Is this one better?
Version Three (posted after feedback)
Eight-year old Scott may be a bit lazy and messy and like to pick on his sister, but when he ruins her birthday party with a well-aimed cup of worms, his fed-up parents ship him off to The Naughty Boy Factory—a place he’d always believed was about as real as Bigfoot or the Bermuda Triangle.
At The Factory—where naughty boys are transformed into perfect gentlemen—the evil director and her scary robot guards alarm Scott enough to do as he’s told. But when he discovers two of the factory’s biggest bullies have been brainwashed into perfect angels, Scott decides things have gone too far. It’s all or nothing—escape or end up re-programmed into polite, spineless, mama's boys.
****Versions one and two are still below. I decided to play with some of the feedback and see what I could come up with. Keep those hatchets sharp and hack away, people - I love it!!
Can I admit to some concept confusion? A chair factory makes chairs, so I think the Naughty Boy Factory makes naughty boys -- but are they actually turning naughty boys into brainwashed angels?
Almost there! You need to get to the climax, which is where you want to leave the agent hanging--the protag taking decisive action, but the outcome is uncertain.
Scott decides things have gone to far and... [fill in what action he takes and what's at stake if he fails].
Then it's a wrap. :-)
Your last line of the first query "It's all or nothing......."
would fit nicely at the end of this query.
I think the "mama's boy" bit is funny and adds voice.
That's HEAPS better. But I do agree with Laurel. You need that clincher!
I like the word brainwashed. This reminds me of "The Stepford Wives." How they are no longer real, just robots. Cool.
I'd love to give you some feedback, but I'm not the best when it comes to query. I do think Laurel makes a good point, but it looks great to me.
I'm still having problems with the second paragraph. It should stay in the present tense, I think. But it also strikes me as a tab bit awkward. Here's a shot at a shorter version
The Naughty Boys Factory transforms even the worst behaving boys into little 'gentlemen'. But when the evil director and her scary robots brainwashed the two biggest bullies into perfect angels, Scott decides things have gone too far. It’s all or nothing—escape or end up transformed into boring, well-mannered mama’s boys.
Oh I really like this version! Especially the mama's boys.
I like Shellie's addition to clarify in what way boys are transformed.
I like how you've tackled my suggestion. It's still a little wordy and needing zing. A stronger verb perhaps, plus some stronger stakes?
"escape or be [twisted/ warped/ contorted/ something really painful sounding here!] into polite, spineless, sissy boys."
Loads better. I must side with Laurel here. She has said what I was thinking better than I could!
Hm, close! The first clause of the first sentence trips me up a little, I think because it has so many modifiers that aren't parallel (1. a bit lazy 2. messy 3. like to pick on his sister). Is there any way to simplify that and smooth it out a bit? Also, that first clause seems to be reason to send him to the factory, but the way it's set up, implies that you're about to counter it (for example: Tommy may be messy and annoying, but he's really a great guy). So maybe just tweak the wording a bit. So something like, "Eight year old Scott may be..., but it's not until...that his parents draw the line and..."
In the second paragraph, something about the use of the word "worry" throws me off. It feels really mild. Maybe find a stronger verb with a bit more impact?
Love that last line--gives us an impression of the voice. Very nice. Fun premise, Shannon!
Good luck, sweetie! I think you're really close!
Oooh yes, I like this - it's tight and focused and scary-fun!!
I'm abit put off by the "spineless, sissy boys" though. "Spineless boring boys?".
But this is definitely good!! Take care
I'm with Carolina - the "worry" trips me up and seems a bit weak. perhaps "frightens" or "scares"?
I really like this! Although I do have to agree with Old Kitty that the "sissy" puts me off a bit; I'm not sure what to advise on that, because it totally captures Scott's voice, regardless of my own thoughts.
Okay I feel like a dbag because I have nothing to add to what everyone else has said. It's a great query and better than the other 2. It still needs just a Carolina's suggestions should get you *there*
Not an expert here; I dislike doing queries about as much as the next person. But after reading your others in the last post, I like this version. Yeah, the 'sissy' put me off a little too. Trying to think of another word like wimpy or something. If anything strikes me, will let you know. Keep at it, I'm cheering for you!
The only observation I can offer is that the Bermuda Triangle might be a little beyond an eight year olds knowledge level. Maybe Loch Ness Monster?
If it helps at all, here's something:
Eight-year old Scott may be a bit lazy and messy, but when he ruins his sister's birthday party with a well-aimed cup of worms, his fed-up parents ship him off to The Naughty Boy Factory, where the evil director and her robot guards scare Scott into doing as he’s told.
When Scott discovers two of the factory’s biggest bullies have been brainwashed into obedience, Scott decides it’s all or nothing—end up as a spineless mama's boy, or escape!
My kids all knew about the Bermuda Triangle before they were eight, so I think you're okay there.
It sounds like an intriguing story, and you already have a lot of advice in the comments. Good luck sorting through it to find what works!
Laurel and Carolina pointed out everything I was going to say. You've got awesome helpers here. Not to imply that my feedback is perfect, which is what it sounds like I'm saying...lol.
I know nothing about writing but that first sentence is huge.
I missed the versions below but this revision looks fantastic!
Just a couple of touches:
Eight-year old Scott may be lazy and messy and picks on his sister one too many times. But when he ruins her birthday party with a well-aimed cup of worms, his fed-up parents ship him off to The Naughty Boy Factory—a place where naughty boys are transformed into perfect gentlemen.
The evil director and her scary robot guards alarm Scott enough to do as he’s told. But when he discovers two of the factory’s biggest bullies have been brainwashed into perfect angels, Scott decides things have gone too far. It’s all or nothing—escape or end up re-programmed into polite, spineless, mama's boys.
Oooh, sounds good. I want to read it now!
I cracked up at "polite, spineless mama's boy".
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