Snow Globe #QueryKombat critique party

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Title: Snow Globe
Word Count: 38,000
Genre: MG Fantasy Horror

Milo is not just any dog; he is twelve-year-old Lily’s best friend, hero and confidante. Especially since her parents seem to have forgotten she even exists. So the ‘No Dog’ policy at their soon-to-be new house is not an option. Yet this fact has passed by her parents with only a brief blip, who are failing to take action to stop the move. It leaves Lily with no choice but to run away with Milo.

Getting sucked into her Grandpa’s magic snow globe was not part of her plan, but hey, the magical world of Silver Moon is perfect. Coincidence? The Queen of the land treats them as family. They live in a castle. Milo has a velvet bed. At last Lily feels like she belongs somewhere. So what’s with Milo’s bad attitude? He warns her something’s not right, that the people smell rotten. They fight. Lily leaves to lunch with the Queen and returns to find him gone.

Tick tock. The game is on. Can she find Milo before it is too late, and she is lost forever?

First 250 words:

Lily Ellis wished her parents had waited until after breakfast for their latest fight. Or chosen to have it anywhere other than the kitchen. She was hungry. But knowing better than to walk in on them mid row, she waited at the top of the stairs and stared at the wonky family photo slipped off its nail. Not surprising after all the recent door slamming. Hanging lopsided, their smiling faces looked ready to fall out of the frame and on to the floor. She straightened it up; saving them all and wishing it were as simple as that in real life.
Milo nudged her hand with his nose. Thank God she had him. Her hero dog, her best friend, rescued four years ago when she was eight, from a shelter when no one else wanted him. Funny, it felt like he’d been rescuing her ever since.
His ears pricked up at the sound of his name.
‘I heard that too.’ What did Milo have to do with anything? ‘Come on.’ They crept down the stairs and waited at the bottom, listening.
‘Well at least we’ll save some money,’ she heard her mum shout.
‘I can’t believe you just said that,’ her dad shouted back.
‘Look, I’m just trying to find the good in all this.’
‘There is nothing good about this. Nothing good at all. Milo has to go. Tell me how that’s good?’
No, no, no. Lily must’ve heard that wrong.
‘Fine. I know, okay?’ her mum said. ‘It’s not good. But there’s nothing we can do. We have to find him a new home.’

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17 thoughts on “Snow Globe #QueryKombat critique party

  1. This looks pretty good to me.Maybe cut the “she heard her mum shout” and make it “her mum shouted.” And just say hero instead of hero dog (since we already know Milo is a dog.)

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    1. And yes he talks once he’s in the magical world. Hmm will see if I can mention without being clunky. Thanks.

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  2. Love the concept of being sucked into a snow globe! I was somewhat caught off guard by the transition from what seems like a MG contemporary to MG fantasy. I know the genre is listed, but it felt jarring. I would like just a hint at the significance of the snow globe and some magic.

    She runs away to keep her dog. If she gets home, will any of what happened in the globe change anything (her perspective, her understanding, the reality)? I feel like there isn’t a connection between the home problem, the fantasy world problem, and the ultimate resolution of the problem (to keep her dog/not move).

    Hope this is helpful. My story has similar elements, so I have grappled with these issues quite a bit.

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    1. All the answers to your questions are in the story….I’m not sure if/how to make it go into the query. I see what you mean though. Very helpful. Thanks.

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  3. The first paragraph was clear. I have on nitpick about grammar. You write:
    “Yet this fact has passed by her parents with only a brief blip, who are failing to take action to stop the move.”
    The antecedent to “who” here seems to be “blip”.

    The second paragraph could use a little tightening and the stakes could be clarified a bit. I get that the dog is sensing danger and then he disappears. But why is it that if she doesn’t find Milo, she’ll be stuck there forever?

    Good luck!

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  4. This sounds intriguing, and I got caught up with your first 250. To add on to others’ feedback, I was thrown of with “Tick tock the game is on.” I love this line but was looking for more clarity. You have room to add this. What’s going on? What game? As in does she have to do things to get Milo back or is she just looking for him? What happens if she doesn’t find him? And the connection between reality and the snow globe world needs to be strengthened, as previously stated in an above feedback. Thanks for joining in, and I had fun reading this. Good luck!

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  5. Hi! Love the idea of getting lost in a snow globe — since that is what is special and unique about your story, I would lead with that somehow. How can your story about a child and pet stand out? Make the snow globe the lead. Great idea!

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    1. Thank you! You are right. Reading others openers, mine seemed unexciting, until I changed the hook line to include the snow globe. Wow you guys. Thanks.

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  6. I love the idea of being inside the snow globe. I can already imagine the book’s cover. 😉 Here are my comments on the query. Good luck!

    Milo is not just any dog; he is twelve-year-old Lily’s best friend, hero and confidante. Especially since her parents seem to have forgotten she even exists. So the ‘No Dog’ policy at their soon-to-be new house is not an option. Yet this fact has passed by her parents with only a brief blip, who are failing to take action to stop the move. [<-I don't think you need this sentence] It leaves Lily with no choice but to run away with Milo.

    Getting sucked into her Grandpa’s magic snow globe was not part of her plan, but hey, the magical world of Silver Moon is perfect. Coincidence? [<-I'm not sure what this means] The Queen of the land treats them as family. They live in a castle. Milo has a velvet bed. At last Lily feels like she belongs somewhere. [I like all these short sentences] So what’s with Milo’s bad attitude? [nice voice] He warns her something’s not right, that the people smell rotten. They fight. [If he can talk, I think it would be good to indicate that. Maybe in one of those short sentence "And now Milo can even talk to her" or something like that] Lily leaves to lunch with the Queen and returns to find him gone.

    Tick tock. The game is on. Can she find Milo before it is too late, and she is lost forever? [I'd like to see more at the end here. I don't understand how not finding him means she's lost forever. Does she have to fight to get back home? What quest does she have to go on or what decision does she have to make in order to save them both?]

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  7. Judy – you did it again! I also agree with her. The snow globe is so unique, referencing it in the first paragraph somehow–maybe a hook line–would make this pop. The transition from reality to the world in the snow globe was a bit jarring. Maybe you can add another sentence in how she and her dog end up in her Grandpa’s snow globe. The last paragraph, I would really try to bring as much detail as you can about what happens in the snow globe, without giving away any spoilers. You have room to expand! I like your 250. I really love your voice.

    Good job and good luck!

    (I know very little about this age group to you can take or leave my suggestions 🙂

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  8. SPot on! I’ve changed it up to include a hook line about the snow globe. I’ve smoothed the transition too and I’ve brought in detail with spoilers! Thank you so much.

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