Monday, April 12, 2010

Entry 13

Genre: YA Mystery

Jennifer Roby’s editor for the student newspaper assigns her to write about the charred skeleton found in the university’s ceramics kiln. Her article reports the skeleton was fake, placed there as a prank according to the campus police detective. The students who discovered the skeleton protest to her with graphic descriptions of the remains.

Believing the students, Jennifer seeks answers from civil and university personnel. Her editor orders her to stop investigating, but he’s too late: she discovers the bones are human. She schemes to thwart the lies and roadblocks as evidence of the cover-up reaches higher in the university. Threats to her safety are set in motion. Jennifer races to unravel the crime and expose the cover-up before the stalker succeeds in stopping her.

Clear and Convincing Evidence is complete at 77,000 words.


  1. This sounds interesting. You've got me wondering how she will get out of danger.

  2. This sounds like a really good premise, but a little too gory maybe for me. The whole idea of a body in a kiln, though, is intriguing.

    Your second paragraph seems a bit choppy to me. Hopefully that's just my opinion. But then you just throw a stalker out there without any warning, and that throws me off. I think you need a bit more detail there.

    Good luck with this!

  3. I suggest you start with your protag taking action instead of starting with her in the more passive role of receiving an assignment. Sounds intriguing though.... Good luck with it!

  4. I like the premise a lot. This sounds like a great read. That being said, I think you're missing voice and urgency in this query. The premise is something that should be kind of spooky and urgent, but I don't feel that in the query.

    However, it does sound interesting. Good luck!

  5. This is an interesting premise, but I wanted a little more detail. Right now, the query seems to boil down to: Someone covered up a murder, Jennifer wants to find the truth. We need a bit more than that to see how this story differs from every other murder mystery.

  6. I agree with the above comment. Revise the first sentence so Jennifer is the subject, no the editor. Overall, this query has a very journalistic feel to it, which may represent the voice of the project, considering she's a reporter, but I think it could still have a little more personality.

    Try to write the query as if Jennifer is telling her story (even write it in first person first, then switch to 3rd person in the final draft.)

    Sounds like a great mystery premise, and it definitely stands out in the current publishing climate where paranormal and fantasy seems to be the rule.

    Good luck!

  7. Jamie Weiss ChiltonApril 27, 2010 at 10:29 PM

    Is Jennifer in high school or college? If college, this will be a difficult sell as YA, since the vast majority of YA features pre-college aged teens.

    I'd like to know more about Jennifer, so I can begin to connect with her even in the query. I'd like to get a sense of her voice. You have room to expand this query -- I recommend adding some showing details about her character.

    Who's the stalker -- mentioned only in the last sentence? This query is so short that I'm left feeling confused and unclear on the story.

    You've really boiled down the story here, too much, in my opinion. I want to get a strong sense of the story arc and main character.


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