Thursday, May 17, 2012

Team CupidsLC #11 - PHOBIC

Title: PHOBIC
Genre: YA Horror
Word Count: 70,000

Query:

Fifteen-year-old Piper Crenshaw knows her house is strange. It’s never needed repairs since it was built in the 1800’s, and the lights flicker in response to things she says. As if that's not creepy enough, it’s also the place where her mother committed murder.

To prove she’s not afraid of where she lives, Piper opens a forbidden door, which hides a staircase that leads to the ceiling. That’s when the flashbacks of the original residents from 1875 start, including a love affair between two young servants. Each vision pulls Piper deeper into not only their story, but also her house. Piper confides in her best friend, Todd, whom she's gradually falling for, but even he doesn't believe her. At least, not until her house gets axed during a prank, and the act injures Piper instead, cutting a gash the size of Texas into her stomach.

Piper realizes her house isn’t haunted—it’s alive. To sever her link to it, she must unravel the clues in the flashbacks and uncover the truth about her mother’s crime, before she becomes part of her house for good. 

First 250:

When I was six years old I found the man my mother murdered stuffed under a trap door in our kitchen. The smell gave him away.

Police swarmed the house, which—uncharacteristically—made no creaking groans of protest at having that many outsiders in it. It was almost like the house knew Mom’s secret and wanted her to get caught.

The roof above me rasps now, like it’s being racked by a fleeting storm, but I grip the clarinet in my hands and glance at the stationary leaves and blue sky outside. Another moaning rasp resounds, nearly overriding the chime from the vintage clock with its swinging pendulum. That chime tells me I have thirty minutes before school starts. Time to get going. Except no matter how creeped out I am in my house, school is the last place I want to be.

Holding my clarinet so I don’t bend its silver keys, I separate the wooden pieces, place them in the case, and snap the clasps shut. Silence clouds my parents’ room in place of the sultry tones I’d been pushing out minutes before, and I stiffen, more aware of the walls around me. They’re like people I have to make my way through, a pulsing crowd of wood that inverts depending on my movements, tilting and nosing in. When I stop to notice them, they look away; motionless, as if they didn’t know I was there. Just walls, I tell myself, feeling a presence on my back like my every move is being calculated. 

31 comments:

  1. I was sold when the ax hurt her instead. This is something I haven't seen before, would love to see what happens.

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  2. If literally all you'd posted were just those two opening lines, I would've been sold. This book just sounds too creepily awesome for words.

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  3. I'm so happy they let the alternates participate too! Go Phobic!

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  4. Woohoo!! LOVE this!! The query sold me. A living house that damages the inhabitant when it's hurt?! Yes, please!!!

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  5. I've read this manuscript and it rocks! Not many stories feature a house as one of the main characters. Go Cortney!

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  6. Woot!!!!! Go, go, go!!! (Seriously. Pee-your-panties scary.)

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  7. LOVE this idea - i love haunted houses and throw in one that's alive? Awesome

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  8. Such a cool premise! I'm totally rooting for you, Cortney!

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  9. Haunted houses are very cool! Ditto on the first two lines comment. You've got the best first two lines of the whole group. But then again, I like creepy stories like this.

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  10. Oh my god, yes, yes, yes, I want to read this right now. This is *awesome*. I'm gushing because 1.) it's horror, 2.) it's YA horror and 3.) the concept is awesome and 4.) those first lines are great. Really, this whole thing is perfect.

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  11. This sounds SO creepy! I love it!

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  12. So wonderfully creepy - WELL DONE! Good luck! :D

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  13. Ahh so creepy! And the first 250 make sure we know it stays that way. Good luck!

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  14. Sounds amazing! I'd love to read it.

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  15. I LOVE this. I would totally read it. Haunting, great premise. I'm sold ;o)

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  16. The whole living house and that first line - guh! Gives me the shivers! Love it.

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  17. Haunted or alive, this house sounds totally creeptastic! Good luck!

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  18. Such creepy goodness here! Good luck!

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  19. What a great, creative twist on a haunted house story. This sounds like something I'd love to read.

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  20. I love the changes to your query. Definitely draws me in.

    Good luck!

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  21. I normally would not pick up a horror story, but this one sounds really creepy and intriguing and really captures my interest. Great job! Good luck!

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  22. Still love this premise and the opening lines....they pull me in right away! Good luck!

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  23. *floats through, moaning and making ghosty sounds* WOOO OOOHHH!!! Way to go! GOOOOD LUUUCK WOOOOOO.....

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  24. I STILL shudder when I read this query - and as a proud and happy teammate, I've read it a few times. ;)

    Incredible concept, beautiful writing, lady! So proud to be on your team. I'm cheering for you so hard! GO PHOBIC GO!!!!

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  25. Loooooove this story!!!!! Go PHOBIC!!!!! :D

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  26. I vote for you! What a great concept. Looking forward to your pages.

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  27. WOW! I VOTE FOR YOU! I LOVE THIS. My favorite one so far.

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  28. #11 PHOBIC

    Query:

    Oooh, freaky! The bit about the mom committing murder in the house is a great hook—it makes the situation feel more personal than just a random haunted house. I really can’t find anything I would change about this query—it seems to lay out all the important beats of the story and certainly piques my interest to find out more.

    First page:

    NICE writing here! I’m feeling creeped out by the walls right along with the narrator. I really like how you work the details about the house into an otherwise normal scene with your MC practicing the clarinet. I’m also really intrigued that she refers to her parents’ room, which makes me think that her mom is not in jail…and wonder why that is.

    Normally I’d suggest starting in the present before going into a flashback, but I think that the brief flashback you begin with here is so compelling that it might be the exception to that rule.

    I’d add a comma after “six years old,” but that’s my only nitpick. Great first page!

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