Monday, January 21, 2013

Bouncer Post #52

Genre: YA Contemporary Fantasy
Word Count: 60,000


Sixteen-year-old Catalina Bramson has never seen the sky. A good mage stays in the underground cities and avoids humans at all costs. When Catalina stumbles upon a portal leading to the surface, she can’t resist the temptation.

Expecting to enjoy a night beneath the stars for the first time, Catalina instead interrupts a savage murderer in the middle of harvesting body parts. Nearly killed, Catalina is rescued by a dashing Irish boy named Will. Despite knowing it’s illegal to befriend a non-magical human, Catalina cannot help but fall in love with Will.

But there’s a secret behind magekind living separately from their non-magical cousins: humans are susceptible to a fatal sickness known as magic poisoning. When Catalina discovers Will has contracted the illness, she vows to save him as he once did for her. Now, Catalina must not only solve the murder mystery she tripped into the middle of, but also make a deal with an unscrupulous faery if she wishes to find a cure for the boy she loves.

First 250:

Catalina gnawed on the inside of her cheek as she stood in line. With each step she took toward the Arch, the glass vial hidden within the inside pocket of her vest became heavier. She’d smuggled medicine into the city before, but it always felt like the first time. She supposed there were just some things you never got used to. Knowing the Arch wasn’t designed to detect her precious cargo didn’t stop her palms from sweating or her stomach from flip-flopping.

“Next.” A guard dressed in a black trench coat with a stiff upturned collar waved her through.

Catalina sucked in a breath and stepped beneath the Arch. It wailed.

“Hands in the air!”

Catalina held up shaking hands. This couldn’t be possible. She’d passed through the Arch dozens of times with the medicine on her and the alarm had never gone off before.

Another guard stepped over and passed a plain black rod over her, starting at her head and traveling down. It glowed white when it neared where the vial was hidden.

Catalina’s stomach bottomed out. They’d updated their artifacts. For once, the law was a step ahead of her.

The guard flipped open her vest and reached into the inside pocket, plucking out the vial. He held it up before his face, arching an eyebrow. Within the glass vial swirled clear liquid filled with glittering particles. The guard pulled out the stopper and sniffed.

Catalina caught a waft of honeysuckle flowers.


  1. Obviously, all the love is going to the MG entries, because they have all the comments and badass YA's like this have zip!

    I. Love. This.
    Your query, fantastic.
    First 250, I want more.

    I love this idea. I love this concept. I love how you presented it. It's amazing. This is my favorite entry and I really, really, hope you get in because this is so awesome.

    Lots and lots of luck!

  2. Your first 250 really pulled me in. It's got great tension. The scene is familiar enough to be relatable while being completely otherworldy at the same time. Nicely done.

    I think your query is close. The first and third paragraphs work for me. In the second paragraph, if you can add something about why they fall in love or something specific about their relationship, I think it won't sound as generic (about can't help falling in love).

    Good luck! -- Monica (#69)

  3. Howdy!

    I loved the opening to your query. I'm already drawn in just by the first few lines. I like your stakes too. From her entering the human world, to witnessing a murder, to the one that saves her contracting the mage illness, and finding the cure. Everything makes it seem like the novel would be a real roller coaster!

    The only thing I was confused about, is why does she need to solve the murder? Is the murder connected to the cure somehow or the faerie, or the boy? I think you may need to explain how the murder ties into everything (body harvesting?) IS he harvesting mages or humans? Would the ultimate stakes of your novel be finding the cure, or solving the murder?

    As for you 250, loving the voice and loving the pacing. Can't really comment much on that. Definitely interested in reading more.

    Great job and good luck!

    Copernicus (post #43)

  4. Go Team Contemporary Fantasy YA!!! Wow, that was a mouthful. ;)
    Your query explains your story so well, and your story sounds fantastic! Good job and good luck!

  5. I think that the first paragraph of your query could use a “But” before “when Catalina stumbles upon…” …but that’s really my only quibble. Great first line, clear description of the plot, and just really solid overall.

    And I really loved the first page. You do an excellent job of creating tension, and work in just enough description to give us a sense of the world we’re in without info-dumping. The only line I questioned was “This couldn’t be possible”—clearly it IS possible, or Catalina wouldn’t have been so worried about it happening. Maybe instead she can try to convince herself in that moment that it must be something else setting off the alarm?

    One more question I have is about the genre—I feel like this is really a paranormal story, not a fantasy, and I understand that those are a tough sell right now. But I think that your writing is strong enough that your entry should have a shot with the agents anyway.

    YOU’RE IN! Congrats. =)