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Son of a Pitch round two has begun! This week my blog will be dedicated to the authors of these amazing entries.

Comments are for the Son of a Pitch critiquers and authors only! All other comments will be deleted, them’s the rules peeps.

At the end of the week, I will vote for my favorites…I think five…I should check that.

Onward!

Welcome to Team Rarity!

Entry 1:

Title: TWO TAILS OF AMAYA
Category and Genre: YA CONTEMPORARY FANTASY THRILLER
Word Count: 69,000

Query:

Sixteen-year-old Amaya is the new girl at Radley High. When she’s adopted by the Mavericks back in Japan, she steps into a brand-new life. A life living as a human with two human parents. A life taking her across the ocean to live in a new country. And strangest of all, a life where she is no longer looking over her shoulder, worrying who is hunting her. But the transcendental Japanese fox’s elation is shattered when she learns she’s sitting in a dead girl’s chair.

Students begin to gossip about the hit and run. Some claim the town’s beloved lacrosse team may have been involved. Amaya keeps her distance from the gossip. After all, she fled Japan to get away from death, to forget about her family’s murder. But then she befriends Sam Warren, brooding loner with a sexy tattoo, and the only human resistant to her mind-altering powers. When the dead girl’s best friend starts to point fingers at Sam’s brother being the driver, Amaya and Sam set out to find the truth.

Amaya’s forced to confront her past when members of the lacrosse team are killed by a demonic wolf—the same wolf who killed her family after she brought shame to the God of Lightning. As the clues pile up and the wolf closes in, Sam and Amaya are drawn closer together. Amaya longs to tell Sam she’s a fox spirit, but in her experience, humans only see her as a demon. And she’s not ready to lose him. But revealing her true self might be the only way to stop the wolf from killing the first boy she’s ever loved.

 

First 250 Words:

The tumultuous, smoky grey clouds hiding the pale morning sun perfectly reflect my dark mood. It’s bad enough starting a new school in December, but walking there on the coldest day of the year because mom’s mini-van wouldn’t start… not fun. I shove my hands deeper into my pockets. If I could change into my fox form, I’d be warm and farther along in my trek. But I can’t risk any humans finding out what I am. An oncoming gust causes loose snow from the ground to become tiny missiles, and I squint to retain any vision.

I’d been looking forward to starting my first American high school, even if it would be as a junior, since we moved to Minnesota five days ago. The anticipation tingled through me like electrical sparks, gathering in my toes and making me too anxious to sleep most of the night. And this morning, it built to the point I became nauseous from all the butterflies swarming in my stomach.

Afton is a new start. A fresh start. There’s no longer a need to run. Or look over my shoulder. No need to watch my every step and sniff the wind for signs of danger. Fear no longer dictated my actions.

I could finally be happy.

Except instead of today being a triumphant new start, I’m slipping on the frozen sidewalk, my arms flailing about like a spastic ballerina as I attempt to avoid biting it in front of suburban commuters on their way to work.

Now for my thoughts.

But first, a reminder, I am not an expert. I am a writer. My comments are my opinions. If any of these strange wordy things that pop into my brain and onto the page make sense for YOUR ms and make YOUR writer’s brain spin with all the inspiration, YEA!!! Use them…run with them…let your creative brain go! If reading one of my insanely odd thoughts just makes you shrug and sparks no new idea, forget it! YEA!

I am here to help YOU make YOUR ms the best it can be. I do not want to rewrite it. I do not want it to be something else. Your words should be yours. I WANT TO HAVE A GREAT TIME!

Feel free to ask questions. Feel free to post any rewrites in the comments. I will be happy to answer anything and read revisions! Anything I can do to help get the creative juices flowing.

CRITIQUE

YA CONTEMPORARY FANTASY THRILLER…okay, I have a little issue with all the genres, I know you want to let us know what is in it, but I have no idea what I will be reading. To me it seems Fantasy…if it is a scary-ish thriller…Dark Fantasy…OR maybe Magical Realism, if it is basically magic infused into reality. There does seem to be a set fantasy world behind it, with the mention of the God of Lightning, so that would make it fantasy.

Query:

Sixteen-year-old Amaya is the new girl at Radley High. When she’s adopted by the Mavericks back in Japan, she steps into a brand-new life. (Ummm, adopted and moves to Japan? Adopted while living in Japan? Where is she? Is the adoption part of the story? Don’t know if the query needs this as the story starts after they have moved…when was she adopted, as a baby? Do we need this in the query?) A life living as a human with two human parents. (OH! WHAT? She’s an alien?) A life taking her across the ocean to live in a new country. And strangest of all, a life where she is no longer looking over her shoulder, worrying who is hunting her. (ALIEN HUNTERS?!??!!?) But the transcendental Japanese fox’s (OH WAIT WHAT? Not an alien…THIS IS COOL! But I want to know sooner, cause I was confused.) elation is shattered when she learns she’s sitting in a dead girl’s chair.

*For me, the hook of this ms is the fact that she is a spirit fox hiding as a human. Consider starting with a one sentence hook…Amaya, a Japanese spirit fox, hides as a teen girl, but living a carefree existence proves impossible as a deadly foe from her past follows her halfway around the world. Maybe?

After that hook…new para and go into your mc…

Adopted and new to America, Sixteen-year-old Amaya doesn’t mind being the new girl because she can finally stop looking over her shoulder, worrying who is hunting her. Tell us what she wants…to live a normal life? To escape her past? To live as anything but who she is? Does she want to be a human? To be happy? Only…she lands in the center of drama…in a dead girl’s chair.

Students begin to gossip about the hit and run. Some claim the town’s beloved lacrosse team may have been involved. Amaya keeps her distance from the gossip. After all, she fled Japan to get away from death, to forget about her family’s murder. (THEY WERE MURDERED?!?!?! BY WHO WHAT HAPPENED? Do we need to know this in the query?) But then she befriends Sam Warren, brooding loner with a sexy tattoo, and the only human resistant to her mind-altering powers. (SHE HAS MIND-ALTERING POWERS? Love that, but how do these powers impact the story, her life? AND HOW CAN HE RESIST THEM? What does that mean to the story?) When the dead girl’s best friend starts to point fingers at Sam’s brother being the driver, Amaya and Sam set out to find the truth. (Because she cares about Sam and he loves his brother? What’s driving her to do this?)

Amaya’s forced to confront her past when members of the lacrosse team are killed by a demonic wolf (YOU HAVE ME AT DEMONIC WOLF! Why is he killing the lacrosse team? Why isn’t he going after Amaya? Wouldn’t he go after her? Is she afraid he is after her? Is she doing things to protect herself?)—the same wolf who killed her family after she brought shame to the God of Lightning. (Ah! This is how the family died…) As the clues pile up and the wolf closes in, Sam and Amaya are drawn closer together. (As friends? Romance?) Amaya longs to tell Sam she’s a fox spirit, but in her experience, humans only see her as a demon. (Okay…her big decision…reveal herself or not. What is the big moment that she has to decide?) And she’s not ready to lose him. But revealing her true self might be the only way to stop the wolf from killing the first boy she’s ever loved. (Is he part of the lacrosse team? Is the wolf just going after the team still? Why is the wolf after Sam?)

*I feel like there is a lot in this query. Focus on the main story. The main conflict. Stick to the main story. Is it fighting the wolf? Is it solving the crime? What drives her through the story? As a spirit…has she been around forever…is she 16? Set up Amaya…you give us age and who she is. I was confused as to where she was. Give us what drives her. What does she want? Then she is pulled into solving a crime AND there’s a demon wolf (I love demons btw) How do those two things connect? What is driving her to get involved? What about the wolf? What is the big decision moment? You have stakes, but I am confused as to why Sam is in trouble. Why isn’t she in danger?

 

First 250 Words:

The tumultuous, smoky grey clouds hiding the pale morning sun perfectly reflect my dark mood. (Nothing wrong with this opener, I am wondering immediately why they are in a bad mood…though it was a bit wordy to read, tumultuous and smoky and grey…are the clouds really tumultuous? Or are they ominous? Can clouds be tumultuous?…a suggestion…The heavy, grey clouds hide the pale morning sun, a perfect reflection of my dark mood.) It’s bad enough starting a new school in December, but walking there on the coldest day of the year because mom’s mini-van wouldn’t start…not fun. I shove my hands deeper into my pockets. (Of…a bit of description here can give us insight as to who this is…old, worn coat? Puffy pink coat with fur?) If I could change into my fox form (Oh! Intriguing! Maybe a bit more about this…), I’d be warm and farther along in my trek. But I can’t risk any humans finding out what I am. (Is there anyone around? Can the mc look around…knowing that if anyone saw them change, they would freak out? How have people have reacted before? Connect what is happening in mc’s head to environment, seat us in a place. Houses around? A street? How far is school?) An oncoming gust causes loose snow from the ground to become tiny missiles, and I squint to retain any vision. (You can make this sentence stronger…gust launches loose snow like tiny missiles…)

I’d been looking forward to starting my first American high school, even if it would be as a junior, since we moved to Minnesota five days ago. The anticipation tingled through me like electrical sparks, gathering in my toes (Nice!) and making me too anxious to sleep most of the night. And this morning, it built to the point I became nauseous from all the butterflies swarming in my stomach. (Nice! I can feel this!) (The first sentence in this para doesn’t do much for me…too much info just told to me…who is “we”, where did they move from? I like the last part…how this anticipation and excitement is being thwarted by the weather…by Minnesota. First day of a new school…as a junior…where is she from? What is her former school experience? Is this going to be different? Any little details can pull us in more.)

Afton is a new start. A fresh start. There’s no longer a need to run. Or look over my shoulder. No need to watch my every step and sniff the wind for signs of danger. Fear no longer dictated my actions. (Love this! Great)

I could finally be happy. (Nice)

Except instead of today being a triumphant new start, I’m slipping on the frozen sidewalk, my arms flailing about like a spastic ballerina as I attempt to avoid biting it in front of suburban commuters on their way to work. (LOL! Great visual!)

*Good start! First day of school. New home. New start…and she can change into a fox and she’s been running from danger…INTERESTING! I wonder about her background. I wonder about what she was running from. All things that would keep me reading.

I hope some of that, maybe just one little thing, helps!

Thank you so much for being a part of Son of a Pitch!

Thank you for sharing your words!

And may the road of revising and querying and publishing be a great one! See you around on Twitter! #SonofaPitch is a fun place. #TeamRarity rocks!