Monday, January 21, 2013

Bouncer Post #61

Genre: Upper Middle Grade
Word Count: 54,000


Fourteen-year-old Rossi was born with a single witch stone, which makes her almost a witch. Real witches have two stones. One to draw power. The other to disperse it. Without a second stone, Rossi’s is nothing more than pretty decoration and a reminder that she doesn’t fit in. Not with her coven. Nor in her town. 

Then, one night, when the lightning strikes, a breakaway bolt charges straight for Rossi. She’s changed. Her eyesight is sharper, her hearing clearer, but still she’s unable to work a spell. Rossi assumes that the strike was a freak of nature, just like she is, until a host of strangers make their way to Rossi’s isolated county. They all claim to be her friend and help her learn the meaning of being a one stone witch. However, not all of them are telling the truth.
Rossi has to decide who to trust and whether she has any true craft inside of her before her witch stone is stolen.

First 250:

Lightning struck the dirt close to where Rossi sat, her fingers jammed in her ears. She jumped with every crackle of energy, but didn't dare open her eyes. Rossi hated harvesting lightning. It was loud, hot and smelled like roasted cat. Plus, her short brown hair always stood on end for several days afterward, frizzed beyond any hope from the mix of electricity and drenching rain that would follow. Why did they have to be lightning witches? If only the element from which they drew their power was a gentle babbling brook, she would have been much more at ease. But no, they had to inherit the one element that could sizzle the skin right off her back.

“Mom, that was too close. Stop flinging it at me.” Rossi glanced at her mother perched on the edge of Nowan cliff, arms outstretched like she was welcoming an old friend. Her white gown whipped around her legs in the storm winds. She always dressed in her finest for the lightning ritual while Rossi threw a jacket over her mud spattered pants and her favorite worn shirt that was missing two buttons.

 “You could use a charge or two. You've been rather pale lately.” Mom lowered her arms and another bolt streaked through the night sky straight for the emeralds embedded in her palms. “Come here and try. You give up too easy.”

 “No!” Rossi opened her hands. A brilliant diamond sparkled in her left palm. Her right hand, empty.


  1. I like the imagery of calling the lightning with diamonds in their palms. I'm a little confused by the "host of strangers" part, though. I'm not sure if the strangers are random individuals, or whether they are a group within which there are intrigues and factions. You might be able to say something like, "until strangers begin arriving in Rossi's isolated county" or "until a group of strangers makes its way to Rossi's isolated county". I love the line, "You could use a charge or two." Lightning strikes are a great thing for a mom to be nagging about.

    Good luck to you, from entry #45!

  2. I love the mom and daughter relationship we see here right away and I think it's an interesting take on witches, with the lightning! I'm wondering if the last line of the query might be stronger if it emphasizes that this would be her one and only witch stone getting stolen...something like, "before the one witch stone she has is stolen." I also agree with Saille's recommendation about "until strangers" (if they come one by one) or "a group of strangers" (if they come as all together.) I'm intrigued by the story and enjoyed your first 250!

  3. I love this idea! I especially loved your first 250. Such great voice, an intriguing mom-daughter relationship, and I already have a good feel for Rossi's character.

    The first paragraph of your query is perfect. Love it! You've got a great hook. I think you could be a bit more specific in the second paragraph...for example, how does Rossi suspect some of the strangers are lying to her?

    This sounds like such a good read. I'd pick it up from the bookshelf:)

    Best of luck!

    Gail (#60)

  4. I really like your writing!

    I think you have a few displaced comma's but you writing is great!

    Good luck!

  5. Thank you for the wonderful feedback!!!

    Commas will be the death of me :)

  6. I love this. I'm definitely hooked. Your first 250 really drew me in. I think your query is almost there. You have room to add a little more pizazz through details/word choice and some more specificity (e.g., host of strangers, stolen from whom?).

    Thanks for your comments on my entry.

    Good luck! - Monica (#69)

  7. Witch stones in their palms, lightning witches and mysterious strangers on the horizon-- I'm loving these components. Your first 250 are full of great imagery and voice. I agree with the above comment of enjoying the mother/daughter relationship. This sounds like an extremely fun and colorful read! BEST of luck to you! :) And thank you for the comments on my entry, too. #48

  8. Loved the whole package. And would've kept reading. Love her voice, love the premise! Good luck!

  9. I thought the query was perfect! The 250 was equally amazing, though I would add "the emeralds in BOTH her palms" to emphasize the one empty palm of Rossi's hands. Super small detail.

  10. I think that you have a fun concept here, and I really like the first line of your query. However, all the short sentences that follow make it unnecessarily choppy, in my opinion; I think that the flow would be better if you did some combining. (For instance: “Real witches have two stones: One to draw power, the other to disperse it.” And “…reminder that she doesn’t fit in—not with her coven, nor in her town.”)

    In your first page, I think that you can break your first paragraph up into two or three—maybe at “Rossi hated harvesting lightening…” and again at “Why did they have to be lightning witches?” You have some great snippets of voice here—“smelled like roasted cat” is terrific, as is the mom’s line about Rossi being pale—but overall I just couldn’t quite get whether the tone was supposed to be irreverent or serious. Whichever you mean it to be, I think that you could push harder in that direction to make this sample really shine.

    Best of luck!