Monday, January 28, 2013

Bouncer Post #103

Dark Fantasy
125,000 words


Betrothed to a member of Londinium’s ruling class and daughter of the scientist behind the drug to which half of the city is addicted, Lyra Vega has always had her life mapped out for her. But when she’s framed and found guilty of murdering her family, her life takes a terrifying turn.

Sentenced to life in the Sídhe, a prison from which no one ever returns, Lyra soon discovers she has been transported to a parallel world. She is determined to escape and find her parents’ killer, but first she must survive.

Lyra is captured by men working for the Sídhe’s warden and trained as a gladiator. Her feelings toward Bones, her master-at-arms, become increasingly contradictory and volatile but she can’t deny their attraction. She no longer knows who the real enemy is.

When the warden comes to the Sídhe, Lyra will have to choose between avenging her family and the man she loves.

WRAITH interweaves mythical aspects with alt-history to create a dark fantasy in the vein of Poison Study and The Girl of Fire and Thorns. 

First 250:

Lyra cowered in the shadow of her cell in the bowels of the Star Chamber. She was exhausted and terrified, waiting for her sentence to be carried out. The heavy metal door banged open and a fearsome-looking sentry appeared.

“Come!” he barked. The guard bound her hands and forced a scratchy, black hood over her head. He reeked of onions and power.

He shoved her down a corridor and then up a flight of stairs. When, at last, her hood was removed, she was seated in an oddly shaped room. A sour-faced Navvie woman stared at her.

"Where am I?” Lyra asked.

“Transit.” The middle-aged woman’s tone was curt. She pointed at her blood-drenched party dress. “Strip.”

Uncertainly, she did as she was told.

The woman huffed grumpily, her navy-blue uniform expanding and contracting. It was emblazoned with the insignia of the Star Chamber. She handed Lyra a roughened washcloth and a pail of soapy water. Apparently, they wanted her to be clean before they transported her to the Castellum.

She scrubbed her skin raw, carefully avoiding the IdemStrap and the new status it displayed. The female prison guard fetched a pearl-grey jumpsuit from a lacquered wardrobe. Then she thrust it in her face.

“Change,” she commanded in a thick Navvie accent.

Obediently, Lyra pulled on the fresh garments. The woman stepped back, crossing her arms, and examined her charge. “We almost never get Regents, Lady Vega,” she said in a mean-spirited manner.

Lyra bit her lip. She was in no state to make conversation. In the prison uniform that pooled around her she felt minuscule, like she was being swallowed whole.


  1. This entry has a lot going for it! A girl framed for her family's murder, trained as a gladiator in a strange parallel world, and wooed by the enemy.

    Some suggestions (my own opinions, others may feel differently)--

    In the query:
    I have to say, something about the first sentence of your query feels off to me. For one thing, because of the way it's worded, I had to read over it again to realize the MC was the daughter of the scientist. At first read, I thought the "member of Londinium’s ruling class and daughter of the scientist..." was one long description of the MC's betrothed.

    After tinkering a bit, this is my suggestion to make the opening more clear:
    "Lyra Vega has always had her life mapped out for her. She's betrothed to a member of Londinium’s ruling class and her father is the scientist behind the drug to which half of the city is addicted."

    Your query is also short enough that I think you have room to add a reason why Lyra has to choose between vengeance and love when the warden comes to the Sídhe. Is he going to offer her freedom? (i.e.- 'When the Warden offers her freedom...') Does it mean she gets a chance to escape? (i.e.- 'When the Warden comes to the Sídhe, Lyra gets a chance to escape. Escape means she can finally avenge her family. It also means she has to leave Bones behind.') But in your own beautiful words and voice of course.

    Other than that I think your query gives a nice intriguing peek into your story. Also, well-chosen comparison novels!

    In the first 250:
    Not much to say here. I like your first page. You have a ton of other-world jargon, but it's not too intrusive imo, and most of it is self explanatory enough that a reader shouldn't be left scratching their head. The single word instructions from the Lyra's captives do a great job of showing their disdain and hinting at the depth of trouble she's is in.

    I hope this helps and I double-hope it doesn't offend you! These suggestions are based on my opinion and I don't want you to feel like you have to take any advice that doesn't feel right to you! Good luck with the contest and your writing!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Had to repost. My computer's gone bonkers. Here goes.
    Leila has some excellent suggestions above.
    I like your premise. It's captivating and speaks of a strong MC with certainly a powerful story to tell.
    The 250 didn't hook me in completly, partly beciuse of the telling - fearsome-looking', 'exhausted and terrified' etc.
    The rest of it, including the descriptions worked for me. Best of luck

  4. I agree with Suja. I really enjoyed the premise, but I felt there were a bit too many adjectives in the first 250 and many of them aren't needed i.e. the woman huffed grumpily. 'Huffed' speaks for itself. You don't need the adjective. I think if you clean up those a bit you'll have a great first 250.

  5. I actually loved the first line of the query, it's what drew me in! I found it intriguing that she is betrothed to someone powerful, and her father is the producer of a drug that the town is addicted to.

    However, I do agree with Leila's suggestion of rewording.

    Sounds like you have a great story!

    Good luck!


  6. RR
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