Monday, January 28, 2013

Bouncer Post #75


Title: THE HARKER SINS
Genre: New Adult Urban Fantasy
Word Count: 83,000

Query:

The Seven Deadly Sins are the highest ranking demons in Satan's army, and they are literally hellbent on destroying human souls. According to a faceless angel and an eccentric prophet, the only person capable of stopping them is Lyndon Harker. And he's no priest.

Twenty-two-year-old Lyndon can barely support himself and his autistic twin brother. Despite growing up an orphan in a Catholic church after the death of his parents, Lyndon gives little thought to God or His eternal nemesis. Nor should he, really. While his zealous parents gave everything to God's charities, the late Mr. and Mrs. Harker were allowed to die in a car accident, leaving their twin baby boys with little more than a measly trust fund and a few Habitat for Humanity photos.

When Koral Waters stalks Lyndon down and spouts off about exorcisms, an army of demons, and a mission from God, Lyndon doesn't know whether to laugh at her or direct her to the nearest hospital. She insists an angel chose her to help Lyndon complete his mission: exorcise the Seven  Deadly Sins from seven sinners.

Lyndon barely escapes the clutches of a tar-spitting demon and sets down a path that inevitably leads him to Sean Edmunds. A depressed drunk on the edge of making a deal with the devil, Sean is the main entree for the Sin of Gluttony, who doesn't care who he hurts on his quest to consume Sean's soul.

With no idea how to perform an exorcism, a family legacy with its own secrets, and a demon hungry for more than flesh, Lyndon struggles not only to discover his purpose but to survive it.

First 250:

Lyndon Harker entered his apartment to find the living room covered with mounds of paper. Shredded paper to be exact. A dozen tiny heaps of ripped up, cut up, and obliterated stationery were scattered about the apartment. Mostly old newspapers and magazines. His home looked like a mole field. 

"Isaac," he sighed, shutting the front door. He glanced into the open kitchen and saw the oven clock: 3:02. His interview was in twenty-eight minutes. He didn't have time for this. His unexpected lunch shift had made him late enough.

He could hear his brother grunting back in his own room. Lyndon dropped his server's apron next to the front door, crossed to Isaac's room, and knocked.

"Hey, Eyes," he said, using his brother's nickname. "You in there?"

The grunting continued but there was no response. Lyndon considered this permission to enter.

His twin brother sat on the floor with a pair of scissors in one hand and a half-annihilated book in the other. Isaac was going to town ripping the text to pieces. A sliver of tongue poked through his lips as he sliced into at least twenty pages at a time. Isaac grunted as he destroyed more and more pages — it was a rather thick book. Thicker, he noticed, than the destroyed newspapers and magazines in the living room. . . .

"Wait! No!"

Lyndon realized what Isaac was chomping into and scrambled for it. Isaac jumped back, flinging the scissors behind him.

10 comments:

  1. Sounds great! Your query had me scared and eager to read more. Good luck!

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  2. Love your 250! Great introduction Lyndon and his brother. Strong voice. My suggestions are only about the query.

    Love the first line of your query, great set up and I want to read more. I'm a little confused by the second and third sentence, "According to a faceless angel and an eccentric prophet, the only person capable of stopping them is Lyndon Harker. And he's no priest." Are the angel and prophet important characters? If so, they should have names, if not, perhaps you could simplify it to "According to prophecy." And why should it matter if Lyndon is not a priest? Seems a little awkward right there. Maybe later in the query it would work.

    "after the death of his parents" is redundant as we know he is an orphan.

    Paragraphs 2-4 could benefit from a heavy revision. All the elements and the information seems to be there, with glimpses of strong voice, but the over all wording could use revision so it reads easier.

    Is Koral the eccentric prophet?

    Love the last paragraph. This sets up the problem, what is at stake, and what Lyndon will have to do . Great! And leading into your first scene, I really get a sense of the uphill battle Lyndon will have. It is hard enough to take care of an autistic brother, but now he has to do and save the world. Very nice.

    Hope that helps. This sounds like a great book.

    Good luck!
    Amy #73

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    1. Thanks for the feedback. That definitely helps. I know exactly what you're talking about. Saving your recommendations right now.

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  3. I love your 250. The scene is set, with good deatils and excellent tension. Also the concept -- I am a sucker for fantasy mixed with real-life issues. The struggles of a "new adult" to both establish himself in the world and care for his non-neurotypical sibling will make great reading.

    That said, I think your query can use some streamlining. Amy points out some of the redundancies; I am also a bit confused as to where the paranormal storyline is going to take Lynden. Why are these 7 sinners so important? Who is caring for his brother while Lynden's off performing exorcisms? What does all this have to do with his family? I know I'm asking you to give me less and more at the same time, but given the strngth of the 250, I think you can do this.

    Good luck from # 76

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    1. Okay, that makes sense to expand on the "why." Pare down the backstory a bit and talk more in the present. I believe that's what you're saying. Thanks!

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  4. I really enjoyed your first 250 and I think it's a great intro to Lyndon and Isaac. I also want to read on to find out what special book Isaac is cutting up when Lyndon finds him.

    I actually think your query is really good too. I think your only real problem there is lead-ins between paragraphs and ideas, so they flow together a little better.

    Thoughts and suggestions for the query:

    Love the opener and I honestly like the 2nd line too. The only snag there is: Slenderman was totally the first thing that popped in my head when I read it, and I doubt that's the intention when describing an angel. >.< Is the angel 'faceless' in a Slenderman-No-Facial-Features kind of way, or does the angel only speak through the prophet and doesn't appear to Lyndon? 'Faceless' might not be the right word there if the angel isn't literarily faceless. Or maybe think about not using an adjective there altogether? We probably don't need to know in the query that the angel is faceless(literally) or faceless(in a Lyndon-doesn't-actually-meet-the-angel way). But that's just me.

    I get what you were doing with the 3rd line. You're using the colloquialism to say he's not perfect, he has issues of his own, and isn't very religious. But I already saw a comment that was confused because they thought there must be an issue with Lyndon not being a literal priest. Confusion is understandable considering you go on to say he needs to exorcise demons later, and, well, priests exorcise demons. Being clever here may not be worth confusing some readers. Something to think about.

    I don't think the 1st paragraph flows naturally into the 2nd one. If you want to detail Lyndon's hard-knock life and why, on the surface, he isn't the best candidate for demon slaying, then you might consider leading in with something like, 'Lyndon doesn't seem like the best candidate for demon slaying because...' *snort* Okay, you know... In your own words, with your own snappy voice and all. As is, this paragraph reads like a chunk of disconnected back story in the middle of your query.

    "Nor should he, really." -- This sentence is the only part of your query that makes my eye twitch. In a query about a man who must slay the seven deadly sins, it seems contradictory (in any context) to say he shouldn't really give a thought about 'God or His eternal nemesis.' At least to me. o_o Maybe you could say, 'And he's never been given reason to.'?

    In the 3rd paragraph, I like the details of 'a measly trust fund and a few Habitat for Humanity photos.' I think Lyndon's bitterness toward God shines through in that sentence and would be missing from the query w/o it.

    I like the 4th paragraph, as is.

    The 5th paragraph's opening is pretty abrupt. Maybe play around with adding something like, 'Lyndon doesn't believe her until...'?

    You end with a great closer!

    A question out of curiosity, not critique:
    Is this going to be a series with one sin per book? Or does Lyndon tackle all the sins in one go? I would definitely read on. In fact, I wish I could. I really love the voice in your first 250 and the imagery of the living room turned mole field. The scene is very vivid in my thoughts.

    This is all my opinion and if suggestions don't feel right to you, then they aren't. Good luck!

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    1. Wow. Your feedback is amazing! I see exactly what you mean about the flow and the "not a priest" line. Makes perfect sense. I agree with your comment about "Nor should he, really," too. I actually felt a nagging sensation when I wrote that, so that definitely confirms to me that it's not working. Thanks so much!

      To answer your question, yes, it is a one-sin-per-book sort of thing, but I'm hoping it stands completely on its own. I don't want to scare away any potential agent and/or publisher. Ha!

      Thanks again.

      P.S. Are you in this round? I'd like to repay you for your critique by reading your entry and leaving feedback as well.

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    2. Well, I'm glad it helped! :D

      I'm not in the contest, I just stopped by for a friend and ended up reading all the entries... lol

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