Thursday, May 21, 2015

Writer's Voice Entry

I won the lottery for #TheWVoice 2015 contest!  This is my first time participating.  I am so excited.  Thank you so much to everyone for putting this contest together!!

***Update: I have posted a new version of my query letter below based on feedback received from the contest.  Thanks to everyone for taking the time to leave comments! 


Query:


Dear Amazing Coaches and Agents,

When Talmage True was born, people said it was a mercy that his mother died for the child’s razor-sharp teeth would have torn her apart. He was born with a full set.

Now fifteen, Talmage hides his misshapen face from those who condemn him for being unnatural. But a chance meeting with his estranged uncle, a curiosity peddler hawking the medically grotesque, brings Talmage a spark of hope. For the first time, Talmage feels a kinship with the bizarre creatures on display--the eight-legged taxidermied kitten and the dog whose body ends in a shell. After all, Talmage, too, is an aberration.

Talmage is drawn into his uncle’s dark world and together they create a clockwork figure in his exact likeness--a mechanical boy made of metal, covered in the flesh of stolen corpses. Late one night, the figure comes to life and Talmage--who has never had a friend before--welcomes it as a brother. But the world is no place for a clockwork boy especially when its body starts to rust and rot. Desperate to stay alive, it turns to murder to harvest fresh body parts. When it sets its sights on Alice, a girl scarred by fire who sees beyond Talmage’s monstrous appearance, Talmage must decide: dismantle his clockwork brother or watch it kill the only person who has ever shown him kindness.

A SAVAGE MISCREATION is an 86,000-word young adult Gothic horror novel. There is a possibility for a sequel although the manuscript could stand alone. I have degrees from Columbia and New York University, both in Film Studies, and have worked for several years producing TV documentaries. I currently live in Saint Paul, MN.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Elizabeth Runnoe



First 250 Words:


I always supposed it would be difficult to kill someone you love.  More than difficult.  It would be impossible, a gut-wrenching, mind-numbing horror that, if achieved, would haunt your soul forever. 
It has haunted me every single waking moment of my wretched life. 
You see, I did.
But if I had the opportunity, I would do it again.  I would tear his body limb from limb, extracting bone from delicate socket and shattering them into a thousand pieces.  From those shards, I would grind what was left of him into powder and then bury it miles apart so that there would be no chance his body could ever come together again.
If only I had. 
His chest weighed against the curve of my back, his breath rasping into my ear.  Gripping one arm, I dragged him down the rickety stairs, his bare feet knocking against the planks.  Outside, amorphous shadows clawed at the edges of the cobblestone street--only the moon would be witness to my heinous act tonight--and so, without looking back, we slipped into the trees. 
He was not awake and yet his lips began to murmur.  I must move quickly but how to do it?  How to kill?  A swift stone to the temple?  His skull was too thick.  Saw his head off his shoulders?  The spinal column too wiry.  A blade, then, through the center of his heart?
“But he has no heart,” I laughed a bitter cry. 
Inside the metal brackets that held his body together, I knew his chest was empty.



24 comments:

  1. Your query gave me chills! Good luck on the Writers Voice!

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  2. The first 250 is really strong, really good. Can't wait to read more of this story one day! Good Luck!

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  3. The query is so atmospheric! Best of luck!

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    1. Awesome. Atmospheric is what I was going for. I really tried to get that in there. Thanks so much!

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  4. Your query is great, and your first 250 is AWESOME. Good Luck

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    1. Thank you! And thanks also for compiling all that data! It's very interesting.

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    2. More data to follow once I've looked at the rest of the entries! :o)

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  6. So I haven't left long comments on any of the other contestants blogs, but I'm going to take the time to comment on yours. First, admittedly I felt your query could use some work, but not that much and it was very intriguing and that's what this contest is for. If you get on a team you'll get advice on how to tighten that query into something beautiful. And to be honest, I will be utterly shocked if you don't make a team because YOUR WORDS! Your first 250 had me totally enthralled and begging for more. And I don't even read horror! If for some inexplicable reason you don't get on a team, and once again I will be shocked, let me know. I would love to help you polish your query. Not that I'm an expert, but I can try to help. Now I'm kind of babbling. Frankly, I think your premise and sample pages will sell your book to an agent for requests, whether the query is improved or not. Okay, I'm done, but well done and good luck in the contest and beyond.

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    1. Wow! Thanks for taking the time to leave such a long comment! And such an encouraging one at that! Awesome! As for my query... yes, I find these so incredibly difficult to write. :( I've been revising it for so long I think my eyes are crossed. But I appreciate your offer to help. I may take you up on it depending on how this whole contest thing goes. Fingers crossed and good luck to you too!

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  7. Yeeks! This is scary. Well done! Good luck :)

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  8. I've read most of these entries and the idea behind this one is by far my favorite. That being said, you need to tighten up your query. You need to tell us the stakes more explicitly. I suspect from the 250 that he ends up decommissioning his friend, but if an agent only reads the query, the fact that he is even considering this isn't really there. If Talmage does try to kill the boy, what are the ramifications? Think of it as an if/then problem - if w then x, y, and/or z. Too much mystery in a query isn't good. Also, you really need to run it through a grammar check. I really want this one to get through, and it would suck if it didn't because you missed some commas.


    Born disfigured, 15yo Talmage does what any friendless boy would do. He makes a clockwork friend, dressed in flesh from corpses #PitMad #YA

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    1. Thanks so much for looking over my entry although now I'm feeling kind of sick to my stomach thinking that my query needs some help... ugh! In my opinion, queries are harder to write than novels. :) But I really appreciate the review and the pitmad suggestion. It's awesome you are helping people out with those!!

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  9. I write gothic horror too (although my entry in Writer's Voice isn't one). My inspiration board is here:https://www.pinterest.com/kathleea/in-darkness-we-rise-ya-gothic-victorian-horror/. Mine is a Frankenstein retelling with Jack the Ripper elements. It was in three contests already and so that's why it's not in this one. I agree your 250 is good! Good luck!

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    1. Hi Kathleen- thanks for reading! It's nice to meet another Gothic horror writer. : ) I remember the Jack the Ripper story from Pitch Madness! I was watching but didn't compete. It made me happy to see your story up there! Good luck!

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  10. I love the concept here. Even with the Frankenstein allusions, it is completely itself, creepy and evocative. Good luck!
    Connie

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    1. Thanks Connie! Frankenstein was definitely a huge inspiration for this. ;) Good luck!

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  11. I absolutely love the premise! Your writing is beautiful. Good luck Elizabeth!

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