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YA Fantasy: ALL IS DARK #19


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#1 Ashlyn

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Posted 19 August 2017 - 10:46 AM

Saekina had a so-called life to disappear from, and not enough time to wash the grime from the night before away. The authorities would try to arrest her, thinking she’d killed those slavers, and what would she say? “Sorry sir, some UpperSpawn, or at least, I’m guessing it’s a demon from the UpperWorld, broke in and killed those people and I’m the only one who lived? And I most certainly did not summon anything from the UpperWorld.”

Yeah, they’ll take my daggers and throw me in a cell.

Her back was throbbing, more out of discomfort than pain. The stone ground had not been the most pleasant way to spend the night, but she and alleys tended to find each other.
She worked her hands up the wall, using it as a crutch until she was standing. Pain spiked through her head, followed by a burst of wooziness. She sucked in a breath and let it pass. She didn’t have time to feel sick. She needed to move. Her cheek had left an angry trail of crusty blood across the light brown skin of her arm. Blending into crowds would be an issue. She scowled and wiped it off on her sleeve. Gods, she must look like a mess. A bloody, bruised, mess.

The sour smell was the perfect way to top off what had been a supremely shitty night. She slid a palm over her face, dark brown hair collecting between her fingers.


 

 


Queries and such:

 

YA fantasy: ALL IS DARK

 

Query: http://agentqueryconnect.com/index.php?/topic/36542-all-is-dark-newest-on-post-17

 

YA Contemporary Fantasy: BENEATH THE MADDENING MOON

 

Query: http://agentquerycon...addening-moon/


#2 DJ McP

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Posted 19 August 2017 - 01:10 PM

Saekina had a so-called life so called life doesn't seem necessary. Maybe Seeking had to disappear. Then go into from whatto disappear from, and not enough time to wash the grime from the night before away. The authorities would try to arrest her, thinking she’d killed those slavers, and what would she say? “Sorry sir, some UpperSpawn, or at least, I’m guessing it’s a demon from the UpperWorld, broke in and killed those people and I’m the only one who lived? And I most certainly did not summon anything from the UpperWorld.” This interior monologue while having important info seems like it is there just to convey the important info. Focus on the urgency of the scene and the rest can come out more naturally

Yeah, they’ll take my daggers and throw me in a cell. 

Her back was throbbing, more out of discomfort than pain.Stop at "Her back was throbbing." This is a good action scene to start with so don't add words that slow the action down. Distinctions like "discomfort than pain" just slow the action down without adding much The stone ground had not been the most pleasant way to spend the night, but she and alleys tended to find each other. The last part of the sentence is a nice turn of phrase and revealing of her character. Well done!
She worked her hands up the wall, using it as a crutch until she was standing. Pain spiked through her head, followed by a burst of wooziness. She sucked in a breath and let it pass. She didn’t have time to feel sick. She needed to move. Her cheek had left an angry trail of crusty blood across the light brown skin of her arm. Blending into crowds would be an issue. She scowled and wiped it off on her sleeve. Gods, she must look like a mess. A bloody, bruised, mess.

The sour smell was the perfect way to top off what had been a supremely shitty night. She slid a palm over her face, dark brown hair collecting between her fingers. I'm having trouble visualizing the last part of her sentence. Do you mean her hair? If she why would it be on her face? 

 

​Overall very good action to start with. I can see this character. If you're going to start with action like you are, don't add anything that will slow the action down. The other terms/facts of the story can come out more naturally later. Well done!

 

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#3 Constantine Singer

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Posted 29 August 2017 - 11:57 AM

Hi Ashlyn,  I read this and I see some simple things that can be changed to make it stronger.

 

FIrst of all, we are constantly given conflicting information about how to start a book. We're told that we have to start with the action, have a first line that "hooks" us, and that we have to have the action rolling in earnest by page five with the "inciting incident."  We're also told that we have to world-build in such a manner that the wording is natural, non-expositional, and acclimatizes your reader more in the manner of a lobster in a cold water pot on a stove than a lobster dropped into boiling water.

 

In essence -- you have to do everything in five pages, starting with a hook, but you have to do it slowly and naturally.  

 

Your first paragraph includes the following information:

 

  1.  Saekina needs to disappear (already we aren't yet sure if this is magical/scientific actual disappearance or a metaphor).
  2. SHe was up to something last night.
  3. It was illegal.
  4. There are slavers.
  5. There is UpperSpawn (which are bad?)
  6. There is an upper world.
  7. There are demons
  8. People are dead.
  9. Demons are summonable from the UpperWorld
  10. Saekina is lying to protect (herself) 
  11. We are led to suspect that she did summon a demon.

That is an enormous amount of work for a 3 sentence paragraph.  Does it have to happen this quickly?  As a reader and writer of YA sci-fi/fanrtasy, I am already a bit overwhelmed with information and I don't have any real sense of who or what this world involves.   You've also introduced what I assume is your main character who we're going to have to invest in quickly in order to read the book and all I know about her is that she is going to lie to obfuscate the truth about a bunch of deaths.

 

Good news.  YOu don't need that first paragraph at all. Drop it.  Cut it.  Destroy it.  Start with "Her back was throbbing."  Eventually she's going to have a conversation with somebody about demons and upperworld and whatever the hell happened last night -- we'll learn all that information in a more natural way later.

 

Saekina had a so-called life to disappear from, and not enough time to wash the grime from the night before away. The authorities would try to arrest her, thinking she’d killed those slavers, and what would she say? “Sorry sir, some UpperSpawn, or at least, I’m guessing it’s a demon from the UpperWorld, broke in and killed those people and I’m the only one who lived? And I most certainly did not summon anything from the UpperWorld.”

Yeah, they’ll take my daggers and throw me in a cell.

Her back was throbbing, more out of discomfort than pain. This sentence is much stronger without the extra (slightly confusing) information.  It also gives us a point of relatability in your first paragraph which allows us to identify.  We've all had that problem.  The stone ground had not been the most pleasant way to spend the night, but she and alleys tended to find each other.
She worked her hands up the wall, using it as a crutch until she was standing. Pain spiked through her head, followed by a burst of wooziness. She sucked in a breath and let it pass. She didn’t have time to feel sick. She needed to move. Her cheek had left an angry trail of crusty blood across the light brown skin of her arm. Blending into crowds would be an issue. She scowled and wiped it off on her sleeve. Gods, she must look like a mess. A bloody, bruised, mess.

The sour smell was the perfect way to top off what had been a supremely shitty night. She slid a palm over her face, dark brown hair collecting between her fingers.


These two paragraphs?  A strong opening.


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#4 slbynum3

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 06:56 PM

Saekina had a so-called life to disappear from, and not enough time to wash away the grime from the night before away. The authorities would try to arrest her, thinking she’d killed those slavers, and what would she say? “Sorry sir, some UpperSpawn, or at least, I’m guessing it’s a demon from the UpperWorld, broke in and killed those people and I’m the only one who lived? And I most certainly did not summon anything from the UpperWorld.”

Yeah, they’ll take my daggers and throw me in a cell.

Her back was throbbing throbbed (watch out for that passive voice, I've been scolded about the same thing in my writing), more out of discomfort than pain. The stone ground had not been the most pleasant way to spend the night, but she and alleys tended to find each other.
She worked her hands up the wall, using it as a crutch until she was standing. Pain spiked through her head, followed by a burst of wooziness. She sucked in a breath and let it pass. She didn’t have time to feel sick. She needed to move. Her cheek had left an angry trail of crusty blood across the light brown skin of her arm. Blending into crowds would be an issue. She scowled and wiped it off on her sleeve. Gods, she must look like a mess. A bloody, bruised, mess.

The sour smell was the perfect way to top off what had been a supremely shitty night. She slid a palm over her face head, dark brown hair collecting between her fingers.


 

 

There is a lot going on here, but it seems pretty interesting. Maybe you can save some of the information for readers to learn later so they aren't bogged down by so much at once. Good luck!


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#5 sarahaspen

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 10:56 PM

Saekina had a so-called life to disappear from, I'm not sure what this means without context and not enough time to wash the grime from the night before away. I think the first line could be stronger if it were more specific. What exactly does is Saekina doing to try to disappear? Maybe something like: Saekina ducked into an alley, but the narrow passage would only hide her temporarily. She needed to disappear, or at least wash away the night's grime before the rising sun left no shadows to shield her. The authorities would try to arrest her, thinking she’d killed those slavers, and what would she say? “Sorry sir, some UpperSpawn, or at least, I’m guessing it’s a demon from the UpperWorld, broke in and killed those people and I’m the only one who lived? And I most certainly did not summon anything from the UpperWorld.”

Yeah, they’ll take my daggers and throw me in a cell. 

Her back was throbbing, more out of discomfort than pain. The stone ground had not been the most pleasant way to spend the night, but she and alleys tended to find each other.
Oh, did she just wake up in the alley? You may want to clarify that in the first line then. Waking up is generally considered a cliche opening, but I would consider waking up in an alley to be a fresh way of turning that cliche on its head. :)
She worked her hands up the wall, using it as a crutch until she was standing. Pain spiked through her head, followed by a burst of wooziness. She sucked in a breath and let it pass. She didn’t have time to feel sick. She needed to move. Her cheek had left an angry trail of crusty blood across the light brown skin I know this is third person, but it feels like limited third, which should have a deep POV. In that case, it would be odd for her to think of the color of her own arm/hand. Blending into crowds would be an issue. She scowled and wiped it off on her sleeve. Gods, she must look like a mess. A bloody, bruised, mess. I suggest rearranging the sentences as such for a more logical progression: While she slept, her cheek had left an angry trail of crusty blood on her arm. She scowled and wiped it on her sleeve. God, she must look like a mess. A bloody, bruised mess. Blending into crowds would be an issue.

The sour smell was the perfect way to top off what had been a supremely shitty night. She slid a palm over her face, dark brown hair collecting between her fingers. I'm picturing this scene and thinking she might notice the smell and wipe her face earlier when she first wakes, before she stands up.

 

While I think this is an intriguing opening overall, I do wonder if the night before would be more intriguing? Unless nights like that are the norm for your MC. If waking up like this is meant to give the reader a glimpse of your character's everyday existence  then I would say this is a great starting point. Hope this helps. :)



#6 Ashlyn

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 09:47 AM

Saekina had a so-called life to disappear from, and not enough time to wash the blood from the night before away. Flakes still clung to her light brown skin, some so dark she’d swear it was oil. Her grandmother’s words echoed in her head. “You did this. You summoned them here. You must have been a wretched being in your last life.”

 

The authorities would try to arrest her, thinking she’d killed those slavers. What would she say? “Sorry sir, some UpperSpawn, or at least, I’m guessing it’s a demon from the UpperWorld, broke in and killed those people and I’m the only one who survived? And I most certainly did not summon anything from the UpperWorld.”

Yeah, they’ll take my daggers and throw me in a cell.

 

Her back throbbed. The stone ground had not been the most pleasant way to spend the night, but she and alleys tended to find each other. She worked her hands up the wall, using it as a crutch until she was standing. Pain spiked through her head, followed by a burst of wooziness. She sucked in a breath and let it pass. She didn’t have time to feel sick. Her cheek had left an angry trail of crusty blood across the light brown skin of her arm. Blending into crowds would be an issue. She scowled and wiped it off on her sleeve. Gods, she must look like a mess. A bloody, bruised, mess.


Queries and such:

 

YA fantasy: ALL IS DARK

 

Query: http://agentqueryconnect.com/index.php?/topic/36542-all-is-dark-newest-on-post-17

 

YA Contemporary Fantasy: BENEATH THE MADDENING MOON

 

Query: http://agentquerycon...addening-moon/





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