Monday, September 10, 2012

Pitch Polish #64


THE GUARDIAN LINEAGE
YA / URBAN FANTASY
91,000 WORDS

Query:

TO DO LIST:
Protect gargoyles during the day? Check.
Escape from ex-girlfriend trying to kill you? Check.
Figure out if new crush is enemy spy? Er... still pending.

Sixteen-year-old Mike Prior is a Guardian, a protector of the gargoyle clans. He’s loves being able to throw fire, manipulate energy, and fight along steroid-using bat-wrestlers.

It’s the other perks of the job that have him worried.

Chief amongst those is Mike’s ex-girlfriend, Laura. Apparently she’s a Slayer, whatever that means, and she's trying to kill him. A shame, considering how well things had been going.

There’s this little problem with Mike’s ancestry – turns out his great-grandfather was the most notorious Guardian traitor of all time, and half the school hates his guts. More than one kid has taken a cheap-shot at him during Sparring class, which, to be honest, wouldn’t be all that bad… if “taking a cheap-shot during Sparring class” didn’t mean firing a bolt of electricity into his back.

Finally, the perk he’d love to figure out - his new crush. She is amazing. Beautiful. And almost definitely an enemy spy. Which complicates things.

Now Mike’s discovered a mole within the Guardian ranks, and a subsequent Black Brethren plot to rule the world. This is bad for several reasons. First, it seems the Brethren idea of “ruling the world” means unleashing the vampire hordes on humanity. Second, they need to wipe out the Guardians to make that happen, and third, it looks like they’re hell-bent on using Mike’s own power to do it.

Mike has to figure out which side everybody is on, and quick. Because if the Brethren don’t get to him, his closest friends just might.

First 150 Words:
The Guardian Lineage

One

         Mike Prior hated it when his girlfriend kicked his butt.
         The wind left his lungs as a sharp kick nailed him in the chest. He stumbled backwards, surprised, his bare feet grasping for footing on the carpet. Another roundhouse came, this time aimed at his temple. Mike ducked underneath it. He slipped a hand out of his karategi-sleeve and grabbed Laura’s arm to pin her down, but she was too quick. In one fluid motion, she grasped his forearm and flipped him onto his back.
          Mike saw Laura lift her foot to slam down on his chest, so he rolled left and handsprang to his feet. Cheering filled his ears. He twirled a fist at her, but she was too far and avoided it easily. Laura took a shot at his torso, but he blocked it and countered with a similar jab. Finally, after a few seconds of punch-counterpunch, Mike landed a shot on Laura’s stomach. She lurched forward, eyes squinted and mouth open in a stunned expression of pain.

11 comments:

Wendy Jo said...

I love the voice in your query. It's great. The premise is also very intriguing and caught my interest quickly.
One thing that might be a drawback is that there is a ton going on. Maybe simplify a bit - for example, we can assume Black Brethren wanting to rule the world is bad so you probably don't need to tell us.

I love your opening line in your first 150. Great catch. One thing you could work on is showing, instead of telling - Instead of "Mike saw..." Just say "Laura lifted her foot...". It helps the fight move along more quickly.
But great job - I sooo want to read this!

Beth Hull said...

I agree with Wendy Jo--there is a lot going on, and I've been puzzling over how to cut it down. What if you combined the last two paragraphs:

Now Mike’s discovered a mole within the Guardian ranks, and a subsequent Black Brethren plot to rule the world, a plot dependent on using Mike's own powers. Mike has to figure out which side everybody is on, and quick. Because if the Brethren don’t get to him, his closest friends just might.

Would anything crucial be lost? Would this pare it down enough, or would you need to take out more?

I love that last line - ominous & grabby.

Jeannette said...

I really thought you hit your query! The voice shines through and you set up the world very well, so that when you describe the conflict at the end I'm actually interested. :)

The only thing, and this is a personal preference, is that list at the top... I don't think you need it. I really don't like them. I've read through a lot of queries that use them so it's not as unique as you'd think, and if you have strong writing (which you do), the gist will come out on its own.

Good luck with this!

Patrice said...

I love the tone of your query, how you break things down. I can really hear the MCs voice. I do worry that it is too long however it's good. I read a ton of YA/MG because that's what I write but gargoyle...that's different along with having an ex-girlfriend out to get out and a love interest who's a enemy spy...haha can't wait to see what unfolds.

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

Anonymous said...

Need everyone's help:

Do you guys think the "To-Do List" should be scrapped? Or is it part of the overall tone of the query, and blends in with it?

Brittany Pate said...

Personally, I love the to-do list. It adds voice and hooked me as a reader. If it were me, I'd keep it.

Mia Celeste said...

I love “escape from ex-girlfriend” in the to-do list. I love the to-do list. I hope you keep it, but it’s up to you.

One quick fix—in the next line, “Figure out if new crush is enemy spy? Er... still pending?” I think you might be missing an article. “…new crush is an enemy spy.”

Everything else is awesome, funny, vivid and full of action—a sure hit for readers like my son! All the best and thanks for you kind comments and suggestions.

#99

Priya said...

Hello,
First of all, I love the to-do list. It certainly made me smile. Now for my feedback:

---He’s (remove the 's) loves being able to throw fire, manipulate energy, and fight along steroid-using bat-wrestlers.

---Chief amongst those is Mike’s ex-girlfriend, Laura. (I was a bit confused by this...Should this read, .... Chief, amongst other things, is Mike's ex-girlfriend? By the way I love a good Slayer story and love the way it sounds. Just little bit of amusement and a hint of sarcasm)

---Now Mike's discovered a mole within the Guradian ranks... (replace discovered with discovers.)

---Mike has to figure out which side everybody is on, and quick. (Replace quick with Quickly).

Over all i love the premises of the story. Teenage kids and super powers = lots of potential for backfire.

Hope my feedback helps!
Priya
#46

robbiemacniven said...


Plaudits aside, this really is one of the best queries I’ve read so far on GUTGAA (and the standard throughout has been incredibly high!). The opening is unique and the entire thing is compelling. You really do have a great voice. Only thing I’d change in your pitch is a small typo you’ve got 2nd sentence of the 1st main paragraph – “He’s loves” should, presumably, just be “He loves.”
Likewise the story sample is strong, my only pointer would be since it’s action look to keeping the sentences as short and, well, ‘punchy’ as possible. For instance, you could drop “underneath” in “Mike ducked underneath it,” since ducking implies that anyway. In all nothing that can be spotted and cleaned up with a good edit.
If you get this picked up and published then honestly, no joke, tell me and I'll buy it!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Robbie, really appreciate it.

And to everyone else - thanks for all your help. Good luck!!!!

Tamara said...

Just wanted to say that I thought this was a great query. I agree that it had a lot going on, but I thought Beth Hull's comment was a really good idea.

In my opinion, DEFINITELY keep the to do list. It's different, which will make your query stand out in the crowd. On top of that, it has a ton of voice, which instantly draws the reader in.

I actually thought I was done with my query--I finally got one I really like.(After it was critiqued and re-written a billion times haha)

Then I read this and, I have to admit, I'm envious of your voice. I had such a hard time just boiling my plot down that I kind of forewent the voice in favor of other things.

I have a few other things up on my blog, but if you scroll down you'll see my pitch. I know the agents are seeing it tomorrow, but I'm still querying. I'd REALLY appreciate it if you could take a look at mine and tell me what you think and if you have any ideas on how to add more voice to it. (Or your opinion on if it needs more voice) Mine is written from a guy's POV too. (Half anyway, it's in dual)

Anyway, NICE job on this. I think you should do super well with it.