Friday, September 23, 2011

Query #36: "Hard Nox" by Anonymous

This query is from an anonymous writer for the novel Hard Nox. Thank you, Anonymous, for the honour of allowing me to work on and post this!

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ORIGINAL QUERY

Nox Somner is a human lightning rod for tragedy. Parents, foster parents, brother, her goldfish – everyone she loves dies. She is terrified of getting close to people, of what could happen to them. Until she meets someone with nothing to fear– Death, himself.

Grim has a proposition. The boy Nox loves is next to die. Grim will spare Memphis if she helps Grim out of a tiny jam. A lost bet led to Grim's boatman hiding out as mortal River Crowe at Nox’s High School for the past year. Now he refuses to return. With no way to get across, the stack-up of souls this side of the River Styx is becoming dangerous to the living.

To save Memphis, she must convince River to go back. Not on the Reaper’s List, River can’t be taken against his will. She tries to bargain with him, but the only thing he wants in exchange for his return is Nox. If she won’t offer herself up, she has to kill him. Easy as falling off a ladder. She just has to get close enough to let the lightning strike. But once she’s close to River, can she really trade the boy who will never love her back for the one who understands her better than anyone else ever will?

HARD NOX is a 77,000-word YA Paranormal set in River Styx, Ohio.

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GOBLIN-EDIT

Nox Somner is a human lightning rod for tragedy. Her parents, her foster parents, her brother, her goldfish – everyone she loves dies. She is terrified of getting close to people, until she meets someone with nothing to fear–-Death, himself.

Grim has a proposition. The boy that Nox loves is next to die, but Grim will spare him if Nox helps Grim out of a tiny jam. A lost bet led to his boatman hiding out as teenager at Nox’s High School, and now the boatman refuses to return. With no way to get across, the stack-up of souls this side of the River Styx is becoming dangerous to the living.

Not on the Reaper’s List, the boatman can’t be taken against his will, so Nox tries to bargain, but all the boatman wants in exchange for his return is Nox's love. If she won’t offer herself up, she has to kill him.

Easy as falling off a ladder. Nox just has to get cosy enough to let her bad luck strike again. But as she grows closer to the boatman, Nox realizes she might not want to trade this boy who understands her better than anyone for the one who will never love her back.

HARD NOX is a 77,000-word YA Paranormal set in River Styx, Ohio.


Have any thoughts about either the original or the re-written query? Please join the discussion in the comment thread!

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1 comment:

  1. What I thought was done well:

    Well, this was pretty darned awesome already! The query has a great voice, smooth and professional writing, and an engaging premise. It starts at the inciting incident and builds up the stakes nicely. Excellent work!

    What I thought could be improved:

    My main quibble is that there are too many names to keep straight, so I've referred to a few of these fellows by their function within the story instead of by name.

    My other reservation was with the 2nd-to-last paragraph, which I found confusing. I didn't immediately make the connection between the "lightning" reference and the "human lightning rod" from the first paragraph, so I had to read that line more than once.

    The other point of confusion was in telling which boy is which in that paragraph's final sentence. Is River the one who will never love her back, or Memphis? I couldn't quite tell; I took a guess, in my re-write, that it was Memphis.

    What I think remains to be improved in the edited query:

    It'd be nice to add just a wee a bit more sizzle to the very end of that 2nd-to-last paragraph, perhaps in the form of one last reminder that her love could prove deadly? You seem to have an excellent grasp of how to write a zippy sentence, so I'll leave that task to you.


    Again, this was really good! Best of luck with your querying; it sounds like a really fun book.

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