Thursday, October 6, 2016

PitchWars Critique - FREAKSHOW

I LOVE being a mentor for PitchWars. BUT there is one bad part - having to choose just one manuscript to mentor when there are so many ones with so much potential. 

And so, wanting to give something back to those who chose Demitria Lunetta and myself as one of the mentor teams to submit to, we decided to offer first page and query cirtiques on our blogs. Demitria will be hosting critiques on her blog on Tuesdays, while mine will be here on Thursdays. Our decision to do this via our blogs, rather than a private email, is so that (hopefully!) everyone can learn a little bit from this feedback. 

And for anyone out there looking for personalized feedback, I also offer manuscript critique services which you can find more out about here 

Trapped within depths of Hell, seventeen-year-old Freakshow is content spending his eternal damnation torturing sinners, warping their bodies into hideous abominations known as Freaks, and performing drag in dresses made of human flesh for the Devil’s amusement. I feel like as the first introduction of your character this is a bit off-putting. I like how specific you are, but maybe soften it a bit by saying Freakshow copes with eternal damnation rather than that he is content with it? 

However, when the Devil demands Freakshow ascend to Earth and corrupt a heavy metal band known as The Darkest Star, he suddenly finds himself coming face to face with horrors he thought were buried along with his corpse. Why does the devil want to corrupt this heavy metal band? And what are the exact horrors that Freakshow comes face to face with? 

Armed with a backpack full of makeup and a penchant for mutilation, Freakshow finds that his mission, much like Heaven and Hell, isn’t just black and white. Okay, maybe a bit more detail on specifically how he plans to act out his mission? As he falls for both the band’s transgendered guitarist, Gio, and Priscilla, the school’s “slut,” Freakshow must defy the Devil and save the band from a fate worse than death…an eternity with him. Nice last line. 

FREAKSHOW is a YA horror novel complete at roughly 71,000 words  I like dark YA but this strikes me as really REALLY dark. You might have a bit more success selling this concept with some really good comps. Also this query is a little on the thin side. I think you could beef it up with a few more specifics to make it really shine.

First Page:

The lips on Marie’s severed head curled into a sneer when I walked in. Her beady eyes, thick and heavy with lead based eye shadow, narrowed as I passed behind her mirror. Just her headless body I know what you're trying to say, but the phrasing here is awkward began applying a truly hideous shade of red lipstick to her chapped lips; I snatched the tube from her and flipped her off as I made my way down the rows of old and broken vanities.
Marie let out a low growl and picked up a wooden hairbrush. The wig she was wearing tonight was a hideous thing: big, white, and at least two feet high. Occasionally, if you turn your body just right, you could see the tiny little trinkets expertly woven into the human hair. The entire thing made me gag, and not in the good way. Is there a good way to gag?
"The French Revolution was so 200 years ago." I told her, stripping the T-shirt from my body. My hairless torso was sticky with sweat and blood. I ran my fingers between my pectorals as I gazed into Marie's bejeweled vanity.
"You're so fucking late," Norma bellowed as she sashayed towards me, all ready done up like a good little pin-up girl.

I think this is a good beginning. You immediately put us into the world and give us a feel for what it's like. I would maybe like to get a bit more sense of how does Freakshow feels about this place, the people in it, and his own place there as well?

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