Sunday, September 30, 2012

GUTGAA Pitch #4 Heirs of War

Heirs of War
New Adult Fantasy
146,000

Query:

Prophecies are no different from horoscopes in the back of Cosmo, as Zelene would say. She likes to remind people that Y2K came and went without the world ending, and, yes, the world will continue to spin after the Mayan calendar ends. She does not realize she is part of an ancient prophesy of five girls born into a powerful bloodline that would bring about the end of a generations-long power struggle among worlds. She is not even aware of worlds beyond this one.

Zelene learns of the destiny the prophecy demands of her and the family she was separated from as an infant when she is ripped from the world she has known her whole life and dragged back to the one of her birth. She is reunited one by one with the other three girls but finds that her twin sister is notably absent. Ariana has been captured by enemies intent on sacrificing her in order to gain her powers and Zelene can’t help but shudder at how easily she could have ended up in Ariana’s shoes. When she questions the lack of rescue efforts, the elders tell her to focus on learning the ways of their world and how to tap into her own magic. But Zelene has never been the best at doing what she is told.

Zelene is quick to realize what is at stake. Without Ariana as the fifth, the foretold peace and healing of the war-torn worlds cannot come to pass, and the war will spill over into the world she has known as home. She knows she has to find a way to ignite the power locked within herself to save Ariana, or she risks leaving the fates of millions to a vague prophecy and the arcane politics that brought about the war in the first place.


First 150 Words:

The football stadium was still littered with kids when Varrick got there. His chest lifted as he sucked in a breath and suppressed a growl at the same time. This part of his job always frustrated him. He understood that Ariana was seventeen and therefore entitled to a certain amount of angst, but he hated having to deal with it. They had bigger problems to deal with. Of course, she was blissfully ignorant of them.

He scanned the stadium through his dark sunglasses, trying to assess where she would be. A group of girls were running on the track that encircled the grass of the stadium, ponytails bouncing as they chatted with one another. When he noticed the cheerleaders edging the track, he knew where she would be and marched over.

He cocked a brow as the girls began chanting in time with their moves. Sure enough, directly in front of them in the stands stood Ariana with camera in hand, snapping away pictures.

11 comments:

  1. Hm...I do love a good fantasy story. There are few things that caught my attention. First, 146K words is petty hefty. I'm sure you heard that before. Not a deal breaker, but something to think about. The query, for me, read very vague. War is the only thing we are sure about. It was pretty hard for me to sympathize with Zelene when all she thought about after her sister's disappearance was about how it could've been her. I'm also wondering...what powers? I'd try to be very specific in the query to draw in readers. The snippet was pretty good. It grounded me to place and time.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think you could tighten your query by taking out most of the second paragraph. There are a couple of plot points mentioned in your query, maybe pick one and focus on that to really draw the reader in.

    First 150: Where is Zelene and who is Varrick? If he's going to start off your story, I'd put him in the query.

    Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'll tell you the same thing I told someone else. It was also told to me. Start with five main plot points and go from there. Be specific and only hit what's important. Only add what you need to clarify and leave it at that. It's a good exercise even if you don't come out with a perfect query. Make sure those points span your entire work. Most world building books have queries heavy in back story.

    GOOD LUCK!!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think a book of that length is going to be a tough sell, even though I personally prefer longer books. Also, you will need to convince literary professionals that all those words are necessary, and I think your query needs to be much sharper to achieve that aim.

    The second paragraph in particular has a couple of examples of passive voice that could be sharpened and shortened.

    Best of luck with it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Aside from what others have said, I don't have any other real critique. Yes, the story has a whole lot of words and sure, maybe your query could be shortened. I know, especially after reading your synopsis, that it's a million times easier said than done.
    I think this sounds like an awesome story. I already like Zelene and there's a ton of voice in both your query and 150. I agree that the first page did a great job at grounding the reader to place and time.

    From what I remember of your previous draft, this is definitely a great improvement! I'd definitely read this book. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is an interesting twist on a ‘prophecy’ tale. I feel like you could make me go ‘wow’ if you had more details and less words (if that makes sense… ha). While the first paragraph gives us info on character, most of it is either irrelevant or you’re telling us what she doesn’t know. We want to know what she does know and what is happening to her. The query really starts from the second paragraph. I would make sure you very clearly state the prophecy; I’m still not totally sure what it says they must do. And then focus on her twin sister.

    With the first 150 words, I am immediately confused because it opens with a character never mentioned in the query. Is this told in alternating POV? Or is this a prolog? I do like you’re writing in this section. I feel like I’m at this game with him. So the writing is there. I’m just confused as to why we’re in his head.

    Overall, the query needs to be cleaned up a bit so we clearly understand the character, conflict and stakes. I think if you focus on that in the query you have a very good story to sell here.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I would really like to red this. The stadium scene lifted from the block letters. I could feel the air. Guess, it would be better to put the first character into the query.
    Actually what helped me a great deal, was the advice of using only the first 30 pages to write the query. The MC, another character and the inciting incident, and that's it. Clear, short, hooked, and read. Best luck with this. I'll be looking for it. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. red--? No I am not looking to red-ink this. Sorry. Finger-fludge. "READ" of course.

      Delete
  8. I'm leaving comments and then returning to make my votes.

    First off, I would try and lead off the query with the mc's name and not stick that important information at the end. Something like: Zelene sees prophecies as no different from horoscopes in the back of Cosmo. Then maybe cut the listing of prophecies that went bust and focus on the book.

    Right now your query doesn't show me how the war impacts Zelene. Why does she want to stop it? What bad thing has the war done to her? This is her motivation. We need her motivation and the stakes (what's stopping her from getting what she wants?) to make the query work.

    I like the idea from your First 150 that the sister is a little spoiled or maybe troubled and will have to grow out of that as the story unfolds. That said, the First 150 needs to be tightened. There's lots of filtering (he noticed, he knew, he understood) and unnecessary words.

    It sounds like you will have an amazing story when you concentrate the query on what Zelene wants and how she can get it.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Though your story is a bit long I do believe you really have something here. I really enjoyed your first 150, but I am wondering about the character POV. Why is this character not in the query? Other than that I think you have something amazing here! You've got my vote!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thank you to all who commented! I have a new version over at my blog (http://maravalderran.blogspot.com) that I feel much better about and it is thanks to all of your help! Also, I've managed to cut my WC down to 137k. =D And last but not least, THANK YOU to The Purple Pixie for your vote! Even though the contest is over, I am still on cloud 9 from that!

    ReplyDelete