The Writer's Voice Contest Entry

I was lucky enough to be randomly selected as one of the entries for The Writer's Voice contest, so I’m interrupting my regular blogging schedule to add my entry. Thank you to Krista Van Dolzer, Brenda Drake, Mónica Bustamante Wagner, Elizabeth Briggs, and their assistants for hosting such a fun contest! Here’s my entry:
 
QUERY
 
Dear Writer's Voice Judges,
 
When sixteen-year-old Brea stumbles upon a body in the woods, she can’t wait to tell the entire school – heck, the entire town – about her gruesome discovery. This time she has proof to back up one of her stories, so they can’t dismiss it as her overactive imagination. One problem: when she leads the police back to the body, it’s gone.
 
Now Brea’s reputation is completely destroyed, and the police refuse to believe there’s a killer on the loose. That’s okay, she’s watched a few CSI episodes, she'll just solve the murder herself. Decked out in yellow kitchen gloves, she searches the woods and finds evidence implicating Ryker, a classmate fresh out of juvie. The bad news? He now seems to be stalking her. Brea needs a way to investigate him with witnesses present, so she schemes to get him on her team for the annual video scavenger hunt.
 
Soon Brea, Ryker, and three other friends are performing cringeworthy tasks like modeling lingerie and juggling hemorrhoid cream. Despite her mission to expose a murderer, Brea starts to enjoy herself. After all, who would have guessed Ryker would look so adorable in a negligee? But when Brea and a teammate are almost killed, she realizes the murderer is using the hunt as a pretext to take out the entire team. With no idea who to trust, Brea must look past her embellished view of reality to uncover the truth that will save them all. 
 
THE DRAMA QUEEN WHO CRIED WOLF is a 77,000-word young adult mystery with series potential. The twists and turns pay homage to early Christopher Pike, while Brea's witty narration would make her fast friends with Veronica Mars.
 
THE DRAMA QUEEN WHO CRIED WOLF won the SCBWI 2013 Work-in-Progress Grant for Contemporary Novel for Young People. I am also one of the winners of the 2009 Highlights Fiction Contest and a 2008 South Carolina Fiction Project winner. Also, two of my screenplays won generous grants to produce them into award-winning short films. I’m also the Interview Coordinator for Adventures in YA Publishing, which has been a Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers for the past three years.
 
Thank you for your time,
Jocelyn Rish
 
 
FIRST 250
 
A white towel was a terrible outfit for trying to outrun a homicidal maniac. Although I had to admit, the woman racing through the dark forest made it look easy.
 
Until she tripped and crashed to the ground.
 
I leaned forward on the couch. “Get up! Get up!”
 
Instead of scrambling to her feet, she cowered in the leaves.
 
“Come on.” My fingers dug into the worn leather cushion. “At least grab a tree branch to defend yourself.”
 
But she only whimpered, “No, please, no,” while the killer stood over her adjusting his grip on the machete. Like begging was going to change his mind.
 
His blade whistled through the air. Thwack! Blood spurted. I grimaced and flopped back against my favorite seat in the house.
 
Something cold and wet touched my hand.
 
I yelped before my brain remembered the psycho couldn’t crawl through the TV screen to attack me. I glared at Maximus, my seventy-pound Frankenstein mutt taking up more than his fair share of the couch. “Holy crap, Max, are you trying to give me a heart attack?”
 
He chuffed in a way that sounded suspiciously like a yes and nosed my hand again.
 
“Really? You have to go out just when the movie’s getting exciting?”
 
Max blinked like he’d never do something so obnoxious. Then he barked at me.
 
I sighed, but before I could push myself off the couch, Max’s giant German Shepherd ears swiveled toward a sound that sent my heart into Riverdance mode: footsteps on the stairs.
 

Comments

Medeia Sharif's picture

This manuscript sounds amazing. I'm crossing my fingers.

Mikayla Rivera's picture

Jocelyn, I LOVE your title! Hilarious! Also, Brea comes across as such an authentic character. "That’s okay, she’s watched a few CSI episodes, she'll just solve the murder herself," is definitely my favorite line.

Wishing you luck so hardcore!

Cherie Reich's picture

Okay, I really want to read this now! Love the voice!

Annette T. Dodd's picture

Good luck in the competition! (Is there any way you can enable a subscription to this post, btw? Is this a YA novel or NA? Also, are you on Twitter?)

Jocelyn Rish's picture

Thanks! I've never been able to figure out a way to enable subscriptions to posts on this platform - sorry! And thank you for pointing out I left YA out of my query. I tweaked the structure of my usual query and can't believe I cut that out. *facepalm* It's fixed now. :-)

DJ Siciliano's picture

This seems like it's a lot of fun mixed in with a crazy murder mystery. Want to read this so much! Good Luck!

Suja's picture

Amazing voice. I love mysteries and I would read this. Best of luck :)

Raven's picture

I love LOVE LOVEEEE the first line. This sounds amazing. The voice is spot on and the query is perfect. Best of luck with this!

Kristin Smith's picture

Wow, your query is AMAZING and I absolutely loved your first 250!! Can I just say VOICE?! Your voice is incredible. Loved it. Keeping my fingers crossed for you (and myself). :)

Shawn Humphrey's picture

This was a fun read and a well-planned query.

Alex Scholldorf's picture

How fun! Love how you craft the dog's "expressiveness!"

Athena Franco's picture

This premise is so great! Love it.

Elizabeth Runnoe's picture

What a great entry! I was instantly hooked. So much fun to read. Good luck!

Michelle Merrill's picture

Ooh! Lovin' this! Great job and best of luck :)

Kip Wilson Rechea's picture

Wow! Fantastic query and amazing opener. This seriously gave me chills!

Ashlyn Kravitz's picture

Great query and 250! Good luck.

Caryn Caldwell's picture

This sounds WONDERFUL! I love that she's smart enough to follow Ryker around with witnesses, and the scavenger hunt sounds like a great subplot. Good luck with it!!

Caryn Caldwell's picture

P.S. Your comp titles had me totally invested, too! Christopher Pike meets Veronica Mars? Count me in for sure!!

Jocelyn Rish's picture

Thanks, y'all, for stopping by and leaving such lovely comments! I really appreciate the words of encouragement!!

Amanda H.'s picture

Wow! This sounds like something I would love!

Elizabeth Briggs's picture

Hey Jocelyn! I really loved your entry, but I didn't pick it because I've seen it in quite a few other contests already and I tried to pick entries that were new to make sure the agents got something they hadn't seen before. Plus, your query and opening are already so strong, I wasn't sure I would have much to offer you as a mentor! Just keep querying, and I'm sure you'll have great success with this! Good luck!

Jocelyn Rish's picture

Thank you so much for circling back around to tell me this!! Querying can be a rough slog sometimes, so these words of encouragement and vote of confidence mean so much to me. Thank you!!

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