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ANYA KOZLOVA AND THE DRAGON (UMG fantasy) -- will return crits!

middle grade MG fantasy pitch madness

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#1 SRPasternack

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Posted 21 February 2017 - 12:22 AM

Anya was not a good goatherd.

 

For the third time, she pulled Zvezda back to the barn by his horns. The stupid goat had broken his leg four days prior, and her grandfather wanted him to remain in the barn and rest for at least a week. But the goat had chewed off his cast and, apparently bored with the comfort of the barn, followed Anya out to the onion fields and climbed on the handcart she was loading onions into.

 

She slammed the barn doors shut, remaining to hold them closed as the goat thumped against them inside.

 

“Stay there!” Anya shouted.

 

Zvezda bleated.

 

Anya scowled. Her father would have used his magic to make the goat listen. But Papa was gone, fighting in Tartary, so Anya had to take his place with the goats. She didn’t have any magic, though, and they would scatter in every direction. Rounding them up took hours, so Anya was relieved of herding responsibilities. Dyedushka took them grazing instead, even though her grandfather had lost both his legs at the knee in a past war.

 

“If I catch you out of the barn again, I’ll break your other leg!” She wouldn’t really. Zvezda was her goat, and even though he was annoying, she still liked him. She had named him for the star-shaped black smudge on his white face, even though he was a boy and “Zvezda” was a girl’s name. He was a goat. He didn’t know he had a girl’s name.


My Pitch--My Query--My Synopsis--My 250

 

"There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are." W. Somerset Maugham


#2 Nonicks

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Posted 21 February 2017 - 05:26 AM

I love it!!! But I'm not sure if it's because I speak Russian and actually know what each name means, or because of the writing. It made me feel like I'm listening to a Russian fairy tale



#3 SRPasternack

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Posted 21 February 2017 - 11:53 AM

Thanks!! I struggled a lot with keeping the Russian manageable for English-speakers, but still maintaining a Russian feel to the whole story. Glad it worked (for the first 250 words, anyway)!!


My Pitch--My Query--My Synopsis--My 250

 

"There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are." W. Somerset Maugham


#4 DV77

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 06:14 PM

Anya was not a good goatherd. Nice.

 

For the third time, she pulled Zvezda back to the barn by his horns. The stupid goat had broken his leg four days prior, and her grandfather wanted him to remain in the barn and rest for at least a week. This line reads a little like a straight summary and just background info. What about something like... 'Stupid goat. If it didn't want to stay in the barn it shouldn't have gone and broken it's leg four days ago.' If you get what I mean. I just saw an opportunity there to put some more personality into it. But the goat had chewed off his cast and, apparently bored with the comfort of the barn, followed Anya out to the onion fields and climbed on the handcart she was loading onions into.

 

She slammed the barn doors shut, remaining to hold I'd try a more powerful verb to make it more alive, ie 'she struggled with all her strength to hold them closed as the goat etc' them closed as the goat thumped against them inside.

 

“Stay there!” Anya shouted.

 

Zvezda bleated.

 

Anya scowled. Her father would have used his magic to make the goat listen. But Papa was gone, fighting in Tartary, so Anya had to take his place with the goats. She didn’t have any magic, though, and they would scatter in every direction. Rounding them up took hours, so Anya was relieved of herding responsibilities. Dyedushka took them grazing instead, even though her grandfather had lost both his legs at the knee in a past war. For me anyway this is too much background info in one go. You've already explained about her dad which was okay but with grandfather's story in the same paragraph it feels a little exposition-ish.

 

“If I catch you out of the barn again, I’ll break your other leg!” She wouldn’t really. Zvezda was her goat, and even though he was annoying, she still liked him. She had named him for the star-shaped black smudge on his white face, even though he was a boy and “Zvezda” was a girl’s name. He was a goat. He didn’t know he had a girl’s name.

 

I think it's a pretty cool opening. We get to see into her daily life and see a bit about her personality. I just think there are a couple of parts in there which could be spiced up some more and maybe the part with the grandpa is too much exposition. We don't need to know the full backstory in the first page.







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