Monday, February 4, 2013

Bouncer Post #135

Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Word Count: 105,000


Set in twentieth century England, 14-year old Colin Coghill's father is killed in a battle between the Frytons of North Yorkshire and Ilsor the Red Dragon, Aeglaeca and their armies.  Ilsor takes North Yorkshire and makes it disappear from the rest of England while Colin is swept away to Oxford where he is kept safe under the watchful eye of his mother Elemi as well as several other Frytons who managed to escape with them.  
Several years later, 17-year old Colin Coghill, is in Oxford at Magdalene College,surrounding himself with members of the Notions Club, several scholars from the colleges who are building rich traditions in writing and magic, while finishing every pint that is put in front of them. Once the darkness finds Colin and crawls out onto the streets of Oxford searching for him, Coghill finally has to accept his role in the war against Ilsor and the Red Dragons.

Coghill leaves Oxford and reunites with his best friend Seamus in an effort to find an entrance into North Yorkshire.  They undertake a series of adventures that allow them to find great treasure, face massive creatures and discover trustworthy allies in an effort to revenge Rogan’s death and put an end to Ilsor’s reign.

During the final battle, Coghill is killed and in his grief Seamus wields Dragonfyre, killing Aeglaeca. Dragonfyre is a flame that burns so hot it can undo the past actions of whoever it touches and the moment Aeglaeca dies, Coghill, his father and the hundreds of others Aeglaeca has killed come back to life for the final battle with Ilsor and the Reds.

First 250

After many years of teaching, Colin Coghill had finally reached that point where he had enough of the consistency, reliability and uniformity that accompanies such a secure setting and so many learned people all within their same, small clearly outlined edge of the world. 

The life he had yearned for so long ago had truly served its purpose, allowing him to slow down his life, refresh his outlook and find a renewed fire for the road and what might be just around that next corner.  But the moment the Darkness managed to come crawling out of its world and hunt for him on the streets of Oxford and the memories of his past adventures with Seamus came flooding back to him, he knew it was time to go.

Once he finally committed to the decision Coghill knew he needed to see Owen to seek both his council and his approval so he set out across campus to find him.  He passed the Great Tower at Magdalen College, quickly crossed St. John’s Quadrangle and entered the first entranceway to the Cloisters and made his way up the flight of stone steps, which led to Owen’s private office.  The sound of the soles of his shoes squeaking on the stone tile floors could be heard resonating throughout the atrium, his pace quickening with each step


  1. What a fabulous setting you have. I love the idea of Dragonfyre (and the scholars finishing every pint put in front of them!).

    The query makes the story sound intriguing but I lost my place over a couple of details -- e.g. do you ever say who Rogan is? Is he Colin's father? I'm not 100% sure what the relationship is between Isor and the Red Dragon, either. Are they the same thing?

    I liked the slow, somewhat formal voice of your 250 words. Although, I wondered if it would be interesting to show Colin making the decision to go?

    I love that detail of the squeaky shoes and the atrium. It really took me into the scene.

  2. It sounds like you built a very rich, detailed world here!

    Like Anna, I was also a little lost in the query. I'm guessing it may be because you might tell your story non-chronologically? Starting with Colin as a teacher, and later moving back in time to show him as a 14 or 17 year old? To tighten the query, maybe you could remove the first paragraph of the query and concentrate on when it sounds like Colin is more actively involved - when he's 17.

    I think it would also be good to see why Colin feels the need to put an end to Ilsor's reign, to understand what is really at stake. Most suggestions for queries I've seen suggest you don't give away the ending so that the agent is enticed to request pages, so you might want to consider removing some of the final details.

    Good luck!

  3. I love Urban Fantasy! And I really enjoyed the voice in your first 250 words. Your query confused me, though. I wasn't sure why Colin was important enough to be spirited away to safety and hid? You've got a good story here and you just need to flush some things out and focus your query a bit here to get it across. I think Laura had some great suggestions to help you make it shine.

    Best of luck!

  4. One of the things I find most interesting about your query is the mention of making North Yorkshire disappear. I thought that idea was really unique, and it establishes the power of your villain in a creative way. I read in an editing book recently that it's advisable to call a character by only one name for the duration of a scene. I noticed that in your query and your first 250 words you alternate between referring to your mc as Colin and Coghill. For clarity's sake it might help to stick with one of the other. Just a suggestion. Other than that, I like the setting of your story opening and wish you luck in the contest!