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Monday, September 16, 2013

Workshop #8 Out of Touch

Revision 2:

When Gigi Reilly saw a man die, she couldn’t tell anyone. No cop would believe a seven-year-old anyway, especially if it was a vision, seen after touching a teacup. After placing an anonymous phone call the police find the body.

Her life is changed forever.  Emotional blueprints on inanimate objects become the bane of her existence.

At 28 years old, Gigi is out of options and goes to work part-time as the file clerk in the local police department. Three days into her new job, she is taken hostage and held at knife point. Touching it triggers a disturbing vision that sets her on the trail of a crooked cop and a local carjacking ring.

When her best friend is kidnapped, Gigi needs to crack the case to rescue her. But who can she trust? Her boyfriend cop might be a mole, while a man she barely knows has the military skills to pull of the rescue, but a closet full of secrets.

OUT OF TOUCH is a Paranormal Mystery/Romance and the first book in a series.


Thank you for your consideration.

Revision 1
Dear Agent,

When she was seven years old, Greta "Gigi" Reilly's life changed forever.  She touched a teacup at a neighborhood yard sale which triggered a vision of a man drinking poison and dying.  In a panic, she fell into a wheelbarrow and saw his wife bury him in the backyard.  An anonymous call to the police proved her vision was true!  Since then, she has attempted to avoid objects that might leave an emotional blueprint behind. So, despite her grandma's determination, she resisted working at the family's antiques and collectibles business.

At 28 years old, Gigi is out of options and goes to work part-time as the file clerk in the local police department.  She also pitches in at her grandma's antique store where she meets the mysterious Alex.  He is a former Navy Seal, current antique refinisher, and probably a bad idea.  He makes her wonder if rekindling her romance with Leo, a police officer and heart breaker, is a smart move.

A vision at the police department sets Gigi on the trail of a crooked cop and a local carjacking ring. Unfortunately, her visions don't work on command.  She enlists her friends to help.  Her best friend stumbles into the heart of the carjacking ring and is kidnapped. Gigi must decide who to trust to help with the rescue: her boyfriend cop, who might be the mole in the department, or a man she barely knows, with military skills and a closet full of secrets.

OUT OF TOUCH is a Paranormal Mystery/Romance and the first book in a series.

Thank you for your consideration.


Original
Greta "Gigi" Reilly touched a teacup when she was seven years old at a neighborhood yard sale which triggered a vision of a man clutching his throat and pitching forward into his dining room table - dead. Since then, she has avoided objects that might leave an emotional blueprint. Due to her Irish temperament, and the unwanted visions, the longest she has held a job is six months.

At 28 years old, she is forced by monetary circumstances to work as the part-time file clerk at the local police department and help at her grandma's antique store. A vision at the police department sets her on the trail of a crooked cop and a local carjacking ring. When her grandma witnesses her own car being stolen her life becomes endangered.

Gigi needs to crack the case in order to protect her grandma, so she forms her own Scooby Gang to solve the mystery. Her best friend is kidnapped when she learns the truth. Gigi must decide who to trust to rescue her: her boyfriend cop, who might be the mole, or a man she barely knows, with military skills and a closet full ofsecrets.

10 comments:

Huntress, aka CD Coffelt said...

The first sentence is very long, 37 words long. Keep the sentences short. Concise. Take the sentence and put a mark through every word that is vital to the story. Necessary stuff like the MC’s name, that she touched a teacup, and the vision of a man dying. Be brutal with the rest of it. You want nouns and verbs. Action. Btw, the last sentence is out of place here. It has no context to the rest of the paragraph.

Second paragraph-Leave out the part about “...forced by monetary circumstances...” and open with her working with the cops. Her vision at the station is good. But then you throw grandma into the mix.

Very confusing. And darn I love, love, love the premise. Just work on the wordage. Get it cleared up and you have a winner here.

Martha Mayberry said...

I think you have a great idea here! Here are some suggestions to spiff it up: It would be helpful to indicate if the vision when she was seven actually came true, to up the stakes. How does she avoid objects that leave an emotional blueprint? Then I’m not sure in the first paragraph how her temperament and the visions make it hard for her to hold down a job.

I wonder if you’re giving us too much information and if leaving out the temperament and difficulty holding down a job could be left out of the query altogether and focus instead on the visions, where I think the really interesting part of your query lies. The same thing with the second paragraph, I don’t think you need to indicate why she needs her jobs, just state something about while working at the local police department, she has a vision that sets (then the rest of your sentence. The car being stolen comes out of nowhere for me, and I can’t see how this endangers Gigi or the grandmother’s life (the three hers in the sentence confused me and I had to read it a few times to understand who’s car was stolen, and who was threatened). Maybe it would be clearer to just say: When her grandmother’s car is stolen and a threat’s made on her grandmother’s life, Gigi needs to crack the case to protect Grammie. The Scooby Gang comes across as middle grade to me, and I don’t see why naming the gang matters to solving the crime, maybe it's just important to show she wants to figure it out.

I also think you’re trying to address too many plot points in the query. You have visions, Grandma being threatened/car stolen, then a best friend kidnapped when she learns the truth (of what?), then trust issues regarding a cop boyfriend, and a closet full of secrets, which is vague for stakes, since I don’t know what secrets might be hidden or how they play play a role in the story.

I hope this helps, and best of luck with it!

Charity Bradford said...

I think the other two touched on most things I would have mentioned. So, the only thing I'll add is this:

Where is the bit about the title and genre? That might help me settle in a bit better. I'm guessing its a suspense/detective type novel. If so, it's even more important that everything come across very clear and concise. We want to believe that if we pick up your book you will be able to take us through the case step by step in a way that we can work through the clues with you.

Robin said...

Thank you for the suggestions, everyone. I knew that it needed MAJOR help, so thank you for giving me excellent ideas! I will work on it and resubmit:)

Patchi said...

Simplify is key. And focus on the best details. You have a great premise, so run as close to that as possible. Here is my cut:

Greta "Gigi" Reilly's first vision happened at a neighborhood yard sale when she was seven. She touched a teacup. As if she were standing in a stranger's dinning room, she saw a dying man clutch his throat and pitch forward onto the table. Since then, Gigi avoids touching anyone else's stuff.

Helping grandma at her antique store is not where Gigi wants to spend her days, so she takes part-time job as a file clerk at the local police department. [What did she touch that sparked the vision?] This vision sets her on the trail of a crooked cop and a local carjacking ring.

When her best friend is kidnapped, Gigi needs to crack the case to rescue her. But who can she trust? Her boyfriend cop might be a mole, while a man she barely knows has the military skills to pull of the rescue, but a closet full of secrets.

mshatch said...

revision 1
I like the sound of this one! Here's how I might tweak this first paragraph:

Greta "Gigi" Reilly's life changed forever when she was seven and touched a teacup at a yard sale which triggers a vision. In it she sees a man drinking poison and dying, and his wife burying him in the backyard. An anonymous call to the police proves her vision was true! [does she call the police herself?] Since then, she's avoided objects that might leave an emotional blueprint behind, and resisted working at the family's antiques and collectibles business.

But at 28, Gigi is out of options... and goes to work part-time as the file clerk in the local police department. [this paragraph would work better if helping out at the shop is the job she has to take to make ends meet, buy something she needs, keep afloat]

The next paragraph should be about conflict what happens to create the conflict that Gigi is about to be embroiled in?

Then the choice.

Hope this helps :)

Liz A. said...

I like the original better.

That first paragraph has way too much detail. I don't know how to pare it down, but while all that is great for the novel, in the query it's too much.

Isn't Navy SEAL all caps? An acronym? (I'm not sure on this, so please double check.)

Huntress, aka CD Coffelt said...

A little more revision is needed, methinks. Try the three-sentence paragraph method in the hook. Use only what is vital to the story and build around those words:

When Gigi Reilly saw a man die, she couldn’t tell anyone. No cop would believe a seven-year-old anyway, especially if it was a vision, seen after touching a teacup. But they found a man’s body after her anonymous phone call.

*Note: don't just tell the reader that Gigi is 7. Make it part of the story. Let it be part of the action. The second paragraph explains what just happened. But keep the hook embedded in the words.)

Emotional blueprints on inanimate objects became the bane of her existence.

Hope this helps!!! You've got a great story here. Keep perfecting it!

Huntress, aka CD Coffelt said...

Revision #3:

HOOKED!

Man Alive, how am I going to sleep tonight wondering how this will end.
Come on publisher, pick this one so I can find out.

Robin said...

Yay!!! It wasn't as painful as I thought it might be! Thank you everyone for all of the help.

You are guys are excellent at query critique.:)