Monday, September 10, 2012

Pitch Polish #53


TITLE OF MANUSCRIPT MINGLED
GENRE YA urban fantasy dystopian
WORD COUNT  67,000

Query:

Every registered citizen covets selection to attend Jubilee, a festival celebrating the Collective's blood arrangement between humans and vampeer.  That is, everyone except seventeen-year old Macie. She wants to graduate high school, go unregistered and hopes there can be more than friendship with Thane, her unregistered best bud.  It doesn’t help that her parents disappeared when they were selected eight years ago.  Not a fate she’s anxious to repeat but must face anyway when she receives the devastating news of her selection.  Jubilee Attendees are registered for life…meaning no chance with Thane.  Ever.

When devil spawn – fiendish creatures long thought purged from existence – attack her township, Macie sprints for the capital city.  Wights, zombie remnants of a long ago plague, block her entry to the city until usually-normal-Thane shows up to the rescue with a pair of black angelic wings and a handful of secrets he’s ready to reveal.

Before he gets a chance, an underground resistance scatters the Jubilee parade in a hail of laser fire, bringing Macie face to face with her true legacy.  She is a member of the Fae, one with power over the elements, a power that could cause the next apocalypse. Macie also discovers her parents are alive, though far from well, as prisoners for the Collective’s leader, and narrowly escapes the Grand Principal's attempt to capture her, too.

Joining the resistance, Macie finds protection in their ranks, but no peace, not while her parents are held hostage. She must choose between the safety of those she's grown to care for or risk letting her powers fall into the wrong hands in order to rescue parents thought long lost.

First 150 words.

My hand-me-down boots clunked on the hardwood floor.  I cringed at the echo, hurrying from my bedroom.  The hallway carpet muffled my footfalls and the soft click from closing my door.  I sighed, relieved, rubbing my parents’ gold coins for luck.  Probably a bad idea.  They hadn’t done any good for mom and dad eight years ago.  Otherwise, I’d still have parents…and a very different life here in the outliers of the Collective.
I crept along the wall, listening for – whatever.  Other kids wouldn’t pop up.  They were at school, the same place I should’ve been five minutes ago.  Screwy alarm clock!  Why didn’t it work?  My heart beat so hard and fast my thermal shirt bounced with every thud.  Each step downstairs brought me closer to the first floor, closer to getting away from…
            “Whitley!  Hey, didn’t expect to see you.” At least it was the truth.

5 comments:

Laurie Dennison said...

Hi! I really like the opening paragraph, but I feel like the whole query tells a little too much, more like a synopsis. You could try to tighten up the first two paragraphs, and I would consider knocking out the last two completely and using one really strong closing line instead.

An example of tightening: "Not a fate she's anxious to repeat when she receives the news of her selection." (You show us how "devestating" it is in the next line, with nice voice.)

A few other questions - How is her registration related to her powers as a Fae? Was she chosen so she could be imprisoned, too? Does the attack happen before the Jubilee or during?

Could you say: "When devil spawn - fiendish creatures long thought purged from existence - attack during the Jubilee, usually-normal-Thane shows up to the rescue with a pair of black angelic wings and a handful of secrets."

Then you could end with a sentence explaining how her powers are important, and how she must rescue her parents.

Best of luck to you!

Bluestocking said...

I agree with Laurie that your query could use some tightening.

I suggest keeping your first paragraph. Then saying something like "All that was before she discovered she was fae--one with power over the elements, a power that could cause the next apocalypse"

Then move into the closing paragragh, something like:

"When devil spawn – fiendish creatures long thought purged from existence – attack her township, Macie sprints for the capital city and joins the resistance. There, she must choose between the safety of those she's grown to care for or risk letting her powers fall into the wrong hands in order to rescue parents thought long lost."

Just my suggestions of course.

I was a bit confused reading your first 150 words, since Whitley doesn't make an appearance in your query... Last name perhaps?

Also this sentence: "They hadn’t done any good for mom and dad eight years ago."

"They" means what? I think you are trying to say "That" as in rubbing the lucky coin...

The next line "Otherwise, I’d still have parents…and a very different life here in the outliers of the Collective."

"Outliers" is used incorrectly. Outlying territory or something would be more accurate.

Best of luck!

Patrice said...

Hi!

So I really liked your first paragraph however after that, as has been said, I felt like your query became more of a synopsis. I would just tighten things up.

Your story idea is amazing, humans become tied by blood with vampeers then the MC finds out she's actually a fairy...right up my alley, all of my favorite creatures.

So just make the rest of the query stronger, say what she needs to accomplish, what will happen if she doesn't, what she has to lose and leave the rest out :)

Great job and Good luck with everything :)

--Please, check out my Pitch, #27, if you have the time :)

J. A. Bennett said...

Reading through your query I like the sound of your story. You have a nice voice and I like all the faucets your query brings to light.
However, I had to read the entire thing a couple of times to get there.

I think you have something really great here, and the layers of your query need to be pulled back to discover what it is about your story that makes in compelling, in less words.

I had to read your first sentence three times and I still didn't understand it until I read the query then came back to beginning. The first sentence should be the big bang. What if you started with the reason the Jubilee is a disaster for you character. For example you could say something like "Seventeen-year old Macie didn't want the privileged of being chosen for the Jubliee." That's not the perfect example but what I'm trying to convey is that I want to be punched in the gut with her plight from sentence one.

Another way the query can be cleared up is holding back on the creatures in your story. Yes, they are important but the focus should be on Macie and Thane. Try telling their story with leaving the vampires angles and zombies out of it. Once you do that I bet you'll know exactly what needs to be conveyed from your first sentence on. She can be chased by zombie and come face to face with all kinds of horrible things, but if I don't care about her, I don't care what happens to her. I hope that makes sense.

If it doesn't make sense feel free to email me if you want to stay anonymous. (You can click on my picture and find my email there)

As for your 150 words again I think it can start out more powerful. I think you could begin with the coins which is what peaked my interest the most then build up the mystery until she meets Whitney, but I think it's really good :)

Jadzia Brandli said...

Holy crap, it sounds like your story has everything in it! Fae, zombies, vampeer (vampires, anyone?) This makes me super interested, because it sounds like you've really built the world, and that's awesome. Your query though, could be shortened a bit and I agree that you give too much away. What is the main conflict and what does it build up to? Work around that.

Your first 150 are good and I'd read more. I like where you started and it immediately brings me into the scene.

Good luck with this!