Monday, February 4, 2013

Bouncer Post #110

Genre: Dark YA Fantasy
Word Count: 77,000


When Lilith strangles Daniel on their wedding night, he expects to go where everyone else goes when they die: Paradise, or Torment. Instead, he finds himself sucked into the Ether, a strange place that catches lost souls. But the Ether is more than that. It’s also the place where the battle between good and evil will be won, or lost.

The two kings of the Ether have been struggling to keep the balance between darkness and light for eternity. But the system is failing, and one of the kings has aligned himself with the forces of darkness. It’s left to the other king, Varesin, to uphold what the Ether stands for, and for that, he needs Daniel.

Told that he can never go home again, Daniel agrees to work for Varesin as a wrighter, fixing the wrongs of the past that threaten to tip the world out of balance. But before he can complete his training, Varesin is captured by the dark king. Daniel is left alone with only a shadow cat and a mysterious sword that gives him the ability to visit his own past. After harnessing the power of the blade, he learns several things that will shape his (after)life forever:

Varesin is the reason Daniel lived at all, but he’s also the reason Daniel died.

The feud Daniel and Lilith married to end has murdered his entire family.

And the only way to save the world is to kill the woman he would still do anything for.

Sometimes, our greatest enemy is love. 

First 250: 

She killed the boy with a piece of lace from her wedding gown.
Or, at least, he thought she did.

He expected to go straight to the ever after when the last of his breath left his lungs, and his heart slowed and stopped. But instead, when his soul cleaved from his body and rose with the lightness of a soap bubble toward the sky, he felt it all. He felt her hands tremble as they flew, pink and swollen, to her face. He felt the warmth of her breath as she exhaled: a strange sound somewhere between disbelief and delight.

He felt the tickle of joy he usually got at the sight of her smile when she moved her hands to reveal a grin.

That, more than anything—more than her betrayal, more than his death, more than what it would mean for his family—made him sad. That even though she’d murdered him, he still loved her.

Wind rushed over him as she grew smaller and smaller below. He gusted away toward the clear starry sky and whatever waited for him there. The moon clung desperately to the horizon.

Perhaps that was where Paradise lie, on the dark side of the moon.

But he headed straight up instead, away from the moon and into the darkness between the stars.

For a moment, the entire universe stretched before him. And then he was sucked somewhere . . . between. 


  1. This is quite the opening for your story! I love some of the language you use here: comparing his soul to a soap bubble, the moon clinging to the horizon, the way he disappears into the darkness between the stars. And the first line of your query grabbed my attention right away. Sounds great!

  2. This seems like an intriguing concept. I get a good sense of your story from the query. I'm wondering if "wrighter" is a misspelling (someone who rights wrongs, yes?) or simply an idiosyncratic term. If it's the latter, you may want to make it clear why you've chosen this spelling. You also include a problematic verb tense ("that was where Paradise lie") in your excerpt. I do like the idea of beginning with the protagonist's murder.

    Incidentally, I'm Kari (#122). Good luck in the contest!

  3. What an interesting idea! The first line of the query is certainly an attention-grabber. I'm not sure if you need these sentences: "After harnessing...his entire family." I think it is more concise to just skip to the big issue he's facing with needing to kill the woman he loves. I think I might also suggest to leave off the last line of the query.

    In the first 250, I like how you stated with Daniel's death. Only, the mention of "the boy" in the first line made me think of a small child, but I'm guessing you mean Daniel, right? It might make sense to just say "him" instead, also because "the boy" seems distant, but the rest of the passage is more in Daniel's head, right?

    Your writing is beautiful, and I really like the last line.
    Good luck!

    Laura, Kiss #33, BSD #112

  4. I'm a bit confused by your query and opening pages. For one thing, this doesn't sound like YA from the query or the pages, so you might want to either change the book to adult or make it more clear why this is YA. Also, when/where is this set in the beginning? It isn't clear from the query or pages if this starts in the modern world we know, or somewhere else. I'm also confused as to what the kings had to do with his murder, and why she killed him, and how this all ties together. And in the opening pages, who is the boy? Is that the main character, and if so, why are the characters not named? How did she kill him with lace? Could you start the scene a little earlier so we can see what happens and who these characters are, before you jump straight into his death? I think that would help clear things up a lot.