Monday, February 4, 2013

Bouncer Post #130

Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy
Word Count: 81,000


Chris Chappell is doomed to life as a Norm--a normal 17-year-old, that is--until his wizard father develops an amulet that grants even the most un-magical of people wizard powers. After years of being the family pariah, Chris has the power he always wanted and his father is finally proud of him.

Actually a wizard, Chris is eligible to attend Southeast Paranormal High School with his siblings and best friend, Jeremy. At Para High, popularity and power are intrinsically linked, and after Chris saves his classmates from attack by a vicious spirit, he takes his place as the most popular student at the school.

When Jeremy discovers Chris's powers are unnatural, he demands that Chris give up the amulet, because it puts Chris outside of Para law as he is technically still a Norm. But Chris will not go back to his previous life: being a reject in his own family and a second-class citizen. With the amulet he's the most powerful wizard to ever live, and he will do whatever it takes to keep his power. Even tweak the mind of his best friend.

After all, what's a little mind control between friends?

THE DESCENT OF CHRIS CHAPPELL is a villain origin story told from two viewpoints. It is a standalone with series potential.

First 250:

Sweat beads on my forehead and drips down my face as I sit in my car. I clench my fist around the keys, considering shoving them back into the ignition and driving off. Anywhere would be better than here.

I glance into the rear view mirror and wince at the sight of my bloodshot gray eyes. Who freaking uses hair spray in the middle of the band locker room? I just wanted to grab my trumpet, and I got sprayed in the face. Sure, it was an accident, but it’s the principle of the matter. Freshman girls have less sense than drunken were-hyenas.

With a sigh I rest my head against the steering wheel. Cursing freshmen won’t get me anywhere. It’s not really her fault. She doesn’t know my family is insane. She doesn’t know that I don’t wear contacts for sight and that having to take them out because my eyes are on fire is a huge deal that could result in my family getting sanctioned by the government.

No one knows. Well, no one except my crazy family.

Sitting in the car isn’t going to help. I need to man up and just go inside. Odds are no one will even notice me slipping in. Dad’s probably in the basement. Mom’s car isn’t even here so she must be at work. And the twins know better than to get me in trouble—especially about this.


  1. Great query! Very cool premise. :)

    The first 250 confused me a little. At first, I thought he was in the school parking lot, but by the end it sounds like he's at home. Maybe clarify that. Maybe it's just me. :)

    I wonder if you could give a little more about the purpose of the contacts. It seems like you're withholding info just to create tension, which usually isn't a good idea. You don't need to explain everything, just maybe give a stronger hint of what removing the contacts might reveal. Just a thought.

    In the first line you can probably cut "as I sit in the car." It reads a little awkwardly and it's clear from the next line that he's in the car so I don't think you need it.

    Overall, I like the voice, and I'm intrigued enough by the premise to keep reading. :)

    Good luck to you!


  2. I really love this idea - and it comes across great in the query. As I read it, I got really excited to read your first 250 (and actually wanted more - like the whole book!). But your first 250 didn't grab me because I was confused about the contacts. Why would his family get in trouble if he took them out? Like Abby suggested, a bit more about the contacts would have been good. That aside, I still would keep reading because your query is so strong and I'm really in love with the entire idea.

    Best of luck!!

  3. I enjoyed your first 250. I think if you clarify the part with the contacts it will make that part a bit less confusing. But other than that, I think it's good! I really liked the voice.

    My one suggestion would be to tweak the opening of yoursecond paragraph in your query. The "actually a wizard" part felt a tiny bit awkward to me. Other than that I think it sounds compelling and I'd definitely read more. :)

  4. The line about freshman girls having less sense than drunken were-hyenas made me laugh. I don't know what a were-hyena is yet, but it was funny anyway. Your premise sounds unique in that it shows your mc's journey toward becoming a villain and the last line of your query is sufficiently creepy to hook me in! Hope you do well in the contest!

  5. Your query is really strong and makes me want to keep reading the book! The only suggestion I have is to cut out the words "being a" in the sentence about "being a reject in his own family..." I think the less words, the stronger the statement.

    And I agree with Jaime about the "actually a wizard" part.

    I would definitely want to read this!

  6. Interesting idea! Great query, although I would agree with the others about maybe changing the phrase "Actually a wizard".

    In your first 250, this line made me grin: "Who freaking uses hair spray in the middle of the band locker room?" Unlike some other commenters, the contacts didn't bother me a bit. I just figured the explanation was still coming. I loved the paragraph about the family.

    Best of luck!
    #112, Kiss #33

  7. Bouncer Queen of HeartsFebruary 6, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    Your premise is outstanding, and I love the villain thread. Some of the sentences in your 250 are a little awkward, so I recommend reading through to smooth that out.'re in!

    1. Thank you so much! I will definitely look through my first 250 again to tighten things up!

      Thank you!

  8. The premise in the query sounded a little generic at first, but once I got to the end it did sound unique. I understand needing to set the stage, but the gripping part is definitely that Chris is embracing his dark side. I’d maybe focus a little more on that? I’m really bad at queries – so please ignore this if you disagree. ☺
    As for the first 250
    I really liked the voice peeking through, not too much but enough that you start to get his personality. I kind of got lost in the what was going on – maybe because I wasn’t quite sure where he was (other than obviously in his car). I felt a little torn between what happened in the band hall (and who hasn’t been hair sprayed in the band hall…lol) and his dilemma with getting out of his car. Is he afraid of his parents finding out that his eyes are red? If his family knows about the amulet, then is he in trouble for something else?

    Does he wear the amulet as contacts? Because that’s pretty sweet.

    -Karie (#115)

  9. And thank you for the comments and encouragement, everyone! I really wasn't sure about my query, so I'm so glad you guys liked it! And everyone is right about the "actually a wizard" part. I need to find a better transition there.

    As for the contacts situation, it's explained very shortly in the story. Like within the next hundred words. So I promise it's not drawn out long!

    I'm so excited! Thank you everyone for your amazing comments!!!!

  10. First off, a few line edits: In the first paragraph, "considering shoving" is awkward; I suspect there's a better way to word that whole sentence. In the second paragraph, the first line threw me off. People generally don't note their eye color when they're looking at their own eyes, and you can't see yourself in the rearview unless you crane your neck or adjust the mirror.

    As for overall thoughts, I think the other commenters have already made some good ones, so I'll just add that I never fully settled into the scene because, like Karie, I didn't know where we were. At first, I assumed he was sitting in his car in the school parking lot, but then we were in the band room, then his driveway. Apparently, he was sitting in his driveway the whole time, but it took me a few reads to get that. It also took me a few reads to get that he was thinking back on what happened in the band room, not that we actually went there.

    All of this made me wonder if maybe you're just not starting at quite the right spot. What if we started in the band room and saw the spraying in real time, then cut to the house scene? Then we'd SEE his panic. Or you could just skip ahead to the house scene instead of starting out in the car. Or you can just pat me on the head and smooth out a few sentences and call it good:) It's totally your call, of course--I'm just throwing out some ideas.

    Good luck, Mandy!