Monday, September 17, 2012

Rd 1 Agent Pitch Contest #38 - HEIRS OF WAR, PROPHECY ORDAINED

HEIRS OF WAR, PROPHECY ORDAINED
NEW ADULT EPIC FANTASY
146K

Query:

Prophecies are overrated. Ariana thinks that they are no different than the horoscopes in the back of Seventeen Magazine. She doesn’t realize that the pentacle-shaped birthmark on her wrist marks her as the foretold fifth daughter of the most powerful bloodline in all the worlds and the key to an ancient prophecy.

Ariana leads a normal life for a seventeen year old; ignorant of the sisters she has been separated from since birth. She has never even crossed paths with her twin sister Zelene. Zelene is quite the opposite of Ariana with a life that belongs in the plot of the most tragic of Lifetime movies. The twins know nothing of Estridia, the world of their birth, or the war that has been raging on for generations that they are destined to end. But they are about to find out.

Ariana is captured by enemies that intend to sacrifice her in order to gain her power and destroy the caste system the worlds follow. Zelene is taken back to Estridia where a loving family welcomes her and she is reunited with the three other girls of her generation. Together they make up the prophesized five but without Ariana as the fifth they are doomed to fail, leaving the worlds to be ripped apart by war. Now the girls must decide whether or not to find a way to rescue their missing sister on their own or leave it all to fate and vague prophecies. But when they find that the good guys are proving to be not so good and the bad guys seem to have the wrong methods but the right ideas, where does that leave them?

HEIRS OF WAR, PROPHECY ORDAINED is a new adult fantasy novel with elements of suspense, action, political intrigue, and romance.

First 150 Words:

The football stadium was still littered with kids when Varrick got there. His chest lifted as he sucked in a breath and suppressed a growl at the same time. This part of his job always frustrated him. He understood that Ariana was seventeen and therefore entitled to a certain amount of angst, but he hated having to deal with it. They had bigger problems to deal with. Of course, she was blissfully ignorant of them.

He scanned the stadium through his dark sunglasses, trying to assess where she would be. A group of girls were running on the track that encircled the grass of the stadium, ponytails bouncing as they chatted with one another. When he noticed the cheerleaders edging the track, he knew where she would be and marched over.

He cocked a brow as the girls began chanting in time with their moves. Sure enough, directly in front of them in the stands stood Ariana with camera in hand, snapping away pictures.

7 comments:

SugarMagnolia said...

Thanks for participating! My plan is to read through all the entries and then begin my comments and critiques. I will give out my top ten my votes when I'm finished.

Best of luck to you, and stay tuned!

SugarMagnolia said...

(Hi again! I plan to give out comments during this round, and then I'll give out my top ten votes as soon as I have critiqued everyone's queries.)

I love the first line of your query, and I can already tell you have a great voice. Your story sounds big and well-planned, and I'm interested to hear how Ariana adjusts to life on the "other side."

My first hesitation is the fact that I'm not quite sure you've labeled your genre correctly. When I picture epic fantasies, I picture novels like GAME OF THRONES or the DRAGONLANCE CHRONICLES. Your novel feels more like a variation of an urban fantasy to me, even though I realize you probably spend the majority of your time in the alternate world.

My second concern is your word count. Agents are more forgiving of epic fantasies than of other genres, but I still think 146,000 is a much harder sell for a first-time author than 100,000 or even 120,000. Is there any way you can chop out some excess to make that number feel a little more manageable?

Your first fifty words give me a great glimpse of Varrick's character, and the story moves very smoothly. I also like the reference to Ariana's "bigger problems." This sets me up for big stakes, and it also sounds very natural.

Well done; I love your literary voice!

Lara Schiffbauer said...

I absolutely love the idea of the good guys being the bad guys and vice versa! You have developed a very interesting world and I'm dying to know exactly how Ariana goes from high school photographer to Ender of Wars. And I want to know what exactly Varrick's job is! :)

Mara Valderran said...

Wow, thank you guys so much for your comments! I actually have a copy editor whose main purpose is to cut my MS down as much as possible, so hopefully 120k will be workable. The epic fantasy begins when they get to their homeworld and have to learn how to use magic and are introduced to different magical creatures and races. Hard to put that in the query though without it becoming too long. :) I was nervous about starting off with Varrick so I am glad you guys like that!

There are so many reasons I want to gush in this comment right now but I will just stick to saying that I LOVE this blogfest. The connections and feedback I have gotten are just amazing!

Anonymous said...

I love the scope of your story and its potential to show the contrast between two worlds. As for the elusive quest to know definitively just who the good guys are: so relatable and hard to resist.

Mara Valderran said...

Revisions!

Prophecies are overrated. Ariana thinks that they are no different than the horoscopes in the back of Seventeen Magazine. She doesn’t realize that the pentacle-shaped birthmark on her wrist marks her as the foretold fifth daughter of the most powerful bloodline in all the worlds and the key to an ancient prophecy.

Ariana leads a normal life for a girl on the cusp of adulthood; ignorant of the sisters she has been separated from since birth. She has never even crossed paths with her twin sister Zelene. Zelene is quite the opposite of Ariana with a life that belongs in the plot of the most tragic of Lifetime movies. The twins know nothing of Estridia, the world of their birth, or the war that has been raging on for generations that they are destined to end. But they are about to find out.

Ariana is captured by enemies that intend to sacrifice her in order to gain her power and destroy the caste system the worlds follow. Zelene is taken back to Estridia where a loving family welcomes her and she is reunited with the three other girls of her generation. Together they make up the prophesized five but without Ariana as the fifth they are doomed to fail, leaving the worlds to be ripped apart by war. Thrown into an unfamiliar world full of magic and creatures beyond their wildest dreams, they must find a way to ignite the powers within them and decide whether or not to find a way to rescue their missing sister on their own or leave it all to fate and vague prophecies. But when they find that the good guys are proving to be not so good and the bad guys seem to have the wrong methods but the right ideas, where does that leave them?

cscullywriter said...

Try this:

Prophecies are overrated, or so Ariana thinks. She doesn’t realize that the pentacle-shaped birthmark on her wrist marks her as the foretold fifth daughter of an ancient prophecy.

Ariana has never crossed paths with her twin sister Zelene since their separation at birth. The twins know nothing about their home world Estridia, the raging war that has lasted for generations, or that they are destined to end the bloodshed. But they are about to find out.

When Ariana is captured by enemies (?) that intend to sacrifice her, Zelene is brought to Estridia and reunited with her family. Without Ariana, Zelene and her three sisters are doomed to fail and leave the worlds ripped apart by war. They must find a way to ignite their dormant powers and choose save Ariana or leave her to vague prophecies (?). But when the sisters find (their friends?) intentions are not as good as they once thought and the bad guys(?) seem to the right ideas, Zelene and her sisters must make a greater choice: who do they defend?

I'm confused as to who the sisters are fighting and who the "good" and "bad" guys are. Knowing the stakes are good too, so I tried to tighten the language around that.

I really hope this helps!