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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Query Workshop 14--Let My Life Be Proof

LET MY LIFE BE PROOF
YA Contemporary Fiction


Revision 1
LET MY LIFE BE PROOF is a 60,000 word Contemporary YA novel.      

At seventeen, brainiac Emme Sawyer is the youngest girl to graduate from the University of Washington with a medical degree, but quickly discovers being a grown up is a giant bore.  Seeking adventure Emme heads for the Navy.  Convinced she will be deployed in the safety of a hospital, her parents sign early enlistment papers.  But shortly after arriving in Afghanistan, Emme’s mobile hospital is bombed.  Jumping at the chance to be closer to the action she joins a Marine unit.  Placed under the protection of a Special ops sharp shooter, Emme accompanies the unit on a mission.  Through her deployment Emme learns her schooling could never have prepared her for the pain and suffering she must try to heal.  After her guard is killed by an IED Emme shuts off her emotions.  But when her commanding officer, Raven, takes the job of looking after her, the feelings she tried to bury begin to emerge.  The only problem is it’s against regulation to fall for him.  When Emme receives life altering injuries while saving the life of a child, she's shipped home.  Faced with the nightmares of her past, unresolved feelings for Raven, and the possibility of never being able to practice medicine again, Emme struggles to move forward in a world she no longer feels a part of.

I am a member of YALITCHAT.org and volunteer in the Submission Mailbox.  I am  Nationally Board Certified in Early Childhood Education and currently teach. 

Thank you for your concideration.

Original
LET MY LIFE BE PROOF is a 60,000 word Contemporary YA novel.

Emme Sawyer graduates from medical school at seventeen only to discover her early introduction to adulthood is one giant bore.  Seeking adventure, she enlists as a medic in the Navy.  After the mobile hospital she works in suffers major loses, Emme is attached to 3rd Bravo Company, a Marine Infantry Unit.  Placed under the guard of a Special Ops sharp shooter, Emme accompanies the unit on a mission to run the Taliban out of the city of  Marjah.  Through the tragedy of war, Emme learns lessons beyond her years as she faces the pain of loss while fighting to save the injured men in her unit.  After she suffers a life changing injury, Emme returns home, faced with the nightmares of her past and the fear of how to move forward in a world she no longer feels a part of.

I am a member of YALITCHAT.org and volunteer on the Submission Mailbox.  I am Nationally Board Certified in Early Childhood Literacy and have a book review blog called Loco for Libros. 

Thank you for you consideration.

6 comments:

Suzi said...

Here are my comments/questions.

Is the age (seventeen) right? Can you even enlist in the Navy at 17? I really don't know, that's why I'm asking.

Another age related question. The 17 year old and medical school thing threw me for a loop. When you say medical school, do you mean something more like EMT/Paramedic school. Because medical makes me think 4 years, plus 4 years undergrad. Keep in mind I don't work in the medical field, so maybe it's referred to as medical school, but I totally stopped to think it through when I read that--and other people not in medicine might do the same--which you don't want.

Another question. Is the bulk of this story about her time in the navy? Or is it about when she comes home and has to confront her nightmares/fears? If it's about her time in the navy, you're okay. But if a large part is after she comes home, we need to see more about that.

I think it'd really help to add some extra details. What is the pain she dealt with while fighting? Did she lose good friends? Did she see innocents killed? Also what was her life-changing injury, we should know that so we can see how it will affect her life.

This sounds like a terrific story--very relevant for our times. Good luck.

Charity Bradford said...

This reads like a list of events. We get a good feel for Emme from this, but I'm not sure what the central conflict or choice is.

The fact Emme graduated so young part of what makes her unique and interesting to me. Is she a genius? Give me just a tad bit more here. If she's a genius it could be why she's bored?

Tell us she enlists, but we don't need the run down of all the areas she goes to. From there give us the main conflict. Is it fitting in with others older than her, dealing with pain and death she wasn't prepared for because of her age?

What choice does she have to make? It's got to be a this or that kind of choice.


The good news is this is short and you have room to ad those things.

Huntress said...

Love the Voice and hook in the first paragraph.

In the second paragraph, you should tell us what happens after she joins the Special OPs. So far you are a tour guide. I want a story teller.

Through the tragedy of war, Emme learns lessons beyond her years as she faces the pain of loss while fighting to save the injured men in her unit. *This seems like a summary. What lessons did she learn? What losses?-Huntress*

After she suffers a life changing injury, Emme returns home, faced with the nightmares of her past and the fear of how to move forward in a world she no longer feels a part of. *Ditto the above comment. This is a summary also. Give me an example of coping. Example: In the war, she worried about snipers. At home, the neighbors worry about crab grass.-Huntress*

9a9bdbba-ec81-11e1-b7b4-000bcdcb8a73 said...

Looks like your revision cleaned up some issues. I have a couple of other points you might think about.

1. What is Emme's age?
2. I was in the Navy and I was a hospital corpsman (medic) with the Marines. MDs are not assigned to sec ops teams. They work in field hospitals or on hospital ships, they are to valuable to be put in the line of fire. Hospital corpsmen work in the field. Also, females are still not allowed in combat roles. Emme would also have to complete a residency after med school, so even if she was a young grad, she'd be in her mid twenties before she deployed. May need to do a bit more research for this story.

Otherwise, I love the idea of this story, just seems to need some clarification.

Huntress said...

Your hook in the first paragraph is great. It makes me want to read on. Why? Because of the words, ‘brainiac’ and ‘being a grownup is a giant bore.’

(Btw, Google ‘brainiac’. Not a good choice)

The first paragraph has humor. It has Voice. But in the rest of the query, IMHO, falls flat.
*sigh*

How to give your query energy? Try highlighting Emme’s character traits. Look for a way to portray them in a few words. Give her Life. Make us care about her. Who is she? Does she wear a nose ring? Is she quirky? Outgoing? Loves rap music? (oh, heavens, please don’t choose that for her)

Be careful about using This Happened. Then This Happened. Then This Happened. That is more synopsis than a hooky query.

Ease up on the contrivances.

I hope this helps you. Truly, your premise is outstanding. Keep working on the query and you’ll get there.

mshatch said...

One long paragraph followed by the housekeeping isn’t very appealing, imo. Here’s how I might change this:

At seventeen, Emme Sawyer is the youngest girl to graduate from the University of Washington with a medical degree, an honor she’s worked hard for and sacrificed xyz… (these may not be the right words but hopefully you get the idea what I’m trying to do: add a bit of CHARACTER). Much to her dismay, she soon discovers being a grown up is a giant bore. Seeking adventure Emme heads for the Navy. (This isn’t perfect by a long shot but it does offer a first paragraph that shows Emme’s character: she’s a hard worker, she isn’t ready to be a grown up, and she makes impulsive decisions - her decision to join the navy in hopes of adventure - and she wants some fun in her life)

But shortly after arriving in Afghanistan, Emme’s mobile hospital is bombed and she jumps at the chance to be closer to the action. (I would definitely check to see whether this could happen but even if it can’t you can still put her in harms way) Throughout her deployment Emme learns (name some of the specific things she learns) her schooling could never have prepared her for, including pain and suffering on a scale she never imagined. When her guard is killed by an IED, Emme shuts off her emotions – until her commanding officer, Raven, takes the job of looking after her, arousing feelings she doesn’t want and isn’t supposed to have. (CONFLICT)

When Emme receives life altering injuries while saving the life of a child, she's shipped home. (I’d reword this previous sentence, it reads a little rough) Faced with the nightmares of her past, her unresolved feelings for Raven, and the possibility of never being able to practice medicine again, Emme struggles to move forward in a world she no longer feels a part of. (here’s where you need to add the CHOICE Emme has to make, which I assume is to either rejoin the world of the living and come to terms with what has happened or ?)

I am a member of YALITCHAT.org and volunteer in the Submission Mailbox. (I don’t think you need the bit about teaching but I would add the name of the book, genre, and word count here)


This isn’t anywhere near close to perfect but maybe it will help you get there :)