Query Critique 62

For twenty-two-year-old Phoebe Lawrence, life has always resembled a project managed by her parents.

Although she’s been over parented, Phoebe is content with life that she has. Her world suddenly collapses when, due to huge debts, her parents can no longer afford her college fees, sell their fancy house and get divorced, not to mention her boyfriend leaves her without a word of explanation. This sentence has a lot of good conflict in it, but is worded very awkwardly. No more plans, fixed arrangements or busy schedules, and, most of all, the chance to take charge of her own life.

As a victim of overprotective parents, it’s hard for Phoebe to find herself in a new reality full of risks, confrontations and decision making. She’s lost and insecure. To pull herself together she takes part in the 100 Happy Days challenge – the social media experiment aimed at reaching long term happiness. For the next three months, each day Phoebe is supposed to take a picture of something that makes her content. Along the way she meets Chris, her neighbor and son of her employers in one person. The “in one person” bit is a bit awkward sounding. He’s the type of a guy whom she can’t stand – an emotionally flat, careless playboy. Initially, Phoebe gets irritated whenever Chris is around, and consistently blows him off. Nevertheless, the more time she spends with him, the more she’s made sure he’s more complex than she expected. This sentence also could be reworded to sound a little smoother. Chris is the total opposite of Phoebe, he emanates rebelliousness and courage, and has never abandoned himself to please anybody. With the help of Chris and the challenge, Phoebe comes to realize that the life which she used to have was like imprisonment. Yet, it’s hard for someone whose level of trust and confidence in the world are critical, to start taking risks and making steps towards a fulfilled, free life. Further complicating matters is the fact that Phoebe clearly has a crush on Chris, but at the same time is haunted by the feelings for her ex-boyfriend, whom she accidentally runs into one day. Phoebe’s terrified because she has to, as never before, make a lot of groundbreaking decisions that will have a bearing on her life. I think this would be stronger if it ended with a stronger sense of the stakes. What does Phoebe stand to lose? Also, this paragraph is way long. I’d split it up. Don’t underestimate the power of white space.

Complete at 150,000 words, 100 Happy Days is a New-Adult fiction novel set in New York. Fiction novel is redundant, as novels are by definition fictional. I would call it a New Adult contemporary novel.

Thank you,
2 Many Choices

2 thoughts on “Query Critique 62

  1. Based on all the guidelines I’ve read, this word count seems very high for the contemporary fiction genre. Shouldn’t 40,000 to 50,000 words be edited out for an agent to take it seriously and not press ‘delete’?

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