Query Critiques from Fresh as a Daisy

Daisy at Fresh as a Daisy (http://www.daisycarter.com) is prepping writers for a pitch contest with agent Tricia Lawrence.

As preparation, we’re encouraged to post our query letters here for critique. Here’s mine:

Dear Supreme Amazing Agent,

(Say why I chose this agent.)  I hope you may be interested in my Contemporary Young Adult novel OUTSIDE IN (52,000 words).

Super-brain Alexis likes everything exactly so. Perfect prep school grades.  School supplies arranged eight inches apart at exact angles. Timed phone calls with her mother. Scheduled hook-ups with her boyfriend Ben on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. As long as her longstanding self-destructive streak is hidden, all is well.

When Alexis receives a B on an essay and then endures an excruciating break-up with her boyfriend, her once orderly life starts to spin out of control. And now the precise angles lay on her leg in parallel lines, each cut an inch apart, one for each day since Ben broke up with her. She bangs her head, burns herself—anything to self-soothe and assert some control.

After her friend Miranda accidentally glimpses her scars, Alexis feels even more trapped. Now she must survive weekly therapy sessions with a counselor, forced disclosure to her parents, and worst of all: dismissal from school if she doesn’t get better. It’s up to Alexis to pull herself out of the mire—if she even wants to.

As an educator and a teacher consultant for the National Writing Project, I know how much the stories of others can speak to teenagers trying to make sense of their own lives. Although there have been other novels about cutting (for example, Patricia McCormick’s Cut and Cheryl Rainfield’s Scars), OUTSIDE IN examines the correlation between perfectionism and self-harm, a survival mechanism for intense pressure.

I am a member of SCBWI and belong to several critique groups. I am also working on two other YA projects.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Lisa R.

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New Year’s Resolution update

At the beginning of the year, I pledged to read at least 100 books for 2012, and that at least 50 would be YA or MG. 100 books was no problem last year, but I think I only had 30 or so that weren’t adult.

So, since it’s almost halfway through the year, let’s see how I’m doing. You have to keep me honest, after all!

Overall stats:

33 books read. Not good. I really, truly think it’s because of Twitter. I’m following so many people (mostly agents and authors) that it takes me forever to catch up on it. And Scramble with Friends… I have an unspeakable addiction to you. Maybe I need to leave my phone downstairs and make bedtime sacred for reading only.

-16 YA/MG titles. The good thing here is that’s almost exactly half of my total reading. So that’s a better ratio than last year.

Man, I just realized what a total *nerd* I am. Never mind. Anyone who’s reading this probably is too. Or is a friend who has long accepted my nerdhood.

Best adult reads so far:

The Lone Wolf – Jodi Picoult

11/22/63 – Steven King

IQ84 – Hashuru Murakami

The Lover’s Dictionary – David Levithan

Best YA/MG reads so far:

Delirium – Lauren Oliver

Lock and Key – Sarah Dessen

Bitter End – Jennifer Brown

Freak the Mighty – Rodman Philbrick

DISCLAIMER: There may or may not have been multiple James Patterson and (shh!) E.L. James books on this list


Next on the TBR list:

The Future of Us – Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake – Aimee Bender

Calico Joe – John Grisham

Six Sentence Sunday 6/10/12

This is from a new story, maybe 1,000 words written  so far.

Izzy and Matt slouched against her locker, him leaning on her, pressing her arms at her sides, kissing her hard enough that they were the only ones in the hallway or maybe the school. Izzy’s torso crumpled in but she didn’t care—Matt’s weight rebuilt her, and if her hair got messed up, so much the better. It gave her that loved/smeared look she wore like a crown. Matt’s girlfriend. Matt’s skin and lips and hair and legs.

The bell rang and they unhooked from each other.

The Versatile Blogger Award

 

Thank you so much to Valerie R. Lawson over at http://valerierlawson.wordpress.com/ for the Versatile Blogger award! Be sure to check out her blog.

Here are the rules for this one:

1. Thank the person who gave you this award.
2. Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly that are excellent.
Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award. (Fifteen? There’s just no way. I don’t follow enough blogs, yet. I’m working on it!)
3.Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

 

1. These last three years have been the first years since I was in elementary school that I haven’t sung in any music groups.

2. I played the principal in a high school production of “Grease.”

3. I’m an only child.

4. I had my mother for a French teacher for two years in high school.

5. I love to memorize the names of my students, alphabetically by first name.

6. I fell off a fire engine in 1st grade. (My husband likes to say, “That explains A LOT.”)

7. My 6 year old just dedicated a book she wrote at school to Tyra Banks. Where did this child come from?

 

OTHER BLOGGERS-

I only got to 10, and I bet if I spent lots of time checking, a bunch of them would have this award already. But here are some blogs that I follow and have been enjoying:

1. Slushpile Hell (http://slushpilehell.tumblr.com)

2. Shannon Messenger (http://ramblingsofawannabescribe.blogspot.com)

3.Cassie’s Reading, Writing, and Lovin’ It (http://readingwritingandlovinit.blogspot.com/)

4.Krista Van Dolzer’s Mother. Write.  (Repeat) (http://motherwrite.blogspot.com)

5. Angela Cothrans’  Live to Write…  Edit When Necessary (http://livetowrite1.blogspot.com)

6. Casey McCormick’s Literary Rambles (http://www.literaryrambles.com)

7. Lisa and Laura Write (http://lisa-laura.blogspot.com)

8. Kate Messner’s blog (http://www.katemessner.com/blog/)

9. Cupid’s Literary Connection (http://cupidslitconnection.blogspot.com)

10. R.C. Lewis’ Crossing the Helix (http://crossingthehelix.blogspot.com)

Carry on, bloggers!