Monday, February 13, 2012

Bouncer Post #100


Title: IN THE BETWEEN
Genre: YA fantasy
Word Count: 59,000

Query:

When Harper’s life falls apart, she responds in her usual, fully effective manner—denial. She’s a muralet, the last descendant of Mother Nature? Nope. Supreme magical abilities can be obtained by drinking her blood? Whatever. Most mystical creatures would literally kill to have a drop of her blood on their tongues? Not happening. It’s not until a dark-headed stranger calling himself her Seeker shows up and drags her to enchanted Ellauria that she realizes some things are just true even if she doesn't want them to be.

Ellauria is home to the Fellowship, the mysterious group that has protected the world’s so-called “mythical” creatures for decades. In fact, Harper has been the Fellowship’s best-kept secret for the past sixteen years, her existence known only to a select group of high-ranking Ellaurians. Unfortunately, someone outside the Fellowship has discovered her identity, and Ellauria is the only place she can be safe. She's hidden among the rest of the Apprentices, the magical-mortal hybrids who will be trained to work for the Fellowship.

After Harper is attacked within Ellauria’s borders, it becomes clear that even those sworn to protect her are not immune to the temptation of her performance-enhancing blood. One of the Fellowship's own is working agains her. The list of suspects is short, but it’s made up of those that Harper shouldn’t have to fear—from the Fellowship’s socially awkward founder, to the eccentric self-proclaimed Empress of the Fairies, to her complicated but sexy crush. With an unstable grasp of her powers and a less than ideal knowledge base regarding the supernatural, Harper must work quickly to determine who she can trust, who isn’t what he says he is, and who benefits most from her demise.

First 250:

I could always tell what kind of mood Momma’s in by the type of cleaning she’s doing. Cleaning out closets and drawers? Sad. Reorganizing every shelf in the house? Frustrated. Wiping down the walls and baseboards? Angry. Polishing the silver? Stressed. So the day I opened the front door to find a pile of clothes lying in front of the coat closet, a bucket filled with vinegar solution standing next to the wall, and the smell of ammonia hanging in the air, I pulled my phone from my purse and texted my brother immediately. “Get home quick. She’s Granny-cleaning."

I was still standing in the doorway when Sam got there. I’d heard the loud thumping of the stereo long before I heard the crunch of gravel beneath the jeep’s tires, but I decided to ignore it. I hated sharing a car with him. He was going to blow our speakers, I just knew it.

He stood behind me and peeked over my head. That’s another annoying thing about Sam- to be my twin, he’s entirely too tall. “She ironed the sheets,” he said, nodding toward the ironing board in the hallway. We could just barely see the front end of it, draped with the fitted corner of the pale yellow queen-sized sheets from the guest bed.

“I know,” I said, tucking my hair behind my ears with both hands. “This is bad.”

“You seen her yet?”

I shook my head. “Nope, but I heard furniture moving around upstairs.”

13 comments:

  1. One word - WOW. The first 250 actually grabbed me first, but when I went back up to read the query, I was like, Oh, the voice! Oh, the concept!

    Let me know when this gets you a deal, so I can beg you for an ARC!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the confidence boost, Leigh Ann! I'm gonna look you up every time I think my writing is crap. :-)

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    2. WHY WOULD YOU THINK YOUR WRITING IS CRAP IT IS AWESOME. *Ahem* Especially that first paragraph. Loved it.

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  2. I think this is a less is more case. I loved the first 250 words - the scene-setting, the humor, the really clever way you establish mom's moods through her cleaning - so that was great. The query however was too densely packed with information to grab attention. I think if you cut some of it and just hit the high points then you'd have a really nice submission package. Again, loved the first 250.

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    Replies
    1. Owl, thank you for the feedback. I have a hard time knowing what's "enough" and what's " too much" for the query! I have a much, much shorter one- like, a paragraph- but for some reason I rarely use it. I really appreciate your critique, and it thrills me that you liked my first 250!

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  3. Bouncer Blue NimbusFebruary 13, 2012 at 7:53 AM

    The first paragraph of your query shows great "voice" but is confusing. I didn't understand what you were doing until I read all through the first 250. The second and third paragraphs are better. i liked your first 250 words, although you've got some verb tense problems in the first sentence.

    Another thing to think about 59,000 is on the short side, and for fantasy it's on the waaayyyyyy short side. You didn't say if it was MG or YA, but this strikes me as very Percy Jackson-esque. Would this work as a Middle Grade novel? Just throwing it out there.

    "You're in" based on the concept, the conflict, and the voice.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Blue Nimbus! The word count issue is one I've thought a lot about. When I've gone back to try to beef it up, I feel like I'm adding words just for the sake of adding words, and that bugs me too?. On the OTHER hand, I could go on and continue the story a little further, rather than saving some things for a sequel. Hmm.

      Thanks again, and thanks for your time in helping out with this contest!

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  4. Loved the first 250! Great voice.

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  5. I agree with Blue Nimbus. You're in.

    I think the query needs to be shorter. I like what you did with the first paragraph of it, but your issue is syntax not content. Try this instead:

    When Harper’s life falls apart, she responds in her usual, fully effective manner—denial.

    She’s a muralet, the last descendant of Mother Nature? Nope.

    Supreme magical abilities can be obtained by drinking her blood? Whatever.

    Most mystical creatures would literally kill to have a drop of her blood on their tongues? Not happening.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Dorothy! Your suggestions make a lot of sense. I really appreciate your help!

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  6. Great first page! Love the voice and details! :) Good luck in round two!!!

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