Monday, September 10, 2012

Pitch Polish #63


Title: Feudlings
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Word Count: 88,000

Query :

Nothing can make a new school suck worse than discovering the guy you’re in love with is your prophesied nemesis.

Ari is the most powerful flame-throwing sorceress ever, and her people’s last hope in an ancient war. But emotionally, she’s a huge wreck, hating who she is and what she is supposed to do. She’s searching for that one death that will mean anything in the face of a thousand fruitless killings. In her free, not-hunting-nemesis times, she jumps from school to school, trying figure out regular people her own age and pretending she’ll get the chance to graduate.

Shane lives a double life. He goes to school and masters the art of popularity, hiding the fact that he has a destiny with only a slim chance of his survival. He’s destined to end a 300 year-old war by killing or being killed. He knows he’s hunted by a powerful enemy who’s not afraid to die. Only problem? He has no idea who that enemy is.

When Ari shows up at Shane’s school, angry and sullen and determined to keep him at arm’s reach, neither of them realize they are supposed to be killing each other, not falling in love. Until Ari does realize it.

And Shane tries to kill her.

Feudlings is a young adult urban fantasy novel able to stand alone or with a sequel, complete at 88,000 words.
1st 150:

Arianna Delacour thunked her black duffle bag at the foot of her bed, wondering if she should even bother unpacking. This was her 16th boarding school. Sixteen in nine years, but it would have been more if she hadn’t been home schooled until third grade. That was when the Family started sending her out to hunt.
She shoved the thought away, jumping to a safer one. Wrong life. She had to focus on this life now. She was about to start her senior year, and she really wanted to graduate. So, determined that this be her last boarding school, she started unpacking.
“Who are you?” a high pitched voice demanded behind her.
Ari didn’t turn to investigate. “Arianna Delacour. Who are you?”
“This is my room,” the voice said. Ari thought it over, decided there was nothing to respond to, and continued unpacking. “I said, this is my room.”

7 comments:

Elaine Smith said...

I love the excerpt; I would be happy to read on.

In the query, I liked the voice and the dilemma but I found the second paragraph a little unclear.

Jadzia Brandli said...

I liked the excerpt too. This isn't something I'd typically read. I don't like books that focus on magic all that much, so Ari being the "most powerful flame-throwing sorceress ever" turned me off. But I like the conflict in it and the fact that she and Shane fall in love when they should be killing each other. And the ending of your query is awesome.

I think I understood the second paragraph. That part that threw me off the most was the "in the face of a thousand fruitless killings." Is this to say that she's been going around and killing people, hoping it's the one person she's supposed to kill (being Shane) but they'd all availed to nothing, because it hasn't been him? If so, then the rest makes sense, because she's been spending her HS years looking for this nemesis, instead of being a normal teen and getting to experience everything a normal teen would, like graduating. That's the only part I'm a little confused about.

Good luck with this!

amycavenaugh said...

I love your hook and excerpt and would be interested in reading more. Like the other commentors, I'm usually turned off by "magical" stories but I am interested in this one. The wording in the second paragraph could be stronger. It also seemed odd that she was hoping for a death that would mean anything. You have a great premise here, just need to tighten up your middle query paragraphs.
Best of luck! :)

Shiela Calderón Blankemeier said...

Great hook, voice, and stakes in your query! I was also confused about the fruitless deaths. I'd either go with what has already been suggested or cut it entirely, focusing more on her search for her nemesis, since this is at the heart of her conflict.

I don't have any suggestions for your 150. I would definitively read on. Best of luck!

~Shiela #69

Michelle 4 Laughs said...

You might tighten the hook. Nothing makes a new school suck more than discovering the guy you love is your prophesied nemesis.

It should be 'trying to figure out' in paragraph two. You forgot 'to'. Here again it could be tightened in places.
maybe: But emotionally, she's a huge wreck, hating herself and her job.

She started hunting at age ten. Yikes! That's rough.

Creepy Query Girl said...

Im a little confused why Ari would be determined to keep Shane at arm's length if she didn't know they were supposed to kill eachother. Maybe clarify that passage just a little. Otherwise I thought this was pretty solid. Love the premise!

Tamara said...

Love the concept here and yay for Ari's. (My MC is Auri). I really like stories about magic and bad-ass girls. I actually only have a few tiny tweaks I'd make in the query:

Here:Nothing can make a new school suck worse than discovering the guy you’re in love with is your prophesied nemesis.

I might lose the word prophesied in that sentence. Only because I've heard agents say stories about a prophecy are really over-queried. I try to avoid any terminology that might be considered cliche. I think the sentence works just as well without that word.

Shane lives a double life. He goes to school and masters the art of popularity, hiding the fact that he has a destiny with only a slim chance of his survival. He’s destined to end a 300 year-old war by killing or being killed.

This kind of sounds like you're restating the same thing, just in a different way. I thought maybe you could try: He goes to school and masters the art of popularity, hiding the fact that he's destined to end a 300 year-old war by killing or being killed.

And that's it. I re-read this a couple times, and I liked it more with each re-reading. (It usually doesn't work like that, normally the more I read something, the more I notice little things wrong with it)

I'm having a GUTGAA contest to win a twenty-five page critique over at my site that starts on Monday, so--if you're interested, stop by to enter.

Although, I admit I'm mostly just trying to make you enter so I can get a chance to read more of this. haha. I REALLY like it. Anyway, even if you don't want to enter, I'd love it if you'd swing by to say hi. :)

Good luck with this!I think it should do really well.