Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Here we are again....

Arrrggg!!!! It's never going to be right. Here we are again. Please critique away.

Dear Agent,

A mystical fire threatens to eradicate eighteen year old, Bridget O'Malley's lifeline.

Flames will devour the boy next door, Laurent Stephens. She knows this, because she's able to live in two moments at once. She's lived this moment enough to know to fear it; she also knows she can't save him. Though saving him might prove easier if Laurent would man up and admit he loves her. Admit the love they've both been denying for four years. New boy, Damian Cooper, enters the mix and Bridgt is ready to kick them both to the curb when she learns they're lying to her. Laurent knows Damian is more than what he seems and Damian just knows too much about Laurent. If she doesn't uncover the truth behind the secrets and lies a phantom fire will steal what matters to her most.

Phantom Fires is a young adult paranormal romance complete at 90,000 words. I'm an active member of YALITCHAT, SCBWI, and RWA. I blog at


  1. Beth, I almost don't recognize this since the last time you posted your query. Well done! The one thing I found strange is that in the first line you refer to Laurent as the love of Bridget's life, but in the next paragraph you say they have a love/hate relationship. That felt a little funny to me. The only other comment I have is that a lot of the focus is on the two boys, yet I suspect Bridget is your MC. Can you shift the focus a little to get more of her in here?

  2. Hi Beth,

    I like the premise for the story. I think with a little polishing and more of the plot here this can shine.

    In the first paragraph "next door" needs to be deleted. It feels unnecessary. Also in the same sentence shouldn't there be a comma after "until". And I agree with Kelly, there is too much about the boys, not enough about Bridget. Also there is little plot reveal here. Actual events. The agent wants to be teased by what will happen. Not how the mc will feel about what will happen but what actually happens. I like how you say she can live in two moments...elaborate on this. What is that moment that she fears above all other moments.

  3. Came through for the hone your skills blogfest.

    This is a good pitch if you can rework that first sentence, the hook? All the best with the queries.

  4. Hi, Beth -- I came through for the Hone Your Skills blogfest, too. Sorry, I am no where near the querying phase, so I'm no help at all. :( If you post something for the blogfest later today, I'll come by and leave my comments for you.

  5. It's close so don't freak out! I agree with most of what Kelly said regarding the query. Another line or two on the MC, and maybe mention one more specific twist in the story.

  6. There's a lot of voice in this, which is great! My only problem was when you say their relationship goes from "love/hate" to "do or die." I'm not really sure what this means, especially with the next sentence of Laurent becoming overprotective. The sentences don't seem to fit together. Also, the transition from the boys not being honest with her to Bridget's abilities seems a little sudden, like the subject changed without notice.

    It's still needs some work flowing together, but I love how this is going. Your voice is phenomenal and I think you'd really catch someone's interest with this. I know I want to read it.

  7. Much better. Flow should improve so read that second paragraph outloud.
    This is an awkward sentence, "She can’t save him but she knows they’re coming because she’s able to live in two moments at once." (with both but and because so you may want to break it up. Other than that, it rocks!

  8. Simply said: I hate the query process. Blech.

    Your query is close, but I don't think it's quite there yet.

    Think in terms of:
    1. Main Character
    2. The choice MC has to make
    3. What will happen if she chooses one way or the other
    4. What is the worst thing that could happen if she chooses wrong

    I'm not an expert, but I hope this helps a little.

    I stopped by for the blogfest.

  9. I like this, though I think that Bridget needs to be more of the focus. I wish you all the best with this.

  10. Here's my suggested query:

    A mystical fire threatens to eradicate eighteen-year-old Bridget O’Malley’s next door neighbor.

    Bridget is able to live in two moments at once and has watched flames devour Laurent Stephens repeatedly. Despite trying to save him, Bridget discovers to her horror that she can't.

    Not that he would appreciate her saving him. Bridget wishes Laurent would man up and admit he loves her, admit the love they’ve both been denying for four years. New boy, Damian Cooper, enters the mix, and Bridget starts to rethink her relationship with Laurent when she learns both boys are lying to her. If Bridget doesn’t uncover the truth behind the secrets and lies, a phantom fire will steal what matters to her most.

    Good luck!