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Covers, Blurbs, 1st Line, Query > YA western query help needed

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message 1: by J.F. (new)

J.F. Smith | 1 comments Hi all! I've finished the first draft of my query and am in need of feedback. Thanks for your help!

In the 1886 Utah Territory, bounty hunters themselves aren't rare but female ones are. Rebecca Steward takes advantage of this by using her gender to get close to the unsuspecting outlaws she tracks. After all, no outlaw ever thought a female would pose them any threat. Rebecca has spent years perfecting her aim and scanning wanted posters, all so she can someday successfully find and kill the pair of outlaws who murdered her family a decade earlier.

The duo comes sauntering back into her life when they take a sheriff hostage. Rebecca reluctantly partners with the sheriff’s son, Jack, to pursue the outlaws. Plans for the sheriff’s rescue are ditched when he is found dead. Vengeance for her family then becomes Rebecca’s primary goal. Jack, thanks to his religious upbringing, is not so set on revenge, but still stays with her. Rebecca has always been able to count on her pistol, but she slowly learns to depend on Jack too. But distance grows between the two as Rebecca becomes further obsessed with her vengeance. Though she is prepared to take the outlaws’ lives, they refuse to submit so easily. As both the desperation and danger surge, Rebecca is forced to decide how willing she is to lose her life and how far she’ll go to get justice for her family's killers.

message 2: by Raquel (new)

Raquel Cortes | 9 comments Hi, J.F. You did a good job stating who Rebecca is and what she wants but the stakes aren't clear or strong enough. What's getting in her way to achieve vengeance?

message 3: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments You really don't have a query, you only have the blurb. Which is OK, given the blurb is the biggest part of the query.

The blurb is 'too long' at 221 words, as the supposed sweet spot is 100-150. My feeling is you have a lot of redundant and low information content words and sentences and can tighten it up considerably. My stab at it is below.

I agree with Raquel in that we have no idea what's keeping her from vengeance.

Perhaps this can give you some ideas (131 words):

Rebecca Steward is a bounty hunter in 1886 Utah Territory. She uses her gender to get close, outlaws don’t see women as a threat. She’s spent her life scanning wanted posters, to find the men who murdered her family.

She gets her chance when the men take a sheriff hostage. Working with Jack, the sheriff’s son, they find the hostage dead. Jack is able to rise above the need for vengeance, though still rides in pursuit of justice.

Rebecca and Jack learn to rely on each other as they track the men. They prove elusive, though, and Rebecca is more willing to take risks to corner them than Jack. Rebecca’s behavior is pushing her into a choice: throw away her life in vengeance or work with Jack to find an alternative.

Good luck!

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