Monday, February 4, 2013

Bouncer Post #115

Genre: YA Fantasy
Word Count: 70,000


Her cousin Zale is already dead.  Going back in time is the only way Mya can save him.

In the mountain kingdom of Montros, elite winged protectors guard the King from danger, especially from the tribal Abak who seek the kingdom’s rich resources. Mya, a slave, is serving in the King’s dining room when cloaked men burst in and attack. Her cousin Zale, a protector, removes the King from harm, but dies at the hands of the Abak. Although Mya doesn’t give a rat’s flip about a failed attack on the King of Montros, with her sparse family tree she can’t afford to be losing cousins.

After the attackers die, Mya and Bren, a fellow slave, are the only ones left standing with no one to corroborate their story. Mya flees with Bren after guards discover the attack originated in the servants’ quarters. Their attempt to hide fails and a strange pale boy discovers them. The boy, Alistair, confesses that he is a moon who can manipulate time and he offers them a way back to the past to save Zale.

Though Alistair is uncharacteristically silent about his motives for helping her, he admits that he has taken Mya through time before – only Mya doesn’t remember the experience. Still, Alistair’s cosmic plan to go back in time and save Zale is her only hope – at least that’s what Alistair wants her to believe.

As Mya uncovers more of Alistair’s history, she begins to doubt he is as selfless as he claims. The plot behind the attack on the King is larger than she anticipated, and Mya realizes she may have a lot to gain – or lose – from another foray in time.

First 250:

Write it all down, he said. From the beginning, he said. Stupid Alistair, he didn’t explain why I’m writing this journal, probably so if I die, he’ll have something interesting to read.

I live – well I guess I lived – in the Mountain Kingdom of Montros until the King Darius’ nephew was killed ten days ago. Was it really only ten days ago? I’m not very good at keeping time straight, so I’m sure this journal will be extremely useful.

As one of the Montros’ lowly servants I live to serve the royal family with joy and diligence in all that I do… though I hoped to do something different. I aspired to be one of the protectors, but I failed my tests. Which was rather stupid and really not my fault. The King’s nephew wasn’t in danger and even if he had been the son of a peck probably deserved to be killed.

All right, maybe that’s a little harsh considering one of the King’s nephews did die… but I’m getting ahead of myself. Should I even bother talking about the attack on the King? Cripes, if that boy weren’t so beautiful, I wouldn’t do anything he said. There, Alistair, I said you were attractive. I doubt you’re surprised.


  1. Your story premise sounds interesting, especially the mystery surrounding Alistair and what his real motives are. I wonder if you could clarify the term "moon" in reference to Alistair. Is this a sect of some sort, and if so, should it perhaps be capitalized to help clarify this? Just a suggestion. I also think your mc's voice comes through well in your first 250 words. Good luck with the contest!

  2. I love the first paragraph of your 250. In one paragraph I got a good feeling for Alastair and Mya's relationship! I liked it.

    I like the voice, but I'm a little concerned about how modern Mya sounds. This seems like a second-world fantasy, and usually that means a less modern voice. I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing that the voice is modern--it could definitely work, it was just a little jarring.

    I'm definitely curious about the premise from the query. Why doesn't Mya remember going back in time with Alistair before? And what's his motive? I would read on.

    I would leave Bren out of the query. You only mention him for two lines and he doesn't seem to have much of an impact on the rest of it. So I would cut him out. For the query it's not necessary to know she escapes with another specific person.

    ~Mandy (#130)

  3. I agree that you don't really need Bren here. You might actually condense the first couple of paragraphs of the query; it's the stuff with Alistair that seems like the meat of the matter, especially since he turns up so prominently in the first 250. Like Erin, I'm wondering about the term "moon."

    I'm intrigued by your premise (I love time-travel stories), and your protagonist seems engaging. She demonstrates a lot of personality, and I approve of her grumpiness. However, there may be a bit too much exposition early on. I was also distracted by the comma splices in the first paragraph. I know you're formatting the story as a journal and therefore may want to relax the rules of grammar a bit, but maybe the fact that you start with what many see as a major grammatical error will be seen as problematic by people viewing the manuscript for the first time.

    All in all, I see a lot of potential here, and I would like to know what happens next.

    Good luck...
    Kari (#120)

  4. I think this is a great premise - I love the angle that she's been time traveling with Alastir but doesn't remember. I would condense the query a bit. I think we can take Bren out if he's not a major part of the story. The crux of your story seems to be Alastair and Mya so I would focus on that for the query as well. "When her cousin dies, Mya goes back in time to save him." - instant hook for us. I don't need to know how her cousin died really. You can even bring that in later in the query letter, though. Something like "Alastair is keeping secrets and Mya suspects he may have had a hand in the raid that killed or cousin" or something like that.

    Your voice is very clear in your first 250. Mya comes across well and I have the exact sense of her relationship with Alastair. I would add some punctuation in that first paragraph though.

    Best of luck!!

  5. I'm intriguiged by the dealings with Alistair and what will happen and has happened due to her time travelling. Like the other commenters, I wondered what a moon is. :-) I think you could do some condensing in the query as the others suggested. I was also thinking that the word "uncharacteristically" may not fit, since it seems like Mya just met him. I also don't think you need this "at least that’s what Alistair wants her to believe" since the next sentence says the same thing, but from Mya's perspective.

    In your first 250, this line made me smile: "I’m not very good at keeping time straight", and I like how she writes directly to Alistair at the end. I think Kari has a good point that it might be a bit backstory-ish. Maybe you could jump ahead to something else and let this trickle in later?

    Sounds like a very interesting read. Good luck!
    Laura, Kiss #33, BSD #112

  6. I'm confused by your query and think you have too much going on, which is a common problem in fantasy queries. I know you want to set up the world, but there are a lot of names and concepts mentioned in this brief pitch. Try to stick to 3 named characters/places/groups at the most in a query. I also think those opening two sentences in your query don't work - they made me think this was a modern day time travel book, not a fantasy. Instead, try starting with your main character and who she is, and then get into the problem she faces, and so forth. Your premise is actually really interesting, and I think with some tightening up your query could be really strong.

    Your opening pages have a lot of good voice. My only concern is that, in journal formats like this, it can veer toward telling/backstory easily, so you might want to redo them a bit to work on this. Still, your voice is strong enough and the concept unique enough that I'd keep reading to see what happens.

    YOU'RE IN!

  7. Congratulations! See you in the next round and thanks for your comments!
    Laura, #112