Monday, September 10, 2012

Pitch Polish #46


Title of the MS: Dracian Legacy
Genre:  YA Paranormal Romance
Word Count: 92,500

QUERY:

      This is the beginning of an epic tale of Ren and Axel caught between two powerful magical races.  One destined to end the war, the other out for vengeance, that is until they found one another. 
      Ren Pernell is a seventeen year old who was prophesied to end the war between two powerful magical races, the Dracians and the Telalians.  Losing her parents in a gang related incident tore her perfect world apart.  Little did she know that wasn’t the whole truth.  Now, in her world where only her support system included her best friend and her brother, a stranger and an old crush wiggle their way into her life.
       Axel Knight was sent on a mission from Dracia to find the prophesied one and bring her back before the Telalians knew of her existence.  Unbeknownst to him, her life is constantly threatened by the Goarders, humans who sold their soul for wishes, Lyla, a Sorcerer Succubi, and Telal, the leader of Telalians who has been searching for her.  To complicate things further, he falls in love with her, making her no longer his mission, but a race to save the only one he's ever loved.

Secrets are revealed
Strength is tested
Destiny intervenes
And Death once again enters the equation

DRACIAN LEGACY, at 92,500 words, is a YA Paranormal Romance with strong Romance elements, secondary to Paranormal. It’s the first in the proposed Dracian trilogy.

First 150 Words:

      Sunlight shimmered between the branches.  Quiet sobs and hushed words of comfort reached me, as black suits and dresses gathered around us—filling my vision with one color.  Black.  In the midst of all the sorrow, the joyful chirping of a hummingbird touched my ears, shedding light to my heavy, darkened heart.  Even though my hair was neatly styled in a tight bun held by twenty hairpins, one stubborn strand kept coming loose without mercy as the wind blew around us.
      The weather was the exact opposite of my mood.  I felt nothing, as if a black hole sucked the life out of me.  My eyes were swollen, my body refused to respond, and I was cold. 
      Deathly cold.
      “As we commit Jim and Irene Pernell to the ground; earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust; in sure and certain hope of the Resurrection.  We enter this world with nothing and we leave wi—”

10 comments:

Anabel González said...

Hi!

I'm going to make some comments on your submission I just wanted to remember you this is only my opinion and that I might be wrong.

Now to the matter at hand.

First I think the query is perfect. It expalins the plot, the two MC main conflicts and what we can expect of it.

Now on the first words:

In the second sentence I'd cut black from : "as black suits and dresses gathered around us.." Since you are going to say she's surrounded by black next and then it will be more powerful.

The rest si perfect.

Good luck!

Brittany Pate said...

The only change I would make to your query is "that is until they found one another" and simply leave it as "until they find one another."

I think your first 150 is strong, but I do agree about cutting 'black' out. We see is three times in the opening.

Other than that, it sounds like you have a great story!

Dahlia Adler said...

Hey there!

Thanks for posting your query - fun to see and definitely hard to do! What strikes me right away is that your first paragraph is basically a two-paragraph summary of your story. What I think your query should be is basically "showing" the content of those two lines instead of telling them to us as you do.

Your story doesn't start there; it starts in the next paragraph. Go right into it. (Personally I would swap the phrasing here because I think it's a tiny bit awkward as you have it - consider "Seventeen-year-old Rex Pernell was...." And same with "only her support system," which I think should be "her only support system.") Skip the info dump and give us story story story!

Another thing that's generally advised against is using more than one POV in your query. Who's really your protagonist? Who's narrating your opening scene? That's who should be your focus. If it's narrated by multiple people, tell us that in a closing line of the query, but your focus in the query should be one person, one clear story. Once you do that I think you'll have something great!

Ranee` said...

LONG comment, I know. But I work better by jotting my thoughts next to where I'm thinking them.

This is the beginning of an epic tale of Ren and Axel caught between two powerful magical races. One destined to end the war, the other out for vengeance, that is until they found one another. (From everything I have researched, queries should be in present tense. These two sentences switch between present and past.)
Ren Pernell is a seventeen year old who was prophesied to end the war between two powerful magical races, the Dracians and the Telalians. (When this paragraph is started this way, seeming to be in Ren's POV, it gives the reader a sense that Ren knows that she is prophesied to end the war. Later, though, it sounds as though this is not the case.) Losing her parents in a gang related incident tore her perfect world apart. Little did she know that wasn’t the whole truth (Avoid being vague and instead go for specific. It's a fine line to walk, but don't make the agent guess about the story). Now, in her world where only her support system included her best friend and her brother, a stranger and an old crush wiggle their way into her life. (It's unclear whether Ren lives in the regular world [earth?] or in another world.)
Axel Knight was sent on a mission from Dracia to find the prophesied one and bring her back before the Telalians knew of her existence. Unbeknownst to him, her life is constantly threatened by the Goarders, humans who sold their soul for wishes, Lyla, a Sorcerer Succubi, and Telal, the leader of Telalians who has been searching for her. (Perhaps break this sentence up. It's somewhat hard to follow) To complicate things further, he falls in love with her, making her no longer his mission, but a race (making her a race? or his mission?) to save the only one he's ever loved.

Secrets are revealed
Strength is tested
Destiny intervenes
And Death once again enters the equation

DRACIAN LEGACY, at 92,500 words, is a YA Paranormal Romance with strong Romance elements, secondary to Paranormal (Perhaps take this out. Queries should show the agent what the strengths are. I've heard lots of agents say to show me the voice not tell me it has quirky voice, stuff along those lines). It’s the first in the proposed Dracian trilogy. (This line is probably not a deal breaker, but I've read some saying not to worry about further books until the first one has sold.)

Your query is definitely intriguing. It sounds different from other paranormals (SCORE!). I think with some polish, it could definitely grab some attention.

Seth Z. Herman said...

Hey,

Enjoyed the premise here. I think the query needs polish - for example, the first line could be cleaned up a bit, as follows:

The is the beginning of an epic tale. Ren and Axel, two warriors (?) of equal prowess, are caught between two magical races, with destiny determining their fates - one to end the war, and one to keep it going forever.

That is, until they found each other.

Something like that. Try not to repeat information - like, you reemphasize the prophecy to end the war in the second paragraph again. No need to repeat, it's attention-grabbing enough in the first paragraph (good job!). But you have good premises and strong writing in the first 150 words, I like it.

Good luck!
Seth
#64

Marian Librarian said...

Hello! What an intriguing query. Let's polish it to make it shine!

This is the beginning of an epic tale of Ren and Axel caught between two powerful magical races. (Generally, I don't like sentences that start with "This" or "There". Also, I would hesitate to waste time "telling us" the story is going to be epic and just start showing us. Perhaps consider wiping out this sentence completely and adding the choice parts to the sentence below.)
One destined to end the war, the other out for vengeance, that is until they found one another. (This is a good, strong hook, but I wonder, is she no longer destined to end the war the moment that she meets Axel? Currently it reads that way.)
Ren Pernell is a seventeen year old who was prophesied to end the war between two powerful magical races, the Dracians and the Telalians. Losing her parents in a gang related incident tore her perfect world apart. Little did she know that wasn’t the whole truth. (What isn't the whole truth? That she's destined to stop the war or that her parents dying tore her world apart. Consider helping us with the word "that") Now, in her world where only her support system included her best friend and her brother, a stranger and an old crush wiggle their way into her life.
Axel Knight was sent on a mission from Dracia to find the prophesied one and bring her back before the Telalians knew of her existence. (Who sent him on the mission, the Telalians? But they don't know she exists, so is this a separate group?) Unbeknownst to him, her life is constantly threatened by the Goarders, humans who sold their soul for wishes, Lyla, a Sorcerer Succubi, and Telal, the leader of Telalians who has been searching for her. (Again, the Telalians, I thought, didn't know she existed. This is where specifying who sent him would help.) To complicate things further, he falls in love with her, making her no longer his mission, but a race to save the only one he's ever loved. (Nice, but I still would like to be a little more clear about his original mission.)

Secrets are revealed
Strength is tested
Destiny intervenes
And Death once again enters the equation
(I understand the desire to put a strong hook at the end, but I could probably relate this section to every Fantasy ever written. I would make it more specific to your characters(Ancient secrets? Family secrets? Who's strength is tested? Death once again comes, when did it come before?) or omit entirely.

I too have multiple main characters and have been asked to clarify my main character in my query (But there are multiple characters! I say to my computer screen) If this book had alternating points of view, as I suspect it might, I see no problem with mentioning them both. Perhaps try to incorporate Axel into the query a bit sooner so it doesn't feel like two queries, and then specify at the end that it has alternating points of view. I don't have any more concrete tips than that because I'm struggling with it myself, but if I read the query correctly focusing on one POV will neglect half of the story.

Good luck with your epic tale!
-Signed, #110

Stacey Nash said...

Hi,

Let me first say- I love this story idea and would have kept reading if there was more.

Query
I thought the query was great, with the exception of the first sentence. I can see that this is necessary info, but telling straight up like that doesn't fit with the rest of the query. I'd either drop it all together or place it in with the rest of the query in a more 'showing' way.

150
The word Black is power sentence, you should put this on its on line to give it the power it deserves.

I hope I was of some help :)

Jayme said...

Overall, I love your query and 150, but I’d tweak a few things. The wording in the first paragraph is a little awkward. Maybe try something like: “Ren and Axel are caught between two warring magical races. One is destined to end the bloodshed, the other is out for vengeance… until they find one another.”

Also, I think you could restructure paragraph two a little. Maybe something like: “When seventeen-year-old Ren Pernell loses her parents in a gang related incident, her perfect world is torn apart. Little does she know it's just the beginning. Her family might have been targeted because of her. But what good is it being the prophesied one to end all war if you can’t protect the ones you love the most?” Something like this really nails home her guilt, without bogging things down in the names of actual races, which may turn off some agents. Also, because you mention the love story in Axel’s paragraph, I don’t know you need to mention it just yet.

For paragraph three, I would suggest something like: “Axel Knight is on a mission to find the prophesied one and bring her to safety before the enemy learns of her existence. Unbeknownst to him, enemy knights are the least of Ren’s worries. She’s targeted by a Sorcerer Succubi and Goarders, humans who’ve sold their soul for wishes… and that’s just before breakfast! [or something to funny to indicate she faces a lot of danger without getting bogged down in specific names]. He doesn’t plan to fall in love, but Ren soon becomes much more than a mission."

Then go straight into your closing lines, which I think are wonderful.

Your sample is absolutely exquisite, so if you get this letter right I really think you’ve got a great shot. Please keep me posted if you land an agent. I’d love to read more about Ren and Axel! Also, I’d greatly appreciate your feedback on my query (#5).

priyakanaparti said...

Hi everyone. Thank you so much for your feedback. I've rewritten the Query per your suggestions, let me know what you think! It ended up different than what I originally submitted

Query:

Ren and Axel are caught between two powerful magical races: one destined to end the bloodshed, the other out for vengeance.

Seventeen-year-old Ren Pernell is prophesied to end the war between the Dracians and the Telalians. Losing her parents in a gang-related incident tears her perfect world apart. So when a Dracian, Axel Knight, is sent to find and bring back the prophesied one before she turns eighteen and Telalians discover of her existence, unexpected sparks start to fly between the two. Once Ren finds the truth behind Axel’s arrival, she wants everything to do with him and nothing to do with his mission.

Things prove to become difficult as Ren’s life is constantly threatened by the Goarders, humans who sold their soul for wishes, a Proxy Succubi, and the leader of the Telalians who has been searching for her as well.

With the clock ticking and Ren’s life in jeopardy, it is no longer just a mission for Axel. It becomes a personal endeavor to save the only one he’s ever loved. In a heart racing ending, they must find a way to evade the preordained war that won’t also end Ren’s life.

priyakanaparti said...

@anabel - Thank you sooo much! I took your advise and removed the black suits. Thank you for the tip

@Brittany - I'm glad the story sounds inviting. Thank you so much. I rewrote the first paragraph to completely remove the "...until they found each other..." Let me know if that works better!

@Dahlia - I appreciate your feedback and I 100% agree with you. Thank you so much for taking the time! Since this the MC is Ren, I decided what you said was right, i made it sound like the story would be from two POV, but really it's only one. So, now that I've rewritten it, does appeal to that?

Ranee - Thank you for your kind words! I rewrote all of it and hope it isn't as vague. I believe this new query adds more meat to the actual story. Do you agree?

@Seth - Thank you! I'm glad it had a strong hook. I did remove the reemphasizing so that I'm getting to the point right away. Hope this is a step up!

@Marian - Thank you for your feedback. I did remove the Secrets revealed part as it seemed so vague and the way I've rewritten, I'm hoping some of that has been covered.

@Stacey - Oh, that means so much to me that you enjoyed it. I'm always so worried about what people think of my work. I did move the work BLACK into a separate sentence in the first 150 words. You were right, that is a strong word. Thank you!

@Jayme - Thank you soooo much! Hearing something like that from a fellow writer just makes my day. I'll certainly keep in touch and let you know if by some luck, I land something! Best of luck to you too. I've re-written the query, so let me know what you think!

Now off to providing some feedback on other Query pitches :).

Thank you guys.

Priya
https://priyakanaparti.wordpress.com/