Monday, June 15, 2015

QK Round 2: Teenagers Make Poor James Bond vs. A Girl and Her Serial Killer

[removed per author request]


Entry Nickname: A Girl and Her Serial Killer
Title: The Confidant
Word count: 62k
Genre: NA Thriller


18-year-old Stella Stokes has a secret: Gideon, a dashing English serial killer in the novels Stella writes, actually talks to her. He’s been by her side, offering somewhat twisted peanut gallery commentary, advice, and affection for every pathetic turn in her adolescent life. Sure, some of the darker suggestions he makes scare her, but she’s never been worried about his presence. After all, she’s the only one who can interact with him; he can’t really kill anyone.

The summer following high school graduation, Stella and her best friend, supernatural-obsessed, trans man Quinn, decide to take a few weeks to explore California. However, their first stop at an idyllic beach town isn’t quite as calming as they would’ve hoped: a prank-gone-horribly-wrong leaves Quinn and Stella standing over four dead bodies. As they clean up the mess and beeline out of town as fugitives, Stella can’t help but notice Gideon’s signature all over the murders.

Now, Stella has no choice but to figure out what Gideon is: ghost, demon, byproduct of mental illness, or something else entirely. Because, well, if Gideon is more than an imaginary friend, not only could he really begin a murder spree, but maybe he really does want Stella to kill with him. As bodies stack up around her, Stella has to remain one step ahead of the authorities, keep Quinn safe, and most importantly, prove that the creator is more powerful than the creation.

First 250 words:

"You're barmy if you don't think a paid professional screwing up your haircut is enough reason to kill them.”

I open my drawer and snatch the first two pieces of water-friendly fabric I see. The unsolicited advice is coming from Gideon as he lies on my bed, tossing a dragon figurine around. This conversation has been going on for five minutes, and I’m just about done.

“No, Gideon, you’re…whatever you just said if you think I'm going to murder someone because she cut my hair too short,” I say. “Besides, you’re English. Your people would rather suffer in silence than complain about a subpar haircut. Turn around.”

Gideon rolls his eyes and turns his back to me. I slip into my bikini.

“This figurine is a good density. An ideal bludgeoning weapon—”

“Don’t change the subject.”

I reach for my cover-up, but stop as Gideon wraps his arms around my waist.

“C’mon, poppet. Have I steered you wrong before?”

I swallow an answer as he presses his lips to my throat. The moment almost lasts, but a thunk from inside my bathroom brings me back to reality: my best friend Quinn is changing in there, and when he comes out, he won’t be able to see Gideon.

I should probably stop and explain something.

I'm the only person who can see/touch/hear/smell/taste Gideon. Call him my imaginary serial killer friend.

I pull away and put my dragon back on the shelf. It is dense.


  1. Judges, please reply to this comment.

    1. This is another tough one. There's a lot to like about both entries.

      James Bond: This is a note I'm giving a lot, which is that I think you can streamline the query by focusing on character, stakes, conflict. Make sure everything is very specific. I.e. I don't know what a ruinous collision course is. But if you tell me he's going to be pursued by zombie robots, I'm much more intrigued. You also have a typo. It should read "Tyler's revelations." The writing in the 250 is very good, but could be dialed up a bit by focusing on his senses, so we feel like we are there in the scene. Good job!

      Girl and her Serial Killer:

      This is a great idea for a story. The tone sounds a little young to me, not quite NA. It reads more like YA, which may be a better home for it, especially since the MC is only 18. I think you can get rid of some filler words in the query like "Because, well" and "somewhat." The voice is there without having to rely on extra words. The 250 is fun. I don't love the MC talking directly to the reader, but overall, I really enjoyed it.


    2. James Bond:
      Combine the second and third paragraphs of the query. Otherwise, I don't feel like I have much to critique. You've given me character, conflict, and takes. There's good voice in the query. I understand what the book is about, and I'd really like to read it. Well done.

      I love the idea of a brainwashed assassin that's fighting his training. However, at the end of the first 250, I question the line that his thoughts go against his programming - how would he know that he's programmed at this point? He can be uneasy or question where those thoughts come from, but that line jumps out as not really being right.

      Serial Killer:

      Love the changes you've made to this query. Great stakes at the end. I'm a little nervous about the word count - if this is NA, not YA like it was originally said, then the word count may be a bit too short for print. NA has to fit adult word counts. But overall, I feel like this gives me a much better sense of the story.

      I'm still a little creeped out by the sexual tension between the main character and her imaginary serial killer friend. If that's a main part of the plot, I feel like maybe you want to ease the reader in a little and not make it so obvious on the first page. Also, five of the last six paragraphs start with I. It's important to vary the structure a little so there isn't just a string of "I" comments down the page when someone looks at it. You also have to very careful with fourth-wall breaks. Unless the main character talks to the audience throughout the book, she shouldn't do it on the first page.

      Both entries are considerably improved, but one drops me right into the action and has a voice that speaks to me more. VICTORY TO TEENAGERS MAKE POOR JAMES BOND SUBSTITUTES.

    3. JAMES BOND:

      Query: I think "However," combined with "when," might be too much. You only need one, not both. Otherwise, I love the revisions you've made. You have an exciting premise with a concise, well-explained set-up, and excellent stakes.

      First 250 words: I think the sentence, "The overhead lamp plated the objects with a sterile, infusing light, while also seeming to impart strategic focus upon them." could be tightened. I'm all about creative wording, but I had to read the sentence a few times to understand what you're saying. No reason to make things too complicated in your first 250. Otherwise, I really enjoyed this. Well done.


      Query: I notice you switched this from YA to NA. Excellent decision; this comes across as new adult to me, and I've seen the category expanding beyond the traditional college setting. I hope someone snatches your MS up!

      Your hook seems heavy. I wonder if there's a way to restructure your first paragraph so it pops. Feel welcome to use or ditch any of the following:

      A character in eighteen-year-old author Stella Stokes' English serial killer novels has come to life. The dashing Brit actually talks to her. But, while his twisted peanut gallery commentary, advice, and affection have been welcome throughout her pathetic adolescent life, some of his darker suggestions . . . well, they're downright scary. Not that he's out of bounds. She's the writer, so she's in control. It's not like he can really kill anyone.

      First 250 words:

      You could tighten this in a few places. For example, "is coming" could be "comes". "This conversation has been going on for five minutes" could be "We've been talking five minutes...". And consider substituting "who" for "as" in the unsolicited sentence.

      Be careful breaking the fourth wall with "I should probably stop and explain something," and the next sentence. I haven't seen many agents say they like it. You could easily restructure these sentences so they're part of her natural internal.

      Decisions, decisions. I really enjoyed these entries. Can’t I pick them both? Ugh, SC says no, just like Michelle did. So . . . I guess, VICTORY TO SERIAL KILLER

    4. Princess of LlamasJune 17, 2015 at 12:34 AM

      JAMES BOND: I like this concept. To me, the query reads well until the last paragraph where it gets a little confusing/vague. I think what trips me up is the conflict—is the conflict really his figuring out what the Pantheon’s purpose is OR is his conflict getting out from under Pantheon’s control? Wouldn’t it be the latter? If that’s the case, I’m not sure how his inner demons figure into it. I’m wondering if you can clarify those last two paragraphs a bit.

      As for the 250, I do think it’s strong. I think you’ve started in the right place, with him on an assignment. It is a lot of description, so I’d caution on that. Some is good, but you describe the mirror, objects, and gun with particular specificity. Not every single thing he sees needs to be described in such detail, especially if we’re supposed to be feeling his anguish/pain/confusion. Descriptions tend to slow down the pace.


      Wow, you’ve really sharpened the query. This is great! Nice job. As for the 250, I don’t recall breaking the fourth wall before. I have to say that the, “I should stop and explain” completely took me out of the story. I don’t think you need to do this. Not only is it really hard to consistently pull off throughout (the only success I can think of is a movie--Ferris Bueller), but your story and writing is good enough not to include parlor tricks. Try it without and see what you think: “Quinn is changing in there, and when he comes out, he won’t be able to see Gideon. No one can. He’s mine. My imaginary serial killer friend. I pull away and put my dragon back on the shelf.” Stronger? Something to think about!

      I see you switched to NA, and now I’m sure you’re getting comments on word count. (And I just checked, and yes, you are-ha!) Ok, here’s what you need to do because we only see 250 words. You wrote your book. Think about it. Is she more YA or NA? Sexual tension/romance plays a HUGE role in NA. If your book is more of a thriller, you might be putting yourself in an uphill battle by characterizing it as an NA. Figure out your MC and then make an honest decision on where your book belongs. If she feels 17 to you, then go with YA. If you feel her more as an NA, then make sure the romance is there and look to amping up the word count.

      I like JAMES BOND, but I loved SERIAL KILLER in the first round, and to me this query has gotten so much stronger. The 250s are both well done, so . . . Victory to SERIAL KILLER!!!

    5. First off, both of these are way out of my league of writing and critiquing so please take my comments with a grain of salt. That said, I’ll do my best to give helpful feedback.

      James Bond

      Query: Ohh! Intriguing storyline! Your query reads very well and I have a clear understanding as to what the book is about. But your first line in the last paragraph has a typo so be careful on that.

      First 250:

      This is terrific. But I also agree with one of the other judges. Would Tyler’s thoughts go against his training this early in the book? Or is that something that would happen over a period of time?

      Serial Killer


      This is terrific! I love the concept of Stella battling her own creation. I, too am confused about the prank. What kind of prank? Why does she flee vs. staying to help?

      First 250:

      The first 250 is very nicely written. Gideon kind of creeps me out a bit but I think that’s what you want to happen. The sexual tension with an imaginary friend is a bit much for my taste. But then again, that’s just me and this isn’t my type of genre as I write for a much younger audience. So…carry on.

      Both of these are fantastic entries and my decision is tough. In the end, I have to vote for which one I would actually pick up at a bookstore and read.

      Victory to James Bond.

    6. Teenagers
      Query: Exceptionally well done. It sounds like you have a very intricate plot with lots of twists and turns, and you’ve done a good job of boiling it down. I don’t have any suggestions. Great job.
      First 250: Again, exceptional job. I love a good third person narrative, and I wish we saw more of it in YA. You do a good job of getting us set in the story and invested in your MC. You’ve subverted the standard “don’t start with your character waking up” and “don’t start with your character looking into a mirror” advice, and in my opinion it works quite well. The first line of the third paragraph feels a little stiff compared to the rest of the descriptions—maybe it’s the “while also seeming to impart strategic focus upon them.” Honestly, I think you could do without that sentence all together. We have enough setting details without it. Based on this page alone, the voice feels a little more adult than YA, but I’m willing to buy into it because I know from reading the query that he’s been brainwashed. But if, later in the manuscript, you show us times when he’s not on a job and in his “normal life” I’d be sure the voice lightened up a little to fit more traditionally within the YA range.

      A Girl and Her Serial Killer
      Query: What?! Wow! My heart actually started racing as I was reading this. This sounds amazing. The only thing that left me a little confused was one sentence in the third paragraph. “…not only could he really begin a murder spree, but maybe he really does want Stella to kill with him.” The phrasing of this feels like it’s supposed to be a sort of revelation to the reader, but given the information in the first paragraph it seems obvious that’s what he wants. And I’m not sure why I should care that he wants Stella to murder with him. But that’s a small issue in an otherwise great query.
      First 250: I literally laughed out loud at this, especially at the “This figurine…” line. This is a great exchange with tons of voice. I know sometimes for these kinds of contests it’s easy to feel pressure to cram as much of the hook/conflict/etc into one page as you can, BUT it’s important to remember that we need to get settled into the story as well. Don’t be afraid to slow this down a bit and give us a tad more setting and description—you have a lot of dialogue here. I love it, but (IMO) it’s a little too much for the first page. I’d also avoid opening your story with a line of dialogue. ( Also, I’m not a fan of breaking the forth wall. Not that it can’t be done—it certainly can, and well—but it’s hard. Right now you’re setting us up to believe we’re going to have these direct asides throughout the story.

      These queries are beautiful. And both of the concepts are outstanding. I’d be flabbergasted if you both didn’t walk away from this with multiple requests.

      100% personal preference vote here. Victory to A Girl and Her Serial Killer.

    7. Haley James ScottJune 17, 2015 at 12:46 PM

      Teenagers Make Poor James Bond Substitutes
      This is a compelling query! I don’t have much to critique about this query as I think it’s clean but also just mysterious enough to keep me interested.

      First 250 words:
      This is really powerful! The main character staring into a mirror is a bit cliche, but you have a wealth of great writing to choose from when it comes to readjusting your opening. In fact, it might be powerful to say Tyler awoke holding the gun then having him glance around at the woman’s bathroom, which has a lot of imagery that sets a destructive scene.

      A Girl and Her Serial Killer
      Query: This sounds like such a dark, creepy story. It’s very clean and makes sense in building the story—great job! I would cut out the extra words like “Because, well,”. Your story does enough of the telling without adding the extra stuff.

      First 250 words:
      This section is equal parts funny and creepy. I don’t have too many suggestions. First, I don’t usually like openings with dialogue because I think a dramatic sentence can have a lot more flair and set the tone. Secondly, I do have to comment on the fourth wall thing—I don’t think breaking it is necessary. It might even hold more BAM or weight to scrap the line about stopping to explain something, and use a sudden explanation.
      “He won’t be able to see Gideon.

      Because I’m the only one who can. I’m the only person who can see his smooth skin. Touch his firm muscles.” …(you don’t have to sexualize his description, just make it come alive). It’ll give the reader the sense that Stella REALLY believes in Gideon’s existence while simultaneously knowing he isn’t real.

      Such a tough call…but victory goes to A GIRL AND HER SERIAL KILLER.

    8. Bookalicious MamaJune 17, 2015 at 2:29 PM

      Teenagers: You've got a great query going on, setting the stakes and letting readers know what he must to do and what the outcome will be if he doesn't. Just one thing in that second to last paragraph. I'd drop the word "begins" and just go straight to the he recalls, instead. Your 250 is good, althought the first paragraph doesn't really grab me right away. The waking up, seeing himself in a mirror is pretty overdone, so I would probably start somewhere else, if I were you.

      A Girl and Her Serial Killer: Love the premise and the consistency of your query. It's got a darker tone, but hints at humor as well. For the first paragraph, I would personally cut that last line. It kind of slows it down a bit. In that last paragraph, I would also cut the "Well" after you say "because" Again, it slows things down and doesn't really add to the query itself. Sometimes those extra words are not as needed as you think. Your 250 is great, but I think the two lines towards before the last line should be cut. Talking to your reader isn't always a good ploy, and in this case, I don't think it works. Explain that she's the only one who sees him, don't have her directly say: "I should probably stop and explain something."

      Because I'm a sucker for the invisible and thrillers, my vote:

      Victory to: A Girl and her Serial Killer

    9. Teenagers Make Poor James Bond Substitutes: THIS SOUNDS AMAZING! Oh wow, I really freaking love this. I think your query is super clear and I think your premise is really great. Also, the first 250 really drew me in. I’d read this in a heartbeat.

      A Girl and Her Serial Killer: Everything about this is pretty much perfect. Your premise is stellar, the first 250 are fantastic, and it’s got a diverse character. I need to read this book ASAP.

      This is really hard to decide, because these are two of my personal favourite entries in the whole competition, but VICTORY goes to A GIRL AND HER SERIAL KILLER. I can’t wait to buy both of these books when they are released (which will hopefully be really soon)!

  2. Teenagers - The revised query gives a strong set up in the opening paragraph. Side note - there's a typo in the final paragraph 'As Tyler/As Tyler's revelations...' In the first 250, the sentence in the 3rd paragraph about the lighting distracted me: 'The overhead lamp plated the objects...them.' I think it was the use of 'plated' which I had to stop and consider -- but if I'm the only one who mentions this, ignore! I liked the way you drew the reader and MC's focus to the gun in the following sentence as well as your deft handling of memory surfacing then sinking during the excerpt. I'd keep on reading.

    A Girl - Great revision of the query -- the story line is much more clear -- as are the stakes. In the 1st 250, I was surprised when Gideon wraps his arm around her -- as he was on the bed, his back to her before that. I'm not saying it needs changing, but perhaps a note of explanation (which perhaps happens later) -- does he make no noise when he moves? Perhaps include some reflection on his stealthy movements, or surprise at his sudden presence by her side? Also, can't Quinn hear the MC talking to Gideon? Or is there maybe a fan running/water running in the bathroom which covers the sound of at least her side of the conversation? The moment where the mc communicates directly with the reader stopped me momentarily, but perhaps if this is a device used throughout the ms, it would cease to distract. This seems a fresh and interesting idea.

  3. TEENAGERS: Cool premise. I would take out the hyphen in foster home, and change to "life is forfeited." I'd also take out the "very" from "deep well." One question I have is where this is taking place - there's a vibe that he may be an international assassin, although it's fine if he's bouncing around homes in a specific place - but if you can fit that into the query it may help in your world-building.
    GIRL: Nice revisions! I stand by what I said before about making it NA, because I think this skews in that direction. That said, only you know how things develop with relation to how much sex, blood, gore and adult themes are going to be in your book. You also may want to change to "transgendered man." I also don't think you need the line of "I should explain something" - just jump to "I'm the only person."
    Good luck!

  4. Hi, Teenagers Make..
    This comes across as a YA version of Bourne, which is a terrific idea. I have immediate sympathy for the hero and with his struggle for autonomy and a normal life. In the query, while the setup is clearly explained, it might be worthwhile to provide a bit more about the substance of the story. Discovery of the truth and a dangerous context aren't quite enough. Knowing more about specific threats (and perhaps an individual antagonist) would add some life to this.
    I think I read recently that awaking at the start of a story is an almost automatic turn down by agents and editors. It might be good to start with a prologue (I know - not usually advised) or a bit later. It might even be worth considering a flashback, but I suspect a place where he decides what to do or takes action would be more effective. The prose here is fine, by the way. But it's hard to suppress a groan when the hero awakes.

    Hi, Girl and…
    The query has jeopardy without question. No punches are pulled. But I am concerned about having empathy for Stella. Dead bodies because of "a prank-gone-horribly-wrong," followed her fleeing instead of staying to help sort things out, is disturbing and reflects a cavalier attitude toward the safety and well-being of others. I can deal with anti-heroes. I even stuck with Dexter. But I need something to hold onto here.
    The beginning is clear and sets things up nicely with an extreme character. But the idea of affection from a serial killer, even an imaginary one, without some redeeming qualities is tough to deal with. Maybe make him likable before he's lethal.

    Good luck to both of you!

  5. Teenagers Make Poor James Bond Substitutes/ Pandora from the Clay

    I really liked your new query. It has many exciting elements in all the right places. My only suggestion would be to make the stakes more grave for Tyler in the last paragraph. If you could find something more personal at risk, it could help bond the reader with your character.

    In the first 250, I like your starting point and you set the scene very well. This is definitely intriguing stuff, something I would love to read.

    A Girl and Her Serial Killer/ The Confidant

    I really like this version of your query much better. In the first sentence, I think you could replace the second Stella with she. So just:

    18-year-old Stella Stokes has a secret: Gideon, a dashing English serial killer in the novels she writes, actually talks to her.

    Also, I'm not sure what a "trans man" is. Is that like a transsexual? If so, you may want to ask around in the LGBTQ community and make sure that term is not derogatory, you wouldn't want to accidentally come off as a certain way.

    The revisions on the 250 are great. Your voice in this is really shining. Ready for some subjectivity: I like the whole sexual tension/bond thing between her and her ghost because if he is in her mind, she would be this comfortable with him. It keeps me wondering, which makes me want to read more.

    Both these entries are great and it's going to be a tough choice for the judges.
    Good luck to you both,

  6. James Bond:

    Query: Don’t think you need a dash in foster home. The second paragraph throws me, not sure you need the magic phrase in there. Don’t think you need the “however” either. Wondering if maybe that sentence needs rephrasing to show that when he regains control, he consciously decides to spare the person in front of him. He retraces his steps through past crime scenes—so he remembers the crimes after he commits them? Being picky because this seems like it could be awesome.

    250: Good


    Query: So much better! I’m a little confused about how a prank gone wrong leads to 4 murders though. I’d erase the “Because, well” or redo that sentence.

    Am I the only one bothered by two colons in one query?

    250: Nope nope to breaking the 4th wall here. It doesn’t fit at all for me. These have to go: “I should probably stop and explain something. I'm the only person who can see/touch/hear/smell/taste Gideon. Call him my imaginary serial killer friend.”

    Query: This sounds like an exciting, fast-paced thriller with high stakes and a tormented, sympathetic hero to boot—something I’d definitely want to read.
    A minor nit-pick: I’d do away with “however” in your second paragraph.
    250: I can see the scene so clearly. You’ve done an excellent job in portraying Taylor’s fractured, confused state and I’m very curious to see what happens next. I’d recommend simplifying: The overhead lamp plated the objects with a sterile, infusing light, while also seeming to impart strategic focus upon them. You could change it to something like: The overhead lamp plated the objects with a sterile light, while bringing them into sharp focus.

    Query: Great concept and clear stakes. I especially like the idea of a creator battling her own creation. Nicely done! The prank-gone-wrong part and Stella fleeing the murder scene bothers me a bit. Can you explain why she has to run? Otherwise, it seems like she’s succumbing to Gideon’s evil influence.
    250: Your character’s voice really shines through, your pacing is perfect and you create palpable tension between Stella and Gideon. I’m curious to see more of the "imaginary serial killer friend", and will happily read on to find out what he is.
    Not sure if you need this: I should probably stop and explain something.

    Great, solid entries. Best of luck to both of you!

  8. Teenagers: I think the ending of your query is perfect – exactly the right level of suspense and hook. I do wonder if you need the first line of your 250, though? Instead of immediately letting the reader know that Tyler has no recollection of getting to where he is, I think you might be able to just start with the second sentence and let the reader catch up. Wonderful writing and premise – I want to keep reading!

    Serial Killer – I would spell out the word eighteen since it's the beginning of a sentence. I thought it was interesting that the main issue as spelled out in the query is Stella figuring out who Gideon is and not her horror over killing 4 people. Is she really that cavalier about the deaths in the books? Wonderful voice in 250 – it drops us right in. I didwonder that Stella just calls Gideon her friend, though, with the sexual tension that's evident from the get-go. Really interesting concept, and I would definitely keep reading!

  9. Teenagers Make Poor James Bond Substitutes: This sounds like it will be a fantastic book, and movie—so compelling! Query: At the end of paragraph one …he learns that even trusting himself is too much to ask. This line is a bit cliché and passive. Try turning it around, perhaps: …he learns he can’t even trust himself. One other nitpick, the word “However” to start paragraph three—it is unnecessary and a bit academic, slows the pace. I think it will snap more with “When Tyler suddenly regains control…” The 250 is very strong, really hooked me. One tiny bump is the tense choice in the first line. I think you can go with straight past tense, like this: Tyler Bennett awoke to find himself in a stranger’s bedroom, with no recollection of how he got there. Also, think about the “damning” line. The word “unforgivable” says so much, I’m not sure you need an extra layer. Damning has a punitive and religious connotation, and to me it seems cleaner and stronger without it.

    A Girl and Her Serial killer: This is a fascinating premise! Query: The line about the prank-gone-horribly-wrong seemed to point the finger at Stella and Quinn as guilty of manslaughter, accidental murderers in the eyes of the reader. The first time I read it I thought she and Quinn pulled a prank and people were killed (accidentally) as a result of that prank. Perhaps re-word it to show that they stumbled upon someone else’s prank, which unfortunately was deadly. Innocent bad timing. I loved the 250—Gideon’s voice is both charming and creepy!

    These are both fascinating, well written entries. Best wishes to both of you!

  10. Teenagers/James Bond: Query: I really enjoy the first paragraph. The voice throughout comes through loud and clear. Well done. I have to say, though, I agree with the comment up above that mentioned not knowing what a "ruinous collision course" was. I bet the definition of that is pretty compelling - any way to include that?

    First 250: Loved this! Great tension, and the stakes are subtly lurking underneath. Made me sorry to reach the end.

    Girl/Serial Killer: Query: I thought this was very well done. Stakes are clear, as is voice, as are characters.

    First 250: Still not loving the physical relationship between Stella and Gideon, especially not right away. Perhaps that can develop, if it must be there at all. I do love Gideon's character, though - just the right amount of shiver-generating creepiness.

    Good luck to both entries!

  11. both of these are intriguing story ideas that leave me hungry for more!

    James Bond: i want to be with your character more in the beginning rather than the setting. your descriptions are spot-on, but can you balance them more with the MC?

    Killer: I do like the way an "imaginary" friend is here; a unique twist that you give us right away. think you can get rid of the description of quinn in your query, just a mention or one-word description would do, as too much detail got in the way of the mc and your story for me.

    good luck!

  12. Teenagers: Wow. I love this concept. Couple nit-picky things: In the sentence "Places he’s never been to", remove the "to". It's not needed. Also, the first sentence of the fourth paragraph should be "As Tyler's revelations..." Just a little typo. All in all, great query. For the 250, I'm not sure if someone else has mentioned this or not, but I would cut your first sentence and reword the second. It reads right now as if there is some off screen narrator narrating the book, and you want to go for deep POV. I think by tweaking those two sentences you'd have it. Suggestion: "Tyler Bennett stood in front of the white marble vanity, staring at the mirror—or rather, what was left of it. He was in a stranger’s bathroom, with no idea how he had gotten there."

    Girl/Serial Killer: Love the voice in your query. I especially like the phrases you use such as "twisted peanut gallery commentary" and "pathetic turn in her adolescent life." I really love your last line too: "prove that the creator is more powerful than the creation." Don't ever change that one! For your 250, I really, really liked it, but it was a bit jarring when she stops and talks to the "audience." But if you wanted to change that, it would be an easy fix. Remove this line: "I should probably stop and explain something." And change the next line to something like this: "After all, I'm the only person who can see/touch/hear/smell/taste Gideon. Call him my imaginary serial killer friend."

    I really love the premise for both books! Good luck!!