Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Public Slushpile #24

TITLE: Brake Fluid, Blood and Body Bags
GENRE: YA Contemporary

No one who rides with Triss is ever in control, but calling shotgun means I get the best view of whatever chaos she’s driving straight into. When you sit up front, you share responsibility when things go wrong, but I don’t mind. I’d do anything for Triss.

Like today I’m helping her dump a body. Jackson’s body, her betting partner in their twisted game of manipulation. The only thing better than an unsupervised party where you can dance, drink and screw, is betting on who’s gonna get wasted and do something stupid. We just didn’t figure on anyone getting dead. Now, between Triss’ broken-down car, her crazy divorced parents, and the fact that we’re just a couple of dumb, broke kids who know nothing about corpse disposal, getting rid of Jackson keeps getting more complicated. Especially since I don’t know how much of it is my fault.

Sure, it wasn’t me who swung the Louisville Slugger that split his head open, but I was one of the main players at the game six months back when this whole thing started. By the end of the night, Triss won five-hundred bucks, Jackson cracked her jaw with his fist, and she stabbed him in the gut with a butter knife. It was a party. Things happen. But people aren’t like cards or poker chips. They have baggage. They get angry. They want revenge.

And now Triss and I have to clean up the mess before his parents get home.

Brake Fluid, Blood and Body Bags is a 60,000 words Contemporary YA which hops between three timelines: the present, the night Jackson died, and the party six months earlier.

62 comments:

Elizabeth Light said...

No. Unfortunately, I was thrown off by the query being in the main character's point of view.

Woods said...

NO

Do not ever write a query in first person; it's a pet peeve among most agents.

A Little Push said...

NO. This didn't sound like a query to me, it sounded like a page from your manuscript in your protagonist's POV.

Loralie Hall said...

No. The first-person present tense makes this read like back story instead of what's to come.

Durango Writer said...

NO. Agents typically don't like queries in the voice of the MC.

EmilyaNaymark said...

No. A query needs to be more descriptive of what to expect in the book. This is too much like simply a section of the book.

Dayspring said...

Yes. Reservations about a story of two kids disposing of a body, but I LOVED the voice.

Jean Davis said...

No. I like the info but not how it's conveyed in first person.

Jennifer said...

No.

I am open to nontraditional approaches in conveying the pitch, but this one doesn't work for me. I get lost in the first person account here, it doesn't pull me in.

Adam Heine said...

NO. I didn't mind the unconventional first person POV, but this felt like an inciting incident, not the story.

Nicole said...

No. The query style was offputting, but more than that I was just confused about what's actually going on. Am I right that Jackson died SIX MONTHS AGO, and they're still trying to properly dispose of the body? doesn't it, you know, smell?

Lanette said...

No. For all the reasons stated above.

Rachel Menard said...

No, per above, I quit reading as soon as I saw it was written in first person.

Em said...

No. I didn't care for the 1st person and it was a bit much for me.

Patti said...

No, like others said, the first person threw me off. I thought I was reading the first chapter of your book.

Angela said...

Yes, despite the query letter being bad, I'd want to see the first few pages. The concept sounds good. The query letter though, is very bad, for all the above reasons.

Sarah Nego(vetich) said...

No, this sounds like a prologue, and not one that would entice me to keep reading.

Lori M. Lee said...

Yes, only because I like the voice. I had to stop and skim down to see if this was actually a query and not the opening of your book.

Happy Dolphin said...

No.
I likewise thought I was reading from the manuscript and the idea of going on a ride with such morally bankrupt characters and their idea of 'fun' is impossible to imagine.

Tina Moss said...

NO, the first person POV didn't work for the query.

Melodie Wright said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah Ahiers said...

NO
I couldn't get past the 1st person POV to see what the story was about

Holly Bodger said...

No. This is written in the voice of a character I detest almost immediately.

Anonymous said...

NO. Sounds like a cut and paste out of the manuscript.

A.C. Turcotte said...

No. Everything I've read/heard says that you can break the rules (in this case, writing it in 1st person) if you do it really well, but I don't think that's the case here; seems like you have a solid story, and I think that writing this in 3rd person will give you a better chance of success (i.e. don't get rejected one sentence in because you use the word "I.")

Krista V. said...

No. Because the query was written in first person, I spent half the time wondering if this was actually the first page (and the other half thinking that first-person queries almost never work).

Melodie Wright said...

No. Query didn't work for me and I had to reread to figure out Triss was a girl.
However, I'm intrigued by the idea you could make an unlikable protag likable. The q reminds me of a dark 'weekend at bernie's' which I did not like but if you can pull off engaging a reader's sympathies for a bunch of murderous, stupid teens, go for it.

Amber said...

No. It read like a page from the book, not a query.

Stephanie G said...

No. I think I might have liked it, but I'm in the camp that first person POV is never a good idea for a query.

Megan C. said...

No. Not a fan of the first person POV, and I couldn't see any way to make the characters likeable.

Kate Larkindale said...

No. Never write a query from the POV of your protagonist.

Stephsco said...

No - only because this felt like the actual book rather than a query to pitch the book.

P J O'Leary said...

No. Don't mind the first person, but I really never cared about the protagonist and didn't see why he would go so far to help Triss.

fakesteph said...

YES. I was thrown off by the first person POV, but loved the voice and wanted to read more.

Metz Photography said...

No. The premises sounds interesting, but the first person narrative doesn't work. If the voice carried through to third, maybe.

Heather said...

No.

I liked the voice and the hot mess of a situation, there, but the issue with the first-person POV is that I left knowing absolutely nothing about the MC--the story seems all about Triss and the MC is superfluous to that.

Vicki Tremper said...

YES. True, the POV threw me, but this query accomplished what it was supposed to. It told the plot. And the plot is really different. I'd want to read a few pages and see if your MC can win me over.

Cheryl said...

No.

Sounds like a pretty gruesome story, and I don't get the impression that I'd want to read about these characters.

Amelia Loken said...

Yes. First person, violence and dead body aside, it sounds like an interesting tale in dark YA fiction.

Mary Vettel said...

YES. I really liked the voice of this though I did think Triss was female until the end and it might be a bit too adult for YA. I'd want to read it.

Anonymous said...

No. The POV just doesn't work. The voice is pretty good, but there's nothing about the plot that makes me want to read the story. Plus, you forgot the serial comma after Blood!

SMKrafty said...

No- POV is uncomfortable and it feels too over the top for YA.

Leah Petersen said...

No.

Hate a query from a character's POV, and this one sounds like either an airhead or a girl who needs to be smacked upside the head a few times. This is a body disposal, not a road trip. If there'd been some hook in how the guy died that'd be one thing, but it doesn't sound like any more than a bunch of drunk, stupid kids.

Aldrea Alien said...

No. Lost me after the first paragraph.

Dale said...

Yes. Strong voice evident.

Mia K Rose said...

No. The concept sounds interesting but the delivery in first person throws me off.

S L Jenan said...

NO, despite the strong voice and 'helping dump a body' (which I liked), 1st person was off-putting and the conflict you left me with after a MURDER was 'will the parents find out?'

MittensMorgul said...

NO. Per above. Also, some of the mc's comments struck me as "adult trying to sound like a teen."

Lisa said...

Yes. I didn't think the query itself was great, but the plot sounded really interesting to me. I'd read a bit to see if I liked it.

Alexa said...

No.

I thought for a second I was reading the first 250 words, not a query -- with a reformat/hook maybe but generally "badass kids being bad" isn't my thing. Also be aware: the MC of the Divergent triology is Tris, and that's the first thing I thought of when your MC mentioned Triss (which is hardly a common name).

Nora Coon said...

No - the first person query throws me, and I'm also not really sure what this book is about. The three timelines make me a little nervous.

macaronipants said...

No. I'm a avid YA reader, but I think this crosses the line.

Jo-Ann said...

Yes. Despite the fact that it reads more like a sample than a query, that the characters sound amoral, and that my son's name is Tris (well, Tristan), the query did its job in getting me to want to read on. So it worked, despite the flaws.

Beth H said...

No. That the author breaks the "no first-person in a query" rule makes me think he or she is inexperienced OR someone who thinks rules don't apply to him/her. Not someone I'd want to work with if I were an agent.

CM said...

No. No sense of the conflict of the story and really not fit for YA.

sarahwedgbrow said...

No. The main character didn't hook me.

Margo Berendsen said...

Yes. I love it when queries break the rules - when it works! This works, especially the first paragraph, it grabbed me, and I liked the three timelines.

callmebecks said...

No. Voice and hook is fantastic, but you need to switch it to third person. The first person is going to throw a lot of people off.

1000th.monkey said...

Thanks everyone for your comments. Unfortunately, due to my hard drive failing, I was unable to get online and respond to everyone else's.

Dayspring said...

Just a note, I already commented and I know judging is closed. Just wanted to point out that you refer to 'Triss' as 'she' in the first paragraph and then refer to 'his' parents at the end. Not sure whether Triss is male or female.

1000th.monkey said...

@ Dayspring

Sorry, my own poor wording :) Triss is female, the 'he' was probably referring to Jackson.

Incidentally, my MC has no name or defined gender, hence the impossibility of writing this query in 3rd person :)

...though I'm smacking myself in the head, 'cause I should have at least put the 'Dear Agent' line at the top to make it clearer that this wasn't just text from the story.

BuffySquirrel said...

No, because it's almost all backstory.