each of your revisions really rewrites the query in some way and makes it new. In this one, you’ve really turned the screws and narrowed the focus down.
Only … I think it goes a little too far down focus-wise – and voice-wise.
In this version, the plot is sublimated and vague. Why are Aiyana and Mom in the boss’s way, especially if Mom’s his employee? What are they in the way of? I also don’t get from this version that Aiyana necessarily gets killed – the way it’s written leaves her death a bit ambiguous.
In the “sparks fly” sentence, I see what you’re going for, but the sparks flying and Mira getting burned feels more like a mixed metaphor than one being the consequence of the other. Also, I’m not getting how her fate rests on her avoiding getting burned. By whom? Brad? The queen bee? The others at school?
As presented, the way the plot could be interpreted is that Mira gets on the wrong side of the boss’s daughter, who goes crying to Daddy, who acts like a Mafia boss and elects to snuff out anyone Mira knows. Which isn’t your story.
But we don’t know what the real story is from this query. Plus, I think you dialed down your voice too much here. So now we have a vague story line about Mira’s mom being in some kind of trouble told in a rather tepid voice. The things that could have been original about your story are gone.
So I think you have a choice. Either go back to the previous version with all the characters and plot twists spelled out and clean that version up. Or stay with this version, but get rid of Aiyana completely and use all the “warning” space to explain why the boss would be after Mom and hint at how Brad is tied into it all.
I like your name change of the MC from Mala to Mira. Although names can be an indicator of ethnicity and/or regionality. Which would be a nice change, IMO, from the stereotypical YA MCs we've been getting in the queries I've seen on this site and elsewhere...
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Query Revision 48: Redux 2