Monday, October 1, 2012

1st Rd Sm Press Contest #5 - Warwick Hall

Warwick Hall
YA Paranormal Murder Mystery
95,000 words


At Warwick Hall, the living and the dead both have secrets. Cassie has been waiting two years for her body to be found. She can’t remember how she died but she knows something is with her in the darkness--something from which even death is no protection.

Sophia Cross is a new student at Warwick Hall. Her father has taken up a teaching position at the school and they’re looking for a fresh start after a car crash left her mother dead and Sophia in a month-long coma. She doesn’t know where she was as she hovered between life and death, but she can still sense the darkness.

When Sophia moves into Cassie’s house, the girls learn to communicate via Magnetic Poetry. Cassie and Sophia will have to work together if they are to unravel the mystery behind Cassie’s death and the menacing presence that haunts them both. The answers are hidden somewhere within Warwick Hall, where everyone is a potential suspect and trusting the wrong person could get you killed.

First 150 words:

It was a beautiful day to be dead.

Cassie lay in a bed of leaves on the riverside. The sun peeked out from behind a cloud. She couldn’t feel it, but she imagined it to be warm.

She found herself waking up here more and more often. Cassie had been waiting almost two years for her body to be found. She didn’t know if this was Hell, but it sure wasn’t Heaven.

She shook the foliage out of her hair--to a passerby it would look like a sudden, isolated gust of wind. Cassie could never actually move anything when she wanted to, of course, but sometimes her energy brushed against the Living world.

She meandered back toward Warwick Hall, the prep school where her father had been the chaplain. She spied a doe taking a drink from the river, cool and sweet. The animal tensed as if it knew that she was there. The deer locked eyes with her and startled, loping off like it had seen, well, a ghost.

Cassie threw her hands in the air in frustration. The only sentient creatures that could see her were afraid of her. They sensed she shouldn’t be there, that she’d stayed too long at the party.

But she had no idea how to “move on” or “go into the light,” or whatever it was restless spirits were supposed to do. She couldn’t even have any fun haunting anyone because she didn’t know how to make the Living hear or see her.


Mystery Science Theater Geek said...

You've definitely got my vote.

I love your query. The only thing I'd suggest you change is adding a final paragraph identifying genre, word count, comparable works (i.e. a cross between the television show Supernatural and the works of....[whomever is appropriate in YA]) or publishing credits.

Your first 150 words are strong. The only thing I'd suggest is combining some paragraphs, in particular the last two.

Good job!

Lone Star said...

Great query! The first 150 are strong as well. It feels like too many sentences start with "she" or "Cassie". See if you can vary it up. Overall, this is solid.

Honey Badger said...

Hey, Entry #5!

I’m going around giving everyone at least one critique and one positive today. (Maybe more, if I spot something helpful.)

- I love the concept here. I have a feeling I’ll be back. :)

- I'm going to echo Lone Star here. Try to tweak the sentence structures in a few places.

Best of luck! :)

Mara Valderran said...

Your opening line is excellent! Great hook! I love the unique way they communicate too--through magnetic poetry. It certainly makes communicating more of a challenge!

I have absolutely no critiques. You hooked me with the first line and the last line left me wanting more. The first 150 were great--love that you start with Cassie and I absolutely love your voice. Echoing the frustration I felt for the only sentient creature to see her be a deer was great too! I hope you get to move on to the next round!

Layla Messner said...

I enjoyed this, and especially love the magnetic poetry idea. Good luck!

Jessica Becker said...

I really liked reading this. The query flowed well and the stakes were made clear. The first 150 is what hooked me though! Good luck

Honey Badger said...

Psst... I’m back. You have my vote! :)

Escape Artist said...

I'd like to see you get a chance with an editor. You have a smooth and interesting query and beginning.

You have my vote. Good luck!

Unknown said...

Thank you all so much for checking out my entry and for your votes ;-)

Mystery Science Theater Geek, I'm pitching it as Veronica Mars meets the Woman in White.

Btw, I spent many nights in high school watching Mystery Science Theater 3000 right after "Highlander." Oh those 90s...

Thanks again for stopping by! Kristina x

PK HREZO said...

I LOVE the idea of communicating via magnetic poetry! Genius!!
Best of luck!~

Lone Star said...

I loved the first line. You've got my vote!