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Son of a Pitch, round 2, begins! Welcome to Team Dark Side.

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Eleven posts, for eleven entries. Four other blogs are hosting more! The comment section is for Son of a Pitch authors to leave their thoughts. So please do not comment unless you are a Son of a Pitch author. Thank you!

Onto entry 11!

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Title: NEFFERS
Category and Genre: YA Horror
Word Count: 75,000
Query:

Fifteen-year-old Del will do anything to save her terminally ill younger sister, Addie, including amassing a pile of dead bodies in an abandoned Texas field.

When Del stumbles upon a mortally wounded man, he hints at the existence of a Fountain of Youth which possesses the power to heal anyone willing to pay its price of human sacrifice.

Del forces her family to trek into the dangerous Texas hill country seeking access into Eternum, home of the Fountain. If the injured man’s dying words hold truth, Del can resurrect her recently deceased father and save Addie.

The Fountain demands Del ceremoniously kills Addie. When she refuses its price, the townsfolk throw Del to the Neffers, beastly protectors of the Fountain. Del learns the Neffers are prisoners, not protectors, of the Fountain, and they begin evolving her into one of their own in return for her agreeing to help them escape.

With the arms-length help of Addie, Del devises an escape plan until she realizes Neffers survive by drinking the blood of sick children like Addie. Unfortunately, the men of Eternum, including her father, hold an even darker secret than the Neffers.

Del must decide between freeing the Neffers on the human world, so she can stop the men of Eternum and be reunited with Addie or lose the last remaining piece of her humanity and watch as the men of Eternum sacrifice children for their own benefit and her next meal.

 

First 250 Words:

The toe tag on the decapitated body read: IF FOUND, CALL (512)555-5813, so Del pulled out her iPhone.

“I’m not afraid of you,” Del said, circling the decaying corpse. She maintained a perimeter outside the buzzing flies and fluid soaked ground but breathed easier knowing it wouldn’t answer her. “I’ve seen other dead people, you know.”

Seen. Created. CollectedSame difference.

The bright Texas sun played spotlight for the headless body starring center stage. Nothing else in the barren field warranted a second glance. Del spied a turkey vulture gliding in a copycat pattern around the body. She reached down, snatched a piece of gray limestone from the dirt, and launched her projectile skyward at the hideous black bird.

“Get outta here, dumb bird! He’s mine!” Del’s temples bulged purple veins with each scream. The vulture settled into the lone oak tree populating the field and voiced its displeasure, but, for now, Del owned her prize uncontested. A prize needed, not wanted.

She sneered at the corpse. “He’d eat you if I let him, but you’re my entrance fee.” Del flipped her head toward the unstained wooden boards under the Live Oak. “And them.” Dead bodies were a one-way ticket to life in jail for most, not a bloody precursor to salvation.

Del chewed her last unbroken nail to a jagged nub before dialing. She figured most people would be afraid to call, but most people weren’t in her situation.

What if no one answered?

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And now my critique. Yes, I am doing it right now, if you don’t want to read my thoughts, stop here.

First, a disclaimer…

Hi, my name is Kathy. I am not a writing god or expert. I will tell you what works for me and what doesn’t. I will put in honest reactions. Please take the comments that make sense to YOU for YOUR ms. Please disregard any comments that aren’t relevant. I will ask a butt-ton (seriously, I don’t know exactly how much a butt-ton is, but it’s a lot) of questions to spark your creative brain. Any questions that I ask that give you an AH-HA moment run with all those ideas! The questions that don’t send lightning to your mind…ignore. Please listen to all the other wonderfully talented people who will stop by.

Thank you for sharing your words. Your words are important. You are awesome! 

Query:

Fifteen-year-old Del will do anything to save her terminally ill younger sister, Addie, including amassing a pile of dead bodies in an abandoned Texas field. (OMG I’m in! Only what is the purpose of all the bodies?)

When Del stumbles upon a mortally wounded man, he hints at the existence of a Fountain of Youth which possesses the power to heal anyone willing to pay its price of human sacrifice. (Hints at? What exactly does he tell her? Because seems like she knows a lot.)

Del forces her family (Who is her family? Mom, Dad, other siblings? Why bring them?) to trek into the dangerous Texas hill country seeking access into Eternum, home of the Fountain. (Access into Eternum? Is this not on Earth? Is this in another plane?) If the injured man’s dying words hold truth, Del can resurrect her recently deceased father and save Addie. (It can heal and bring people back from the dead?)

The Fountain demands Del ceremoniously kills Addie. (That sucks! Kill the one you want to save!) When she refuses its price, the townsfolk (What townsfolk?) throw Del to the Neffers, beastly protectors of the Fountain. Del learns the Neffers are prisoners, not protectors, of the Fountain, and they begin evolving her into one of their own in return for her agreeing to help them escape. (The Neffers sound cool! Prisoners? Why? And why does she have to be one of them? How are they different from humans? Does she meet them on her search for the fountain? Do they keep people from finding it?)

With the arms-length help of Addie, Del devises an escape plan until she realizes Neffers survive by drinking the blood of sick children like Addie. Unfortunately, the men of Eternum, including her father, hold an even darker secret than the Neffers. (Her father is in Eternum? And she wants to free the Neffers…until she finds out they drink blood? The men’s darker secret is very vague…)

Del must decide between freeing the Neffers on the human world (On the human world? So she was somewhere else?), so she can stop the men of Eternum (from doing what? Let us know the stakes) and be reunited with Addie or lose the last remaining piece of her humanity and watch as the men of Eternum sacrifice children for their own benefit and her next meal. (You lost me at the end here. Okay, wait… The men of Eternum use the fountain to get sacrifices for their secret purpose and to feed the Neffers…who they keep prisoner? For what reason? Del can set the Neffers free (how?) and stop the men and keep Addie… or lose Addie to stop the men?)

There’s a lot in this query, I got a bit overwhelmed. Though, there is so much that intrigues me! This Eternum and Neffers! I want to go! Just need a bit of focus. You’re trying to tell us everything, cause it’s cool, why wouldn’t you want to tell us?

Del…she wants to save her sister, the pile of dead bodies is interesting, but I don’t know what it has to do with saving Addie. Del will do anything to save Addie, Del’s character motivation. When she hears of a Fountain of Youth, that can save her, she goes! Show me what Eternum is, where it is…maybe the obstacles she faces to get there. Then I want to moment where she must choose between saving her sister or not, when she has to possibly give up her dream to stop more evil. Focus on Del’s story.

 

First 250 Words:

The toe tag on the decapitated body read: IF FOUND, CALL (512)555-5813, so Del pulled out her iPhone. (Dude. Good first line.)

“I’m not afraid of you,” Del said, circling the decaying corpse. She maintained a perimeter outside the buzzing flies and fluid soaked ground but breathed easier knowing it wouldn’t answer her. “I’ve seen other dead people, you know.”

Seen. Created. CollectedSame difference. (Love!)

The bright Texas sun played spotlight for the headless body starring center stage. Nothing else in the barren field warranted a second glance. Del spied a turkey vulture gliding in a copycat pattern around the body. She reached down, snatched a piece of gray limestone from the dirt, and launched her projectile skyward at the hideous black bird.

“Get outta here, dumb bird! He’s mine!” Del’s temples bulged purple veins with each scream. The vulture settled into the lone oak tree populating the field and voiced its displeasure, but, for now, Del owned her prize uncontested. A prize needed, not wanted.

She sneered at the corpse. “He’d eat you if I let him, but you’re my entrance fee.” (Entrance fee to what? AH! Not that you should tell me here, cause you shouldn’t.) Del flipped her head toward the unstained wooden boards under the Live Oak. “And them.” Dead bodies were a one-way ticket to life in jail for most, not a bloody precursor to salvation.

Del chewed her last unbroken nail to a jagged nub before dialing. She figured most people would be afraid to call, but most people weren’t in her situation.

What if no one answered? (OMG WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?)
I love this. I love the tone, the mystery. I love the writing. There’s something sinister and weird happening and I’m ready to go. I’d keep reading. Oh yeah.

 

For the author of this entry…Feel free to comment on what I have said and you can certainly post revisions!

Again, THANK YOU for participating. Sharing your words and opening up for critique is difficult. We all are here to help you make your ms as shiny as possible. Good luck with all the writing!

 

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