Title: Like Yesterday
Genre: Commerical Fiction
Word Count: 90,000


Dear [AGENT]:

Within the cold walls of his institute, Dr. Vincent Douvrey dedicated years to his innovations but none to his devoted wife. He never said “I love you”, and until her fatal car accident, he had no desire to say “I’m sorry”. Guilt-ridden and eager to deliver that apology in person, and even more eager to receive his next accolade in science, Vincent attempts his most recent innovation—transitory time travel by liquid ingestion. 

But the tonic doesn’t transport him to three years prior. Instead, he awakens almost fifteen years into the past in a University of South Florida dorm room with passé décor. Thanks to Lacunar amnesia, Vincent doesn’t remember any moment or anyone he befriended his first time as a college student. However, an even greater obstacle plagues him: how to return to the future.

Vincent turns to the campus library for guidance, but his research leads him to meet Carmen, a junior student who is not his wife. Carmen is immediately smitten by his Grenadian accent and unfamiliar charm and he by her stunning beauty and unselfishness. Their magnetic passion brews a sultry love affair. Meanwhile, the thirty-five-year old man she believes is twenty-one continues to seek a reverse transport solution.

However, Vincent’s hope of returning home to his acclaimed work dwindles, forcing him to relive his past while loving a woman he knows he doesn’t marry. But when he makes a shocking discovery as to Carmen’s true identity, Vincent hastens to find a way to return to his rightful decade to learn the truth about his repressed past and her role in his future.

LIKE YESTERDAY is commercial fiction and complete at 90,000 words. 

Thank you for your time and consideration. 

First 250

Dr. Douvrey possessed a keen talent to ignore. He ignored the resounding proclamation that time travel didn’t exist. He ignored his wife who loved him more than her nursing shoes worn to its last shred of rubber. He ignored his mother who told him that he wouldn’t succeed without her international clout. But this talent was often tested by his incompetent assistant of seven years, whom he observed from his chamber as she mixed and spilled chemicals onto his laminate lab table, incinerating it layer by layer. It was only the eleventh table he had to replace because of her; one more was sure to be tainted within the year. Dim smoke smothered her face, obstructing her view of the doctor’s narrowed eyes and furrowed brows. She owned a brilliant mind, but the doctor found it challenging each new day to ignore her fumbles, destructions, and blabbering. After four long breaths and a silent prayer for strength not to kill her, Dr. Douvrey turned his back towards the window and continued to shield himself within the glass room of toxic fumes, a poor attempt to escape her recurrent interferences and to maintain his state of being alone. 

The chamber upheld its purpose of providing security and safety as well as being aesthetically pleasing to his eyes. Upon each entry of the room, the doctor often admired the stainless steel upon the ceiling and parts of the walls and the extensive counter space of which he performed all testing of his formulas. 


8 thoughts on “Entry 7 – LIKE YESTERDAY

  1. Query
    words 10/10
    hook 9/10
    plot 10/10
    amount of character 10/10
    show/tell 10/10
    stakes 5/10 Stakes not clearly stated.
    overall 9/10 One question I have when reading the query is what is Lacunar amnesia? Is it just me who is not familiar with this term? I like your style of writing a lot. I think you just have to make the stake clear, and it would be ready to go.

    First page
    first line: 10/10
    voice 10/10
    originality 9/10
    character development 10/10
    setting 9/10
    overall 10/10 The first page is very well-written. I can visualize the characters when reading your work. Great voice.

  2. Query: 8/10

    Hook: 8/10 Lose the “within the cold walls of his institute” from the first line and you have a great hook.

    Plot: 10/10 Sounds awesome.

    Characters: 10/10

    Showing vs. Telling: 7/10 There’s a great query buried in all these words. I think you just need to pare down the extraneous ones.

    Stakes: 9/10

    Overall: 8/10

    First Line: 10/10

    Voice: 10/10

    Originality: 10/10

    Character Development: /10

    Setting/World Building: 10/10

    Overall: 10/10 This is an excellent first 250 words.

  3. Feedback From Entry #9
    words 9/10
    hook 7/10
    plot 6/10 I like the story but the only conflict is getting back to the present. Antagonist?
    amount character 8/10
    show/tell 9/10
    stakes 6/10 What are they?
    overall 8/10.

    First page
    first line 10/10
    voice 10/10 I loved this voice!
    originality 6/10 – Lots of time travel books out there. Make sure you distinguish yours!
    character development 9/10
    setting 9/10
    overall 9/10

  4. from Entry #10

    Query is 250-300 Words: 10/10
    Hook: 9/10
    Plot: 9/10
    Amount of Characters Listed: 9 /10 I like the mysterious Carmen.
    Showing vs. Telling: 7 /10
    Stakes Clearly Listed: 10/10
    Overall: 9 /10

    First 250:

    First Line: 8 /10
    Voice: 7/10
    Originality: 8/10
    Character Development: 8/10
    Setting/World Building: 7 /10
    Overall: 8 /10 This sounds like a great story.

  5. Query:
    Words: 8/10. Seems a bit wordy.
    Hook: 9/10. I already feel emotion for both characters.
    Plot: 10/10. Intriguing!
    Characters: 9/10
    Showing vs Telling: 9/10
    Stakes: 10/10
    Overall: 9/10

    First 250:
    First Line: 8/10
    Voice: 9/10
    Originality: 9/10
    Character Development: 9/10
    Setting: 8/10
    Overall: 9/10

  6. Query:
    Query is 250-300 Words: 10/10

    Hook: 6/10 The entire first paragraph is backstory and could probably be omitted. Your story really starts when Vincent decides to go back in time.
Plot is Easily Understandable (MC, Goal, Conflict): 9/10

    Amount of Characters Listed: 8/10

    Showing vs. Telling (Doesn’t Read like a Synopsis): 6/10

    Stakes Clearly Listed: 6/10 The last sentence is annoyingly vague. What is the secret about Carmen’s identity? Is she really his wife? Unless that’s the end of the story, it’s okay to give it away in the query.

    Overall: 7/10
    First 250:
    First Line: 9/10
Voice: 6/10

    Originality: 7/10

    Character Development: 9/10 I’m still a little conflicted as to whether I should root for Vincent or not. He was a terrible husband when his wife was alive, though he does spend the novel trying to rectify that — but I’m not quite sure why. He is interesting, though.

    Setting/World Building: 6/10 I’d love some more description of the room he’s in at the beginning.
Overall: 7/10

    from entry number 8

  7. Query:
    Words: 10/10
    Hook: 9/10
    Plot: 8/10.
    Amount of Characters: 10/10
    Showing vs Telling: 9/10
    Stakes: 6/10. What are the stakes really? Will he get stuck in his past if he doesn’t find a solution? And what will be wrong with getting stuck in that past? I’m very much intrigued about Carmen’s true identity though.
    Overall: 8/10.

    First 250:
    First Line: 10/10 I love this, maybe because it reminds me of Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi.
    Voice: 9/10

    Originality: 6/10
Curious about how unique your time travel book will be from others.
    Character Development: 9/10
    Setting/World Building: 9/10
    Overall: 8/10

    From entry 3

  8. Entry 7: LIKE YESTERDAY

    Length: 9
    Hook: 3
    Plot is Easily Understandable (MC, Goal, Conflict): 7
    Amount of Characters Listed: 10
    Showing vs. Telling (Doesn’t Read like a Synopsis): 3
    Stakes Clearly Listed: 1
    Overall: 4

    First 250:
    First Line: 6
    Voice: 3
    Originality: 6
    Character Development: 8
    Setting/World Building: 6
    Overall: 5

    Total score: 71

    The hook is pretty blunt to start with, and the next couple of sentences kill it completely.
    Plot: I’m guessing that he wants to go back in time to ‘fix’ whatever caused his wife’s accident, but it should be made much clearer.
    Telling: A lot of what you say is background information that does not belong in a query.
    Stakes: There doesn’t seem to be much at stake at all, unless there is something that revolves around the ‘shocking discovery’ about Carmen.
    Overall, it seems that your story has the potential to be interesting, but I had to look hard for evidence of it in the query. The query uses a lot of words without saying very much.

    First 250:
    Voice: The first paragraph throws too much at me, faster than I can breathe. There’s too much going on for one paragraph. It needs to be broken up.
    Character development is good, even in this short passage, although I’m not sure I want to root for either of them (one is incompetent, the other ignorant).
    There are several grammatical errors that hurt this passage, mostly plural/singular mismatches.

    General notes, applicable to all:

    Query length:
    250-275 is the sweet spot to aim for (300 words is too long). I used a simple formula. Any query of appropriate length scored 10/10. Anything over 275 words (excluding salutation and sign-off) lost one point, and then another point was deducted for every 10 words extra. I did not deduct points for short queries as this is not likely to be a problem with agents, provided all the important information is presented.

    Number of characters:
    I awarded the maximum to every entrant, unless it read like a character soup, or it was clear that something was missing.
    (Note for next time: I think this category should have been a little broader to include depth of character)

    Other categories:
    I figured that 6 is an average score, appropriate for an average query as seen in the “Query Critiques” forum (polished & revised versions, not first drafts as this is a contest and entries should already be polished). I adjusted the scores up or down based on how I felt it would stack up on that forum.

    I skewed the overall scores slightly depending on whether or not the entry left me wanting to read more.

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