Friday, May 25, 2012

That Succs Query and 500 words

Hey everyone! I'm posting my query and 500 words for comment for a contest (details here).  I love feedback, so lemme have it!


Dear Editor,

Fifteen-year-old Emmy Duivel believes in true love: heart flutters, first kisses, candlelight dinners, even the crazy idea that love lasts forever. Unfortunately, she's stuck in a world of non-believers--her mom and best friend’s philosophy is “men are for fun, not forever.” Invisible in their shadows and pinned under her mom’s one-night stand only rules, Emmy has kept her romance novel collection—and crush on hot classmate, Paul—hidden.

But then the school's MVP, Jake Miller, asks her out. To her own surprise, she agrees, figuring her first date is bound to be a disaster. Her mom and her best friend tell her to take it slow and avoid kissing, and even Paul warns her to be careful on the date. However, Emmy gets carried away and kisses Jake--and he almost dies. Confused and scared she finds herself being consoled by the one person she didn’t expect--Paul.

But even as things heat up between her and Paul, Emmy demands answers from her mother, who explains the devastating truth: she’s not human and there is a price to pay for it. One human life a month for the rest of her life. And to make matters worse, the one person she thought she could trust has secrets of his own that could destroy Emmy and everything she holds dear.

Finding love is hard. Finding out you can never have it, because you're a monster? That succs.

THAT SUCCS is a 50,000-word YA Paranormal. I am a member of SCBWI and a Moderator on Verla Kay's Blueboards. Thank you for your time.

Larissa Hardesty

First 500 words:

I stared in the mirror, wondering how Lily could possibly consider the piece of cloth she’d given me a dress.  It covered less than my t-shirt.
“Do you have it on yet?” she called through the door.  “Come on out.  I wanna see it.”
My cheeks reddened just thinking about walking out of the dressing room with the dress on.  “O-okay.  Uh, just a minute.”  I gave the hem one more tug, but it was as far down as it was going to get, which was less than five inches from my underwear and way too short for public viewing.  Then I had to tug the top again, since every time I pulled on the bottom, the top came down, too.  I give up.
I stepped to the door, when what I really wanted to do was take the stupid thing off and put my t-shirt and jeans back on.  Sadly, I didn’t have much of a choice.  If I didn’t come out, my best friend would insist, loudly, and by the time she got her way, there’d be a crowd.
With a sigh, I opened the door and stepped into the dressing room hallway.  My shoulders curled in as I tried to keep as much of my body inside the “dress” as possible.
“Oh, honestly, Emmy.  Stop hunching.  You look fabulous.”  She grabbed my shoulders and pulled them up and back so I stood straight, then she pushed me in front of the three-way mirror at the end of the hall.  “See?  You are totally hot.”
I looked, but all I saw was way too much of my own skin.
“Now all you need is somewhere to wear it.”
My eyes widened as I met Lily’s gray ones in the mirror.  “Uh, I am so not getting this thing.”
Ignoring my objections, she turned me around and sent me back to my stall.  “Now try on the skirt and tank.”
I rolled my eyes, but complied.  I wanted to go home, but it wasn’t worth the argument—I’d just end up doing what she wanted anyway.  It was a lot easier to do it, and then dump these “clothes” in the back of my closet and forget about them. 
While I changed, she talked through the door.  “So, I’ve been thinking you need to get out there.”
I tripped putting my leg into the skirt, and almost fell over.  “What?”
“You know, go on some dates.  Get out there.  Meet guys.  Act like you’re almost sixteen, not twelve.”
Wow.  Thanks a lot.  “Uh, why?”
She sighed.  “Because you’re almost sixteen, dummy.”
Another stall door closed, and I hoped whoever was in the dressing room with us didn’t go to our school.  The last thing I needed was people at school talking about me.  I shuddered.
Lily tapped on the door.  “Get that outfit on and get out here.  I need to check on something real quick.”  The purr in her voice told me what she wanted to check on was a guy.


  1. Whoa, love your query letter and first 500! Sounds very exciting!! Nice to meet you and good luck with the contest, fellow competitor :)

    Following along!

  2. Great query and first 500. I'm dying to know how she kills them. Does she suck out the breath of her boyfriends? Cool :) I thought your voice was spot on for the character too :) Good luck

  3. Larissa,
    Great voice, both in the query and in the first 500. Intriguing premise

  4. Okay I'm hooked. I need this to be published so I can read more of it. Excellent query. Very strong first 500. I loved the line: "My shoulders curled in as I tried to keep as much of my body inside the “dress” as possible." Well done. Good luck to you in the contest! I'm a new follower of your blog! ;)

  5. I enjoyed the query, and think the concept is great and the title quite clever. The first 500 had good voice, but was a little slow for me.

  6. Nicely done, best of luck with the contest.

  7. Very intriguing premise. Dying to know how she ever has a relationship given her curse. I'd hang around for the cure:) Clever title and a clever way of using it in the query.

    It may just be me, but the dashes in the query threw me off a bit, sort of slowed down the flow.

    The voice in the first 500 was great, but the hook was missing. It may be that it comes shortly afterward, but the first 500 is all the editor will see in this contest.

    Loved your work and I'd read on. Thanks for sharing:)

  8. Every time I see this, it gets better and better :) As you already know, I think your title is pure genius! And I also enjoy the voice so much in your first 500 that I'd keep reading even though there isn't a big hook (for me, the voice is the hook).

    The query could use a little stream-lining though, imo. Having the best friend and the mother always being mentioned together is a little awkward and confused me in some places (the very first time it came up I thought you meant that her mom was her best friend). Could you maybe cut out mention of the mom until the third paragraph? Otherwise, the query itself is strong and has a great hook!

    Best of luck in the contest :D

  9. Great premise! I loved the query too. Sounds like an awesome idea. I also like your writing and her voice. If I'd have to critique anything, I'd only suggest you spice up the opening a little. What relevance will it have to that cool premise of yours? I wish you the best of luck in the contest. :)

    -Tuere Morton

  10. Super smooth, excellent writing! I am hooked! Good luck :)

  11. Great premise, great query! Your writing is great, but I'm with Sharon that the beginning was a little slow for me ...
    Other than that, GREAT!
    Good luck!

  12. I love the title.

    I'm not so engaged with a push-over main character, though. That may be just me.

  13. - "her mom and best friend’s philosophy" I agree that this part is a little confusing. Simply rephrasing "her mom and best friend both believe..." or something similar might clear things up.
    - The dashes are a little overused, and sometimes unnecessary. Save them for when you're changing the train of thought in a sentence, otherwise they break up the flow too much.
    - "But even as things heat up between her and Paul" I was confused as to why you started this sentence with "but" - it seems that her relationship with Paul would make her want answers even more. Also, the previous paragraph started with "But", you don't want half of your paragraphs starting with the same word. I would just drop "But even" and begin with "As things..."
    - The first 500: I liked the scene, but it told me more about Lily's perspective on guys than Emmy's.
    Good Luck!

  14. Love love love your query, especially the ending. I think it's awesome. Good luck!

  15. Great query. Good luck and best wishes on the contest!

  16. I agree with the others about the "mom and best friend's rule" line - I thought you were saying that her mom is her best friend!

    I really like the premise for the whole story, though! It was easy to picture the insecure teenage girl in your 500 words, and I didn't want it to stop at the end!

  17. YES! A succubus story! I sooooo want to read this book! I have NO critique!!!

  18. PS. I LOVE the title! I knew instantly what your story was about, which I think is PERFECT for a title.