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Welcome to Son of a Pitch! The seventh entry… Please save comment area for the participating authors’ feedback. I will put my thoughts at the bottom of the post. Because I can. If you don’t want to know what I think, close your eyes. If you read my opinions and agree, want to add, or completely disagree… GO FOR IT!

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Title: THE FALL OF TROY

Age and Genre: YA Fantasy

Word Count: 76k

Query: 

Helen of Troy has died twice. Once in the white city as it burned around her, and the second time in the Asphodel Meadows, the river Lethe washing her past away. All she knows of who she used to be is from whispered myths.

When she enters Elysium, the eternal paradise where heroes live out their afterlives, she learns that the myths got it wrong. Paris did not steal her away for love—he has always loved men—and what the stories call a kidnapping was a rescue, the Prince of Troy saving her from a husband who left bruises on her skin. But Menelaus is still hunting her, and now that he knows she is in Elysium he will do anything to get her back. When he threatens war, Helen knows the choice she has before her: return to her husband with a prayer that time has softened his edge, or watch history play itself over, heroes fighting and dying once more for the glory of her name.

But this is Elysium, the land of heroes, and Helen is tired of being as useless as she is beautiful. So instead she chooses neither, and, with the help of the hero Theseus, learns to fight. This is Elysium, and Helen of Troy is determined to make her future her own.

 

First 250 Words:

The flowers were as insubstantial as we were. They were gray, too, as gray as the rest of the landscape, and they whispered among themselves, the petals fluttering without wind, as if sharing secrets. But there were no secrets in the Asphodel Meadows, just as there was no color.

Only, sometimes—there was.

Time had little meaning here, but I marked it by his arrival. I saw the distant glow of him, the light of the living as he moved through the throngs of the dead. Other shades clamored around him, drawn like I was to the way he shone, the gold of his hair and the sword by his side. It was better and worse when he came, for my mind was clearer at the sight of him but the sharpness of it cut me in a way the numbness could not. Still, I felt myself move toward him, close enough that I could hear his voice. It sounded like music.

“I’m sorry,” he was saying, over and over, until the words began to blur together.

I pushed closer, through the other shades that blocked my path, until I was by his side, looking at him for the first time. He was more beautiful up close, all sharp planes and light and so much life it hurt to look at.

 

My thoughts…such as they are.

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Query: 

Helen of Troy has died twice. Once in the white city as it burned around her, and the second time in the Asphodel Meadows, the river Lethe washing her past away. All she knows of who she used to be is from whispered myths. (I really like this opening, mysterious and interesting. The “the river Lethe washing her past away” doesn’t seem to relate to its sentence…perhaps link it to the last sentence instead. The river Lethe washed her past away, and all she knows…myths.)

When she enters Elysium, the eternal paradise where heroes live out their afterlives, she learns that the myths got it wrong. (So when she entered Elysium, she remembered the past? Or more specifically learned the facts of what happened in the past? Otherwise you said that the river washed her past away…) Paris did not steal her away for love—he has always loved men—and what the stories call a kidnapping was a rescue, the Prince of Troy saving her from a husband who left bruises on her skin. But Menelaus (her former husband?) is still hunting her (why?), and now that he knows she is in Elysium he will do anything to get her back. (So he is in Elysium too, or is finding a way in?) When he threatens war, (Dude. You can threaten war in eternal paradise? Is that allowed?) Helen knows the choice she has before her: return to her husband with a prayer that time has softened his edge, or watch history play itself over, heroes fighting and dying once more for the glory of her name.

But this is Elysium, the land of heroes, and Helen is tired of being as useless as she is beautiful. (infuse a bit of the character Helen in this sentence. Help us know her and like her.) So instead she chooses neither, and, with the help of the hero Theseus, learns to fight. This is Elysium, and Helen of Troy is determined to make her future her own. (So instead of having a war fought over her, she fights a war for herself? And from the first paragraph…she dies there? Is there a battle? Is the choice she makes at the end to fight or not?)

Overall…A neat concept, bit of a twist on Greek mythology. Helen wants to be her own person, so she learns to fight. I want to know her better. How does she feel when she learns the truth? What does she want from her afterlife? From what I remember, the Asphodel Meadows are for the regular people and Elysium is for heros…She passes through the meadows to get to Elysium? How does she learn of the past if she drank from the Lethe? How does her husband find her? Is he dead as well?

 

First 250 Words:

The flowers were as insubstantial as we were. They were gray, too, as gray as the rest of the landscape, and they whispered among themselves, the petals fluttering without wind, as if sharing secrets. But there were no secrets in the Asphodel Meadows, just as there was no color.

Only, sometimes—there was. (I really like this. Beautiful and haunting. And the last line grabs me.)

Time had little meaning here, but I marked it by his arrival. (Him who? Does mc know him? Or just drawn to a living person in the land of the dead?) I saw the distant glow of him, the light of the living as he moved through the throngs of the dead. Other shades clamored around him, drawn like I was to the way he shone, the gold of his hair and the sword by his side. It was better and worse when he came, (So he comes and goes, this isn’t the first time?) for my mind was clearer at the sight of him but the sharpness of it cut me in a way the numbness could not. Still, I felt myself move toward him, close enough that I could hear his voice. It sounded like music.

“I’m sorry,” he was saying, over and over, until the words began to blur together.

I pushed closer, through the other shades that blocked my path, until I was by his side, looking at him for the first time. He was more beautiful up close, all sharp planes and light and so much life it hurt to look at.

Overall…I want to know who the guy is. I want to know who the mc is. I like the feel of this. Colorless with a spot of brightness. Hopeful. Longing. I’d keep reading.

Thanks for participating! I hope this helps, and if not forget it.

Writers unite!

 

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