Sunday, February 10, 2013

Bouncer Post #178


TITLE: JACK WRIMO AND THE ORI OF FLAMES
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Word Count: 58,850

Query:

"Ori are a race of beings that are bonded with a natural force present on this planet.  When our mother, Earthra, creates a new example of her power, she also creates an Ori to govern that power.  I am the Ori of Flames."

Like many stories before it, this story starts with being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or the right place at the right time, depending on the perspective.

Jack Wrimo was a 15 year old boy, self-described as always being near the top of the heap in academics and athletics, but never the king of the hill. Then, a trip to a flea market with his family leads to Jack releasing a powerful ally, and an ancient evil.

Jack is thrust into a world he can barely comprehend, full of creatures that disdain the human race, led by an all-powerful and apathetic deity. With the help of Pharia, the powerful overseer of all fire on Earth, he must face a nameless and unknown evil, an evil that has unclear motives and unpredictable actions, and has taken his best friend, Matt, hostage.

While simultaneously traversing an unknown world, trying to convince the same creatures that disdain him to help him, and avoiding accidentally destroying all life on the planet, Jack has to save Matt from the danger that Jack got him into in the first place.

This is my first manuscript, and it is complete at just over 58,000 words.  It is intended to setup for the sequel, which is in the initial editing stages now.  The sequel will conclude Jack's story, but I also believe there is more to be explored in the world I have created in a book that would follow future generations of the characters in these two works.

First 250:

“Jack, honey, it is time to get up!”

He heard the sound of his mother’s voice, muffled by the closed bedroom door between them, but simply did not want to get up.  It wasn’t because of any lack of sleep, or even what his dad called “teenage hibernation.”  Truthfully, he had been dreading this day for a month now, just like he dreaded it every month.  It was his family’s “Flea Market Saturday.”

Of all the lame family events that he had to endure, this was the one that Jack hated the most.  He, his mom, dad, and two little sisters would pile in their van, drive the forty five minutes to the local flea market and then just “browse around” for the next eight hundred seventy three hours (that’s what it felt like to Jack at least).  The only good part of the trip was that their mom would give them each ten dollars to spend however they wanted, and ten dollars at a flea market could go a long way.

One time, Jack decided to see how much he could eat for that amount.  He had two hot dogs, an order of French fries, a bag of chips, and a cherry covered funnel cake.  He was extremely ill afterwards, but it had tasted delicious.  The list of items Jack had brought back over the years was varied to the absurd.

13 comments:

  1. Hello. You've got a fun premise here. I like the idea of beings created to govern powers such as fire.

    Query: I would suggest you start with para 3 versus starting with an excerpt from the book and an explanation. Also, I'm not understanding if that means Jack is an Ori? I would jump right in to who Jack is and what his problem is.

    First 250: I laughed at "teenage hibernation" - but I am wondering if you are starting in the right place (mother's dialogue/Jack waking up). Perhaps starting at the flea market (or en route there) might jump us into the story more. Just my two cents!
    Best of luck. Amy (#168)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the feedback. I think you're right about the query order and clarifying that Jack isn't the Ori, his ally is.

      P.S. Your book sounds like a really fun read! I'd love to read the whole thing if you'd be interested in trading!

      Delete
    2. Sure! My twitter is @amyelainemills so you can DM me there with your email/deets. Amy

      Delete
  2. Thought you have a neat way of writing. Like the 250 words.

    I'm no expert on queries but thingk that you would benefit on starting on para 3 and feeding in the other important bits from the first 2 paragraphs after that.

    Hope this helps

    ReplyDelete
  3. I agree with starting the query at paragraph 3.

    I really enjoyed the first 250. I got a great sense of Jack through the 3rd person narration. I love the exaggeration of time spent at the flea market and the quotes around "browse around." It was right on for teenage thinking.

    Best of luck!
    Leslie (#177)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hello! Echoing the others, your query should start here: "Jack Wrimo was a 15 year old boy, self-described as always being near the top of the heap in academics and athletics, but never the king of the hill."

    In your last paragraph: you don't need to tell agents this is your first book. You should say: JACK WRIMO AND THE ORI OF FLAMES is a YA fantasy novel complete at 58,850 words. The sequel [title here] is currently in revisions; however this novel can stand alone.

    Or, it would be even better to say: It is a stand alone with series potential. (if the agent is interested, THEN you tell them you are already revising the sequel)

    ... if this book cannot stand alone, you might have a problem. Not all agents find it a turn off, but most advice I've read says that your book, even if it is built as a series, should be able to stand alone (you never know if the publisher will buy it as a series).

    I like your first 250, though a part of me wants to see the action start later -- in the car? At the flea market? A character just waking up is a very done thing in YA. But your writing is strong, and that bodes very well for your story.

    One additional note: your word count seems low for YA fantasy. Most YA fantasy is at least 80K, and can go as high as 110-120K. If your book doesn't actually stand alone (is pure set-up, ends on a cliffhanger, etc.) you might consider finishing your sequel and combining the two. Now, your story may not be straight fantasy (maybe call it YA urban fantasy?), in which case you can maybe get away with lower word count. But when I see YA fantasy, I assume higher word counts to account for rich world building. However, there are exceptions to every rule!

    Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, lots of great help here. Thanks a ton!

      Delete
  5. Initially I thought this was going to be a Stargate spin-off focusing on the Ori, but I like this idea better! Cool premise. Reminds me of a modern-day Avatar: The Last Airbender.

    Like the others, I agree that the query would be tighter if it started at para #3, and it would be great if you could tie in the Ori bit there too. I'd echo that I agree the 'waking up' start is a touch overdone in YA. That said, I really love his inner commentary about in your first 250. Maybe he could have that train-of-thought while dragging his feet behind his parents at the actual market, rather than in bed?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't ever watched Stargate. Didn't know that "Ori" were used there. This makes me sad...

      Thanks for the input!

      Delete
  6. Your premise definitely grabs my attention, and I like your writing style. :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you all for your input. That was the main reason I entered this. What do you all think of this revised synopsis? Should I ditch the first line entirely?

    Like many stories before it, this story starts with being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or the right place at the right time, depending on the perspective.

    Jack Wrimo was a 15 year old boy, self-described as always being near the top of the heap in academics and athletics, but never the king of the hill. Then, a trip to a flea market with his family leads to Jack releasing a powerful ally, and an ancient evil. Jack's ally Pharia is the Ori of Flames. Ori are a race of beings that are bonded with a natural force present on this planet. When Earthra, the creator of all things, makes a new example of her power, she also creates an Ori to govern that power.

    Jack is thrust into a world he can barely comprehend, full of creatures that disdain the human race, led by an all-powerful and apathetic deity. With the reluctant help of Pharia, the powerful overseer of all fire on Earth, he must face a nameless and unknown evil, an evil that has unclear motives and unpredictable actions, and has taken his best friend, Matt, hostage.

    While simultaneously traversing an unknown world, trying to convince the same creatures that disdain him to help him, and avoiding accidentally destroying all life on the planet, Jack has to save Matt from the danger that Jack got him into in the first place.

    Jack Wrimo and the Ori of Flames is a YA urban fantasy novel complete at 58,850. It is currently self-published through CreateSpace and available in paperback on Amazon and digitally on Kindle and Nook. The sequel, Jack Wrimo and the Season’s Crystal is currently in revisions; however this novel can stand alone. The sequel will conclude Jack's story, but I also believe there is more to be explored in the world I have created in a book that would follow future generations of the characters in these two works.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Yes. I would ditch the first line. Be mindful of using words like "unclear, unknown and nameless." As the reader, that leaves me unclear about what I will be reading and what the stakes are, also doesn't give me any visuals. For instance, instead of "unknown world," say what kind of world it is.

    I would also combine your 2nd and 3rd para and trim it down, stating what the evil is, what it threatens to do and what Jack and his ally must do to stop it.

    Last para - if your work is already self-pubbed, then I would state why you are seeking an agent and what you hope that agent to do or else they may wonder why you are submitting.

    Hope that helps and keep in mind I am only one opinion!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I agree with the other sentiments on the query. I would also remove phrases such as "like many stories before it" and "this is my first manuscript." The first makes your story sound anything but unique (which isn't the case, just don't set yourself up that way). The second highlights your inexperience. Obviously if you're not well-known it probably is your first manuscript. Don't remind the agent. Great story idea. Good luck to you! #162

    ReplyDelete