Monday, September 10, 2012

Pitch Polish #99


TITLE OF MANUSCRIPT: DARK BRINGER
GENRE: PARANORMAL ROMANCE
WORD COUNT:107,000

Query:

Sometimes it makes sense to fear the dark.

In the enclosed city of New Theta, where particles of darkness can be strung together to form monsters, people fear the shadow fiends just a thought away. Imaginatives--those who fantasize--are criminals. Lights blaze 24 hours a day. Electricity is king.

The dark doesn't bother Jenvee Cohan, an electrical linesperson who maintains cables in shadowy tunnels. She's sworn off imagination since she summoned the darkness that spirited her grandfather into the Void, the netherworld outside the city.

She keeps her vow until Agent Reese Bannon, the Bureau of Light Enforcement's chief crusader, tracks a conjured nightmare to Jenvee's sector. When the nightmare bests Bannon, Jenvee is compelled to reunite with the specks of darkness in order to save him. Rekindling her imagination fills her with delight until she realizes her selfless act has made her an outlaw. She tries to shut down her fantasies and fails. Dark specks caper around her.

Although Agent Bannon's investigation illuminates Jenvee’s guilt it also highlights her wry wit and keen intelligence. His suspicion transforms into intrigue. Years ago, he lost his brother to the Void. He won't let that happen to Jenvee. He'll hunt her down, dog her every action--whatever it takes to save her from herself.

First 150 Words: 

CHAPTER ONE


Nobody said as much, but Jenvee assumed her fatal flaw--her affinity with the night particles--made her first choice for the tunnel crawl when the lights in New Theta’s Third Ward flickered and went out.

She wouldn’t ask. Not in the middle of a crisis. Not ever, really.

Although she was the newest linesperson, having only received her electrical engineering certificate last May, she strapped on her tool belt and rushed to the maintenance access to repair the faulty wiring.

Hand over hand, she scrambled down the aluminum rungs set into concrete. The illumination from above dwindled steadily until her steel-toed boots left the last rung and clicked on the access tunnel’s poured stone. Her fellow workers closed the hatch, cutting her off from the now-distant patch of battery-powered daylight and from their immediate help. She had to go alone. More people meant more minds for the night particles to play with.


11 comments:

Nicole Zoltack said...

Oh this sounds intriguing! And imaginative. ;) Good luck with it!

JenfromtheBlock said...

Yes, I'm so intrigued with the imaginatives as criminals. This isn't my usual cup of tea, but your query and your excerpt draw me in.

Jadzia Brandli said...

I think this sounds very unique and interesting. Good job with your query, because I think it really hooks the reader. I liked it and I would read more, based off of the query alone. I'd also continue to read if you had more thna just the 150 words here. :) This also isn't my usual genre, but I'd give it a shot.

Ellie Heller said...

Oh, this is my favorite one I've read so far! Very cool. Hard to classify, is it dystopian? UF? Looked here for some suggestions, but not sure it was any help! Genre Glossary. Good news is the premise is so cool, it doesn't matter how you classify it. :-)

A couple of points you want to look at to make your world clearer in your query:

Sometimes it makes sense to fear the dark.

In the enclosed city of New Theta, where particles of darkness can be strung together to form monsters, people fear the shadow fiends just a thought away. Imaginatives--those who fantasize make it clearer these people can form the monsters/being imaginative forms the monsters, the jump isn't intuitive--are criminals. Lights blaze 24 hours a day. Electricity is king.

The dark doesn't bother Jenvee Cohan, an electrical linesperson who maintains cables in shadowy tunnels. She's sworn off imagination since she summoned the darkness that spirited her grandfather into the Void, the netherworld outside the city.

She keeps her vow until Agent Reese Bannon, the Bureau of Light Enforcement's chief crusader, tracks a conjured nightmare to Jenvee's sector. When the nightmare bests Bannon, Jenvee is compelled to reunite not sure about reunite here, if it is the right word, then back up where you have 'sworn off', change the phrasing to match this idea. Perhaps cut her ties or ignored her connection to/with the her imagination and the dark particles ?? and think about saying exactly what action she takes to help him, does she create a bigger foe to fight the baddie which hurt Reese? Does she do something directly to save him? with the specks of darkness in order to save him. Rekindling her imagination fills her with delight until she realizes her selfless act has made her an outlaw. She tries to shut down her fantasies and fails. Dark specks caper around her. think about making these two sentences one. Is she shutting down her fantasies or the link the darkness has to her fantasies or ... maybe?? ... the dark specks are capering around eager to be fed her ideas?

Although Agent Bannon's investigation illuminates Jenvee’s guilt it also highlights her wry wit and keen intelligence. His suspicion transforms into intrigue. Years ago, he lost his brother to the Void ah, this needs to be highlighted, expanded, tell us his perception of how awful the void us to up the ante on why he needs to save her, build the tension. . He won't let that happen to Jenvee. He'll hunt her down, dog her every action--whatever it takes to save her from herself.

Nice, nice, nice stuff.

Only one thought on your first 150: The line about 'rushed to the maintenance access' is telling while in the rest you've done a wonderful job showing. Think about how you can change this or if you even need to tell us this given how well you show in the rest of the start what is going on.

I think you've got a winner here, good luck!!

Lauren said...

Definitely intriguing. Reminds me of that old movie, Forbidden Planet. A whole civilization destroyed because they brought their dreams to life...

I hope imagination wins!

Michael McDuffee said...

I love the idea, and for the most part the query is really strong. I don't think the first line needs to be italicized. Putting it in a paragraph by itself lends it plenty of emphasis.

I'm not a fan of the final paragraph in the query, though. I don't like to be told about a character's "wry wit and keen intelligence." If it weren't for the genre, I wouldn't know that this story had a romance in it, so that might be a better reason to explain why Bannon is going after her.

Seth Z. Herman said...

Hey,
Love the voice here, aside from the "wry wit and keen intelligence" line (agree with Michael).

The one thing I will point out is - who is the protagonist in your story? From the first few paragraphs it seems like Jenvee is your protag, whereas the last paragraph seems like Agent Bannon is your protag (it's written as if he's the main character). If that's your intent, great, but just flesh it out a little. If not, then rewrite the paragraph from Jenvee's POV - what she sees Agent Bannon doing and how she feels about it, etc.

Good luck with it!

Seth
#64

Diane Riggins said...

Hi,
Love the premise of your story. Was hooked from the first line. Good Query. Good luck!

Tamara said...

Wow. What a cool concept for a story. I love this. I do have a few small suggestions about the query. In this part:

She keeps her vow until Agent Reese Bannon, the Bureau of Light Enforcement's chief crusader, tracks a conjured nightmare to Jenvee's sector. When the nightmare bests Bannon, Jenvee is compelled to reunite with the specks of darkness in order to save him.

That last sentence felt like it needed to be stronger. The fact that she actually saved this guy's life is getting a little lost in the details of the query. Since that seems like the crux for everything else that happens, it felt like it should be a little stronger. I was thinking just switching it around a tiny bit to something like:

When the nightmare bests Bannon, Jenvee reunites with the specks of darkness and saves his life.


And then this part, it seemed odd to say that an investigation highlighted her wry wit and keen intelligence. I don't know why, but it just read a little awkwardly to me. Also, I've heard that you aren't supposed to tell anything like that in a query--that if you can't show it, you should just leave it out. So I thought you could try:

Years ago, Agent Banner lost his brother to the Void. The more he gets to know Jenvee, the more determined he becomes to stop her from having the same fate.

Or, you know...something along those lines but maybe a little smoother. :)

He'll hunt her down, dog her every action--whatever it takes to save her from herself.

And that was it for my suggestion. I this was a really strong query. The concept isn't like anything I've ever heard before.

One of the things that drew me to it was your title. I don't need help with my query, but I'm actually struggling with a title. I have three choices up on my blog. I'd love it if you could shoot over there and tell me which one you like?

Good luck with this!!

Mara Rae said...

First off, thanks so much for your lovely comment on my entry! Second, this sounds like a really unique story line, so congrats! I was a little confused when I read the query the first time, but I understand how difficult it is to show world building in a query, so I think that's more to do with the genre than your writing. If you capitalized Imagination, it would have been clearer to me, but no one else seemed to have that issue so maybe it's just me! I don't think you need the last line of the third paragraph "Dark specks caper around her." And in your final paragraph, I agree that you don't need to describe her wit and intelligence.
I thought your first 150 were very well written. I would change the line starting with "Although" to "Although she'd only received her electrical engineering certificate last May, making her the newest lineperson on the force, she strapped on her..." I know it's just swapping the order, but for some reason that reads better to me. Other than that, awesome job! Good luck!

Mia Celeste said...

Thank you all for your great feedback. You've helped me take the query to the next level.