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#PitchWars Critique: WHAT WE HAVE LEFT

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 14 October 2015 · 58 views

My PitchWars mentor-partner&nbsp;<a href="[url="http://katekaryusquinn.blogspot.com/"]http://katekaryusquinn.blogspot.com/[/url]" target="_blank">Kate Karyus Quinn</a>&nbsp;and I agree that we didn't read a single query that was bad - nor did we read any first pages that were unsalvageable. And honestly with as many submissions as we had, we were surprised at the quality of them. Which is why we decided to offer query and first page critiques on our blogs to everyone who submitted to us.<br /><br />Quite a few people have taken us up on the offer. Through November,&nbsp;<a [url="href="]href="http://katekaryusquinn.blogspot.com/"[/url] target="_blank">Kate</a>&nbsp;and I will be posting these critiques on Mondays and Wednesdays. Any writer can learn from these - not just the author of the material being critiqued. You'll see my comments in&nbsp;<span style="color: #6aa84f;">green</span>.<br /><br /><b>Query:</b><br /><br />Sixteen-year-old Lilás survived an alien attack and a devastating world war. Her reward? The world government placed her in a strictly controlled orphan town, where they plan to wipe out her emotions, just to see if they can. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">I was with you right up until that last statement. Just to see if they can? That doesn't work - all&nbsp;characters, good and bad, have to have clear cut motivations for their actions.</span><br /><br />Sixteen-year-old Lilás <span style="color: #6aa84f;">age already stated</span> has heard that the people who go to the town’s clinic <span style="background-color: #6aa84f;">come out</span> different. When her friend goes there, and <span style="background-color: #6aa84f;">comes out</span>&nbsp;<span style="color: #6aa84f;">repetitive statement&nbsp;</span>ice-cold and ready to kill the children who threaten the current peace, Lilás is determined to never enter. But in their town <span style="color: #6aa84f;">of?&nbsp;</span>Sorrow, where there are soldiers at every gate, she has little options. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">awkward phrasing. Either "no options" or "little choice."</span>&nbsp;Her only hope of escaping is joining the cold-eyed Ace in her carefully calculated plan, which includes three other orphans and a rogue soldier. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Is Ace the aforementioned friend? Clarify.</span><br /><br />Survival turns deadly when they end up in outlaw territory, and one of Lilás’ companions is willing to sacrifice the rest to known rapists and murderers in order to save himself. Even if Lilás manages to make it to safety <strike>away from the outlaws</strike>, <span style="color: #6aa84f;">&nbsp;</span>Ace’s plans can lead them all to their deaths. Lilás must now determine how much death she can stand to cause for the sake of her own survival. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">I think we need to know more about Ace's plans and the overall goal here. Are the rebelling, or just escaping? Attacking the town, or simply putting distance between them?</span><br /><br />WHAT WE HAVE LEFT is a 90,000-word young adult dystopian science fiction novel with LGBT characters, told from multiple viewpoints. It is a standalone with series potential. Thank you for your time and consideration. <br /><br /><b>First page:</b><br /><br />Lilás<br /><br />The biggest lie in history was peace, the biggest joke on those who hoped. Now there’s only Sorrow left. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Good opener.</span><br /><br />The <span style="background-color: #6aa84f;">words</span> <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Word or words? The actual word <i>sorrow</i>?</span>&nbsp;were everywhere in their town, Sorrow. They were painted on the houses, scribbled onto the desks, murmured amongst the orphans before bed, cut into the correction facility’s walls with pocket knifes.<br /><br />Lilás traced the <span style="background-color: #6aa84f;">words</span> on the wall with her finger while waiting outside of school. There was one large <span style="background-color: #6aa84f;">street</span> in Sorrow, cutting the town in half, leading from the <span style="background-color: #6aa84f;">main entrance</span> of the school down to the <span style="background-color: #6aa84f;">main entrance</span> of the town. You could easily watch over the whole length of the <span style="background-color: #6aa84f;">street</span> from the school doors. People moved slowly in Sorrow, dragging their feet, most of them with empty eyes. The town was supposed to be like a large orphanage, one of many after the wars. They said the majority of the residents were children, but the truth was that no one was a child in Sorrow.<br /><br />Lilás felt trapped whenever she looked out over the town. Everything was so silent and lifeless, and she couldn’t leave. At night, she couldn’t breathe in her windowless room, the walls slowly closing in on her. She wouldn’t go to sleep some nights, afraid the air would run out when her eyes were closed.<br /><br />She needed to get out of Sorrow. Preferably without being shot by one of the soldiers standing guard at the town gates.<br /><br />From her position, Lilás spotted Natalie walking down the <span style="background-color: #6aa84f;">street</span>, alone. She put out her cigarette, and made it over to her. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">In this sentence "it" is referring back to the last noun,&nbsp;which is&nbsp;the&nbsp;cigarette. I know you're indicating movement, but it's slightly&nbsp;confusing.</span>&nbsp;The <span style="background-color: #6aa84f;">street</span> edged with small shops with some abandoned buildings between them that posed as a reminder of how many had died. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Again, possible misinterpretation due to phrasing - can be read not as the number of people that died, but rather the manner in&nbsp;which they did.</span>&nbsp;The square houses for the orphans were set up in straight lines behind the shops, all equally dark and dull.<br /><br />“Where do you think you’re going?” Tina grabbed her arm, stopping her in her tracks. Lilás turned her hands into fists, reminding herself of the punishment of punching an adult in the face. “You should be at the clinic together with the rest of your class.” Tina put her hands on her hips. She was one of the handlers assigned to the trouble children, and had been Lilás’ handler until she’d convinced the town officials she was perfectly calm and normal. Tina had never bought it, but she’d let her go anyway, happy with one less responsibility. &nbsp; <br /><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;">Your query needs tightening and focus on whatever&nbsp;the main plot point of the story is, but&nbsp;overall it's well written. Your first page has some great phrasing and a&nbsp;fantastic opening line, but you need to watch out for echoes (high lighted) and possibly misconstrued phrasing. Overall this is quite good, but the genre itself may be working against you.</span><br /><div><br /></div>

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#PitchWars Critique: THE BACKSLIDERS

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 12 October 2015 · 64 views

My PitchWars mentor-partner&nbsp;<a href="[url="http://katekaryusquinn.blogspot.com/"]http://katekaryusquinn.blogspot.com/[/url]" target="_blank">Kate Karyus Quinn</a>&nbsp;and I agree that we didn't read a single query that was bad - nor did we read any first pages that were unsalvageable. And honestly with as many submissions as we had, we were surprised at the quality of them. Which is why we decided to offer query and first page critiques on our blogs to everyone who submitted to us.<br /><br />Quite a few people have taken us up on the offer. Through November,&nbsp;<a [url="href="]href="http://katekaryusquinn.blogspot.com/"[/url] target="_blank">Kate</a>&nbsp;and I will be posting these critiques on Mondays and Wednesdays. Any writer can learn from these - not just the author of the material being critiqued. You'll see my comments in&nbsp;<span style="color: #6aa84f;">green</span>.<br /><div><br /></div><div><b>Query:</b></div><br />2019: Great Britain closed its borders, but not before expelling all foreign influence. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Maybe a little background on why.&nbsp;Overpopulation? Threats?</span><br />2022: 17-year-old Thea Mimieux wants one thing: to escape. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Escape to where?</span><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;"><br /></span>As the daughter of foreign born parents exiled from Britain’s shores, Thea is a precariat, the lowest class in New Britain. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Kind of confusing - the foreigners were expelled, but Thea is still there?&nbsp;</span>Thea manages her wanderlust and hatred for the world she’s stuck in by gorging on the foreign culture New Britain banned. With her twin brother, Jack, they form the Backsliders, whose clandestine existence could be about to come to an abrupt end&nbsp;<span style="color: #6aa84f;">awkward phrasing</span>&nbsp;when they encounter an Elite girl.<br /><br />An Elite girl named Alice.<br /><br />Alice Deering has a seemingly ideal existence but hasn’t felt alive for a single moment of it. Steered by The British Revival party’s strict morality laws, Alice is <span style="color: #6aa84f;">has</span> yet to make a single decision on her own. She hopes that entering the world of courtship will be everything her mother promises and more. But Alice is repelled by the Elite boy society deems suitable and drawn to a precariat boy, Jack, who could cost her everything.<br /><br />Told in a dual point of view, THE BACKSLIDERS is a 98,000 word YA dystopian novel. It is stand-alone with series potential and may appeal to readers of ‘AN EMBER IN THE ASHES’ <span style="color: #6aa84f;">you&nbsp;don't need quotes around these titles</span> by Sabaa Tahir or Louise O’Neill’s ‘ONLY EVER YOURS.’<br /><br /><b>First Page:</b><br /><br />Eve<br /><br />New Britain’s borders might be locked, but <span style="background-color: #e69138;">rumours</span> have a way of creeping in through the cracks. I’ve heard that most of Venice is under water and the <span style="background-color: #e69138;">last</span> tiger has taken its final breath. <span style="background-color: #e69138;">Last</span> year there was a <span style="background-color: #e69138;">rumour</span> world war <span style="color: #6aa84f;">caps?</span> III was raging in the east. I’ll never find out if these stories are true.<br /><br />The latest <span style="background-color: #e69138;">rumour</span> is the royal family are in France, <span style="color: #6aa84f;">why&nbsp;would the&nbsp;royal family be expelled from New Britain?&nbsp;</span>preparing to storm the borders and reclaim their British throne, but I don’t hold <span style="background-color: #e69138;">out</span> hope. If I want <span style="background-color: #e69138;">out</span> of here I’ll have to find a way <span style="background-color: #e69138;">out</span> of the rotting corpse of Britain myself - if the idiot I’m following doesn’t bring a sledgehammer to our little lives first, that is.<br /><br />I scowl at his long, gangly legs in the hope they’ll stop moving so bloody fast. My court shoes nip at my heels and the thought of taking another step makes my temper flicker to life.<br /><br />What is that boy thinking?<br /><br />He hurries down a street lined with abandoned terraced houses, his white shirt a ghostly beacon for me to follow. The artificial flame of the street light flickers in the glass box above me and the thought of it disappearing leaves me cold. I can practically feel the MilPol <span style="background-color: #e69138;">curfew</span> breathing down my neck. If we get caught breaking <span style="background-color: #e69138;">curfew</span> it’ll be a one-way ticket to the penal colony for both of us. As soon as the white shirt has vanished from sight I hurtle after him, keeping my knees soft to stop my heels slapping against the cracked tarmac.<br /><br />I haven’t made it halfway to the corner when I hear a faint buzz. A second later all traces of light disappear and I’m swallowed up by darkness. My heart starts to pound like a tribal drum, fast and erratic. I knew <span style="background-color: #e69138;">curfew</span> was coming, but the hairs on my arms still stand to attention.<br /><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;">Overall this is definitely interesting. We need to know more about motivation in order to make world building&nbsp;believable in the query. Why would Britain make this dramatic move? Are&nbsp;the characters inside Britain? You say all foreign influence is expelled but there it sounds like there is a class of foreigners that our brother and sister characters belong to that are still inside.&nbsp;</span><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;"><br /></span><span style="color: #6aa84f;">Also right now there isn't enough plot in the&nbsp;query to fill an&nbsp;entire novel. We've got a girl that wants to leave where she is and a girl in love with the&nbsp;wrong boy... but that's it. What's the struggle? Is there a revolution? Do they have a plan to get out? The bones are there, but definitely not fleshed out enough to show that there's enough conflict to build an entire novel on.</span><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;"><br /></span><span style="color: #6aa84f;">Echoes highlighted above.</span>

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The Saturday Slash

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 10 October 2015 · 54 views

Meet my Hatchet of Death (or, some other colorful description&nbsp;<a href="[url="http://rclewisbooks.com/"]http://rclewisbooks.com/[/url]" target="_blank">RC Lewis</a>&nbsp;and I come up with at any given moment). This is how I edit myself, it is how I edit others. If you think you want to play with me and my hatchet, shoot us an email.<br /><br /><a [url="href="]href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-oZ52KunZpiM/T_zy5Q521TI/AAAAAAAAArU/EQOi-3pr48Q/s400/NewestSatSlash.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" [url="src="]src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-oZ52KunZpiM/T_zy5Q521TI/AAAAAAAAArU/EQOi-3pr48Q/s320/NewestSatSlash.jpg"[/url] width="247" /></a>We all know the first line of a query is your "hook." I call the last line the "sinker." You want it to&nbsp;punch them in the face, in a nice, friendly kind of way that makes them unable to forget you after having read the 300 other queries in their inbox.<br /><br />If you're looking for query advice, but are slightly intimidated by my claws, blade, or just my rolling googly-eyes, check out the query critique boards over at&nbsp;<a [url="href="]href="http://www.agentqueryconnect.com/"[/url] target="_blank">AgentQueryConnect</a>. This is where I got my start, with advice from people smarter than me. Don't be afraid to ask for help with the most critical first step of your writing journey - the query. My comments appear in&nbsp;<span style="color: #6aa84f;">green</span>.<br /><br />I am seeking representation for my YA Sci-Fi adventure series, OBLIQUITY (95,000), and I am reaching out to you because of your specific interests in the genre. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Hmm...&nbsp;honestly I've always felt like stating that your seeking representation is&nbsp;kind of silly - you wrote a&nbsp;query letter, so they kind of guessed that part&nbsp;already. Stating&nbsp;that you know they like the genre is fine, but&nbsp;maybe being a little more specific would be good -- otherwise&nbsp;it might look like you're up for ANY agent who reps the genre. Also pitching as a series right off the bat might not be the best. It'd call it a standalone with series potential -- but only if that's true.</span><br /><br />Someone wants to kill Lya Rheas - It wasn’t chance that brought her to the prestigious Blue Air Force and it wasn’t luck that assigned her to the command of the mysterious Captain Surek - <span style="color: #6aa84f;">This is all great -- good hook and good voice. However I'd do away with the dashes and just let these sentences stand on their own.&nbsp;</span>If she wants to live, she must find out who is after her and why she is mentioned in a prophecy written over one hundred years ago.<br /><br />Born of a blue-collar family, headstrong and rebellious sixteen-year-old, <span style="color: #6aa84f;">comma overuse</span> Lya Rheas <span style="color: #6aa84f;">probably not&nbsp;necessary to give her full name again</span>, always dreamed of becoming relevant in this world - a hero - like the legendary Captain Surek. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">This sentence is pretty long and wordy - read it aloud, you run out of breath</span>&nbsp;Lya gets what she asks for and more when she is unexpectedly recruited to the prestigious Bleu <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Different than before- which way are you&nbsp;spelling it?</span>&nbsp;Air Force. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">But we already knew&nbsp;that - you're repeating&nbsp;information&nbsp;from your hook, and wasting word economy.</span><br /><br />During her first calibration with the thought-controlled navigation system <span style="color: #6aa84f;">of what? a plane?</span>, she experiences a mysterious vision, which her supervisor insists is a system malfunction, but after several attempts on her life, Lya suspects that someone is watching her - a group of believers of the old prophecy - who are convinced that she is the foretold Ender or <span style="color: #6aa84f;">(of?)&nbsp;</span>Wars. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">This is great stuff, and I like it. However it's also a big run-on sentence. Again, read it aloud and you'll run out of breath. If your query reads like this, it might be an indication that&nbsp;the ms does too.</span><br /><br />After surviving an intensive training program, Lya is shocked to find herself selected as Captain Surek’s copilot. During their missions, she struggles with her morals <span style="color: #6aa84f;">how? What is she asked to do?</span>&nbsp;and constantly challenges the young, brooding and irascible captain. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">He's legendary, but yet young enough to be the love&nbsp;interest?</span>&nbsp;Just as she contemplates leaving the Air Force, an attack by the Red Citadel leads her to discover a conspiracy that promotes the war and that powerful men will stop at nothing to prevent her from fulfilling the prophecy. Thrown into a race against time, Lya has no choice but to enlist the help of friends and allies <span style="color: #6aa84f;">like who?</span>&nbsp;to unearth the mysterious origins of the prophecy, to stop the war and to save her own life.<br /><br />Obliquity is the first book of a series, set in a dark future, on an island once known as Greenland, where the last of humanity has been waging a hundred-year war over the last habitable land on Earth. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Again, I'd consider making it a&nbsp;standalone with series potential.&nbsp;</span><br /><br />I graduated from NYU in Film and TV Production and have since worked for companies such as MTV, Columbia University and the Weinstein Company in their purchasing department. While I have worked extensively with screenplays before, Obliquity is my first novel. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Good bio!</span><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;"><br /></span><span style="color: #6aa84f;">You've got plot and voice doing good things for you&nbsp;here, and the setting&nbsp;seems pretty solid. However you need to do more to show that this book is different from every other chosen one novel out there with a headstrong, plucky female and a brooding love interest. What makes your plot different and unique from similar books? Get that in here, and shorten up some of your sentences.</span>

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2015/10/the-saturday-slash.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2015/10/the-saturday-slash.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


Book Talk & ARC Giveaway: SHALLOW GRAVES by Kali Wallace

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 09 October 2015 · 51 views

My book talks are coming at you from a librarian, not a reviewer. You won't find me talking about style or craft, why I think this could've been better or what worked or didn't work. I only do book talks on books I liked and want other people to know about. So if it's here I probably think it won't injure your brain if you read it.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="[url="https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1434989166l/22663629.jpg"]https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1434989166l/22663629.jpg[/url]" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1434989166l/22663629.jpg"[/url] width="210" /></a></div>Breezy doesn't remember dying, she only knows that a man dug up her shallow grave, and when he touched her dead wrist to pull her body from the ground, she knew instantly that he was a killer. Death has given her a gift - the ability to know with a touch whether someone else has taken life. It's an odd talent for someone who doesn't know they died themselves... even if there is a dark pattern of bruises around her neck that won't fade.<br /><br />Breezy can't die - she's tried. She's got a list of the different methods she's put herself through after being pulled from the dirt, only to discover that forgetting death might be easy - finding it again is going to be complicated. Her search for answers leads her to other beings like herself, monsters hiding in plain sight, their human form disguising what they really are.<br /><br />But monsters aren't the scariest thing the real world has to offer. A group of people know they exist, and will stop at nothing to eliminate their kind. Breezy's new gift teaches her quickly that the difference between the good guys and the bad guys isn't always obvious, and that the word <i>monster</i> can apply to just about anyone.<br /><br /><a class="rcptr" data-raflid="2071810b158" data-template="" data-theme="classic" [url="href="]href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b158/"[/url] id="rcwidget_oqd0cm6e" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><br /><script src="//widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script>

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#PitchWars Crit - UPRISING

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 07 October 2015 · 78 views

My PitchWars mentor-partner&nbsp;<a href="[url="http://katekaryusquinn.blogspot.com/"]http://katekaryusquinn.blogspot.com/[/url]" target="_blank">Kate Karyus Quinn</a>&nbsp;and I agree that we didn't read a single query that was bad - nor did we read any first pages that were unsalvageable. And honestly with as many submissions as we had, we were surprised at the quality of them. Which is why we decided to offer query and first page critiques on our blogs to everyone who submitted to us.<br /><br />Quite a few people have taken us up on the offer. Through November,&nbsp;<a [url="href="]href="http://katekaryusquinn.blogspot.com/"[/url] target="_blank">Kate</a>&nbsp;and I will be posting these critiques on Mondays and Wednesdays. Any writer can learn from these - not just the author of the material being critiqued. You'll see my comments in&nbsp;<span style="color: #6aa84f;">green</span>.<br /><br /><b>Query:</b><br /><br />When criminals and beasts unite to oust the royalty, Raylene must find a way to stop them <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Why must she?</span>. But first she needs to control her insatiable urge to kill. UPRISING, a YA fantasy, is complete at 85,000 words. It will appeal to fans of Kristin Cashore’s GRACELING and Marie Rutkoski’s THE WINNER’S CURSE. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Good hook. I need to&nbsp;know&nbsp;more, but I'm sure that's to come. I like your comp titles.</span><br /><br />After years of training to be a warrior, Raylene returns to her homeland. With her sword that emits fire and light, she can incapacitate fighters double her size. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Perhaps a&nbsp;little more here - why is&nbsp;Rayline a warrior? Was this a choice or a caste or a destiny thing?</span><br /><br />In her kingdom, all is not well. Prison breaks <span style="color: #6aa84f;">who is breaking out?</span> are rampant and officials are being murdered. The empress insists everything is under control. But when her father goes on a ride <span style="color: #6aa84f;">like on a horse, or in a car? Genres are easily bent these days.</span>&nbsp;and returns in a comatose state, Raylene doesn’t believe it was the accident they say it was. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Slightly confusing - like he&nbsp;returned on horseback? But he's comatose? Like a &nbsp;zombie? Or he's out cold?</span>&nbsp;She’s willing to break every rule to uncover the truth, even if it means torturing suspects. <br /><br />As she starts to untangle the web of lies ensnaring her kingdom, Raylene discovers a master manipulator is raising an army of criminals and deadly monsters. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">More on the monsters please - are these&nbsp;unknown to the land, or just more of "skulk in the dark and we don't bother you" type of thing</span>&nbsp;She knows the power-hungry elites <span style="color: #6aa84f;">So is this like a coup?&nbsp;Officials are being murdered, but the elites are conspiring?</span>&nbsp;are secretly lending him their support, but whenever she starts to close in, someone turns up dead.<br /><br />Now Raylene must find a way to apprehend the rebel leader. If she fails to stop the rebellion, it’ll be the end of the royal family. Her family. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Wait, she's&nbsp;royal? Explain.</span><br /><br /><br /><b>First Page:</b><br /><br />No one would rule her again, ever.<br /><br />Raylene thought and gritted her teeth. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Not a complete sentence.</span> It had been four years since she set <span style="background-color: #e69138;">foot</span> in Divine. She was still far from it, being several <span style="background-color: #e69138;">feet</span> above the ground. But it wouldn’t be long until she reached Orion, the capital of the empire she would rule one day.<br /><br />Raylene heard the pounding of her <span style="background-color: #e69138;">heart</span> even though the wind whistled nonstop around her. She petted the bird-like <span style="background-color: #e69138;">head</span> of her ride <span style="color: #6aa84f;">mount?</span>—a zelokyte she had named Apa. She leaned closer to Apa’s massive <span style="background-color: #e69138;">body.</span><br /><br />Raylene pulled binocles over her <span style="background-color: #e69138;">eyes</span> and the view became so clear that she could count the pebbles below. The jagged leaves of the coniferous trees shivered as Apa flew into their midst. She raised her pointed <span style="background-color: #e69138;">beak</span> and soared high towards the darkening sky. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Perhaps the explanation of her&nbsp;viewpoint could come first. I thought she was standing on a cliff, or&nbsp;something, being several feet above. It explains the wind, etc., but we need to know she's on a flying steed first.</span><br /><br />Raylene shook her <span style="background-color: #e69138;">head</span> and waved away a ghost of a memory that kept growing as she neared her homeland. She wondered if it would be easier to defy the empress, now that she was a full-fledged wielder.<br /><br />Easy or not, she would ensure that her grandmother paid for being the empress who ruled without mercy, and for whom her granddaughter’s wishes were as insignificant as the ashes left by a burning hearth.<br /><br />Heat flushed through Raylene’s <span style="background-color: #e69138;">body</span>. &nbsp;She hadn’t forgotten, never would. And her grandmother would soon see what she was capable of.<br /><br />Raylene licked her upper <span style="background-color: #e69138;">lip</span>.<br /><br />​Raylene​ stroked Apa’s rough scales, needing no bridle to control her zelokyte. Apa sensed and understood her. She straightened her scaly <span style="background-color: #e69138;">wings</span> and flew faster, leaving a flock of birds squawking behind them.​<br /><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;">The first thing that&nbsp;jumps out at me is that&nbsp;this is a lot of telling. You're entire first page her is backstory being reiterated to the reader,&nbsp;which isn't the best delivery. Show how Raylene feels instead of just&nbsp;telling the reader, exhibit these emotions through interactions&nbsp;instead of setting it out as explanation in the first page. Also, I highlighted use of body parts throughout - it stood out to me the amount of words that are body parts on the first page, for whatever reason.</span>

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2015/10/pitchwars-crit-uprising.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2015/10/pitchwars-crit-uprising.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


Happy Book Birthday To A MADNESS SO DISCREET!

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 06 October 2015 · 83 views

<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="[url="https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1443368211l/24376529.jpg"]https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1443368211l/24376529.jpg[/url]" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="640" [url="src="]src="https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1443368211l/24376529.jpg"[/url] width="422" /></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><i>Grace Mae knows madness.</i></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><i><br /></i></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><i>She keeps it locked away, along with her voice, trapped deep inside a brilliant mind that cannot forget horrific family secrets. Those secrets, along with the bulge in her belly, land her in a Boston insane asylum.</i></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><i><br /></i></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><i>When her voice returns in a burst of violence, Grace is banished to the dark cellars, where her mind is discovered by a visiting doctor who dabbles in the new study of criminal psychology. With her keen eyes and sharp memory, Grace will make the perfect assistant at crime scenes. Escaping from Boston to the safety of an ethical Ohio asylum, Grace finds friendship and hope, hints of a life she should have had. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who stalks young women. Grace, continuing to operate under the cloak of madness, must hunt a murderer while she confronts the demons in her own past.</i></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><i><br /></i></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><i>In this beautifully twisted historical thriller, Mindy McGinnis, acclaimed author of Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust, explores the fine line between sanity and insanity, good and evil—and the madness that exists in all of us.&nbsp;</i></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" class="YOUTUBE-iframe-video" [url="data-thumbnail-src="]data-thumbnail-src="https://i.ytimg.com/vi/Z908hNnNxC0/0.jpg"[/url] frameborder="0" height="300" [url="src="]src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Z908hNnNxC0?feature=player_embedded"[/url] width="480"></iframe></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;">Book Launch party TONIGHT at the <a [url="href="]href="http://www.delawarelibrary.org/event/madness-so-discreet-release-party-and-ya-author-visit"[/url] target="_blank">Orange Branch of the Delaware County Library</a> from 7-8:30 PM, with fellow YA authors Demitria Lunetta, Jennifer McGown and Geoffrey Girard.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;">Can't make it? No worries - I've got a lot of <a [url="href="]href="http://www.mindymcginnis.com/news.html"[/url] target="_blank">upcoming events!</a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;">None near you? Don't fret. Call <a [url="href="]href="http://www.funbooksandmore.com/"[/url] target="_blank">Fundamentals Bookstore</a> to have a signed copy of A MADNESS SO DISCREET (or any of my books) mailed to you!</div>

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2015/10/happy-book-birthday-to-madness-so.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2015/10/happy-book-birthday-to-madness-so.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>



  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 05 October 2015 · 83 views

My PitchWars mentor-partner&nbsp;<a href="[url="http://katekaryusquinn.blogspot.com/"]http://katekaryusquinn.blogspot.com/[/url]" target="_blank">Kate Karyus Quinn</a>&nbsp;and I agree that we didn't read a single query that was bad - nor did we read any first pages that were unsalvageable. And honestly with as many submissions as we had, we were surprised at the quality of them. Which is why we decided to offer query and first page critiques on our blogs to everyone who submitted to us.<br /><br />Quite a few people have taken us up on the offer. Through November,&nbsp;<a [url="href="]href="http://katekaryusquinn.blogspot.com/"[/url] target="_blank">Kate</a>&nbsp;and I will be posting these critiques on Mondays and Wednesdays. Any writer can learn from these - not just the author of the material being critiqued. You'll see my comments in&nbsp;<span style="color: #6aa84f;">green</span>.<br /><br /><b>Query:</b><br /><br />As daughter to the Lord of Galedonia, fifteen-year-old Ida thinks she’s safe from tragedy … until she fails to save her oldest friend from dying in <span style="color: #6aa84f;">should be "at" I think?</span>&nbsp;the pillory. When her father banishes her mother to the slums for defiance, Ida refuses to fail again. She smuggles her mother food and valuables until she’s caught and banished too.<br /><br />Thrilled to live with her mother ​once more​, Ida throws herself into the maze of streets, befriending beggars and crypt-dwellers. But slum life is harsh: her neighbors are scapegoated, maimed, and broken, her mother slaves in a factory, and small-time parasites <span style="color: #6aa84f;">like actual parasites, or is this another bad&nbsp;human move? using the word "devour" here&nbsp;makes me think of silverfish</span>&nbsp;devour their money. Ida must learn to survive if she hopes for a brighter future, and her new friends are the perfect teachers. With the help of Fairfax, a freakishly ugly outcast with a soft spot for her mother, Ida navigates their knife-edge existence.<br /><br />When Fairfax is arrested on trumped up charges and left to die in <span style="color: #6aa84f;">again "in"... is the pillory in your story different from the&nbsp;traditional idea of a pillory --&nbsp;simply a pillar that the victim is tied / nailed to?</span>&nbsp;the pillory, Ida is forced to relive her worst memory in the face of a terrible choice. If she’s caught trying to save him, she’ll be sentenced to death. If she walks away, she’ll watch another friend freeze. And in her dangerous new world, where friends mean survival, letting Fairfax die isn’t just cruel … it’s suicidal.<br /><br />THE STATUE SAYS SPRING is an 88,000 word YA historical fantasy with crossover potential. It is set in a non-magical world that blends elements of Victorian and medieval England, and combines the style of Karen Cushman's Catherine, Called Birdy with the world-building of Marie Rutkoski’s The Winner’s Curse.<br /><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;">I think your query is strong and the genre explanation at the bottom&nbsp;helps explain some questions that arose for my while&nbsp;reading the query. I do think you might need to&nbsp;examine the use of "in" for pillory, and also explain the cause of death at the beginning. If freezing plays into it we need to know a little more about that in terms of the world building - is this a season, or is this a freezing world?&nbsp;</span><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;"><br /></span><span style="color: #6aa84f;">Overall more world building is necessary since it's a non-magical world that&nbsp;feels historical, why make&nbsp;this a&nbsp;fantasy at all? Get more about the stakes into the query - the plot can build entirely toward helping or not helping one person. Surely there is a subplot - what is it?</span><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;"><br /></span><b>First Page:</b><br /><br />The pillory would be teeming with spectators by dawn. If Ida wanted to help Mr. Hanson in time, she’d have to leave soon.<br /><br />Across the room, her mother hadn’t shifted in minutes and her breathing was steady. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">The phrasing of this&nbsp;sentence feels passive as is.</span>&nbsp;She was finally asleep. Ida crept from bed and collected her bag of supplies, coat, and glasses before sneaking out.<br /><br />The icy Brimmen sea wind was a slap to the face so Ida pulled her long, lank hair over her ears. It didn’t help. Why was it so cold tonight, of all nights? It was mid-September, but it felt like February, and Mr. Hanson was confined in the pillory with only a thin shirt and breeches. He’d be frozen half to death. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Good - you've built the coldness of this&nbsp;world into the first page. Get it into the&nbsp;query.</span><br /><br />“Ikshik,” Ida cursed as she passed the Basilica’s blood-red gates. <span style="background-color: #f1c232;">Maybe he was frozen to death. It was cold enough</span>.&nbsp;<span style="color: #6aa84f;">This is just echoing something we already know from the above para.&nbsp;</span>She cursed again, blew on her numb fingers, and sped up. Gregor Hanson was like a grandfather to her, always there when she needed him most. He’d smuggled her forbidden books, taught her to ride boy-fashion, carried her to the surgeon when she broke her collarbone. Ida knew he was innocent <span style="color: #6aa84f;">of what?</span>, she just knew it. There was no way she’d sleep peacefully in her warm bed while he suffered. If the stars had favoured her, she’d already be wrapping him in a warm blanket. But her mother had guessed she’d sneak out and sat up in her room to stop her.<br /><br />Her mother never listened to reason.<br /><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;">Overall&nbsp;this is a strong start. Get&nbsp;the&nbsp;repeat of the idea of him being frozen to death out of there and you're&nbsp;looking pretty good. Also I think it&nbsp;would be&nbsp;important to build on the idea of his "innocence" - for what&nbsp;crime? Is this government one that pillories people for small grievance&nbsp;like stealing bread? Or did he supposedly do&nbsp;something worse? I'm not saying this needs fleshed out in the first 250, but definitely be sure it's addressed within the first few pages - it's world&nbsp;building and scene building in one.</span>

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2015/10/pitchwars-crit-statue-says-spring.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2015/10/pitchwars-crit-statue-says-spring.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


Fall YA Scavenger Hunt! #YASH

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 01 October 2015 · 50 views

<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="[url="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-LdOaMhn31uA/VgKgsv534fI/AAAAAAAADXU/WpLjMMekZ-Q/s1600/YA_ScavengerHunt_WebBanner-2.jpg"]http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-LdOaMhn31uA/VgKgsv534fI/AAAAAAAADXU/WpLjMMekZ-Q/s1600/YA_ScavengerHunt_WebBanner-2.jpg[/url]" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="137" [url="src="]src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-LdOaMhn31uA/VgKgsv534fI/AAAAAAAADXU/WpLjMMekZ-Q/s400/YA_ScavengerHunt_WebBanner-2.jpg"[/url] width="400" /></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div><span style="color: #ea9999;">Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was first organized by author</span>&nbsp;<a [url="href="]href="http://www.colleenhouck.com/">Colleen[/url] Houck</a>&nbsp;<span style="color: #ea9999;">as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors...and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize--one lucky winner will receive&nbsp;<b>one signed book from each author on the hunt in my team</b>!<b>&nbsp;</b>But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!</span><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a [url="href="]href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-ujtdQbIwjNs/VgGRShC9ebI/AAAAAAAADWw/4gqbuIDSno4/s1600/Green%2BTeam.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="225" [url="src="]src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-ujtdQbIwjNs/VgGRShC9ebI/AAAAAAAADWw/4gqbuIDSno4/s400/Green%2BTeam.jpg"[/url] width="400" /></a></div><b><span style="color: #ea9999;"></span></b><br /><b><span style="color: #ea9999;"><br /></span></b><b><span style="color: #ea9999;">Go to the</span>&nbsp;<a [url="href="]href="http://yascavengerhunt.blogspot.com/">YA[/url] Scavenger Hunt</a>&nbsp;<span style="color: #ea9999;">page to find out all about the hunt.&nbsp;</span></b><span style="color: #ea9999;">There are EIGHT contests going on &nbsp;simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the</span>&nbsp;<span style="color: lime;">GREEN TEAM</span><span style="color: #ea9999;">--but there is also a red team, blue team, gold team, orange team, teal team, purple team, pink team for a chance to win a whole different set of signed books!</span><br /><br /><span style="color: #ea9999;">If you'd like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to</span><a [url="href="]href="http://yascavengerhunt.blogspot.com/p/prizes.html">&nbsp;the[/url] YA Scavenger Hunt page</a>.<br /><b style="text-align: center;"><br /></b><b style="text-align: center;"><span style="color: #ea9999;">SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE</span></b></div><div style="text-align: center;"><b><br /></b></div><div><span style="color: #ea9999;"><b>Directions:</b>&nbsp;Below, you'll notice that I've listed my&nbsp;favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the</span>&nbsp;<span style="color: lime;">green team</span>,&nbsp;<span style="color: #ea9999;">and then add them up (don't worry, you can use a calculator!).&nbsp;</span></div><div><span style="color: blue;"><br /></span></div><div><span style="color: #ea9999;"><b>Entry Form:</b>&nbsp;Once you've added up all the numbers,</span>&nbsp;<a [url="href="]href="http://yascavengerhunt.blogspot.com/p/enter-here.html">make[/url] sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize</a>.&nbsp;<span style="color: #ea9999;">Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.</span></div><div><br /></div><div><span style="color: #ea9999;"><b>Rules:</b>&nbsp;Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by&nbsp;<b>Sunday, Oct 4th at noon Pacific time</b>. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.</span></div><div><br /></div><div style="text-align: center;"><b>SCAVENGER HUNT POST</b><br /><b><br /></b> <br /><div style="text-align: left;"><span style="color: #ea9999;">Today I am&nbsp;hosting Anne Boles Levy, who teaches English to middle schoolers after more than two decades writing and editing for print, web, and radio. Anne is a graduate of Smith College and studied abroad at University College London, and she has her master's in journalism from Columbia University. She is also an amateur silversmith and the absentminded wife to her long-suffering husband, Brett. They run around after two children and a cat in Scottsdale, Arizona. Anne's book for the scavenger hunt is book two in the&nbsp;<a [url="href="]href="http://www.amazon.com/Temple-Doubt-Anne-Boles-Levy/dp/1632204274/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1440387792&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=temple+of+doubt"[/url] target="_blank">TEMPLE OF DOUBT</a>&nbsp;series, titled <a [url="href="]href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25898665-the-well-of-prayers?from_search=true&amp;search_version=service"[/url] target="_blank">THE WELL OF PRAYERS </a>and I have the honor of hosting her cover&nbsp;reveal for her special content here on the YASH!</span><br /><span style="color: #ea9999;"><br /></span><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a [url="href="]href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-MvpdzuhpUKA/VgIGbFgZx-I/AAAAAAAADXA/_lFqIkN6QxU/s1600/Well%2Bof%2BPrayers_cover.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="640" [url="src="]src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-MvpdzuhpUKA/VgIGbFgZx-I/AAAAAAAADXA/_lFqIkN6QxU/s640/Well%2Bof%2BPrayers_cover.jpg"[/url] width="426" /></a></div></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><div style="text-align: left;"><span style="color: #ea9999;"><br /></span></div><div style="text-align: left;"><span style="color: #ea9999;"></span></div><div style="text-align: center;"><span style="color: #ea9999;"><i>Hadara, now sixteen years old, is still recovering from the night she assisted the Azwans, mighty magi, in destroying a demon that fell from the stars. She has a new job as an apprentice healer and wants to put her past—and her doubts—behind her.</i></span><br /><span style="color: #ea9999;"><i><br /></i></span><span style="color: #ea9999;"><i>On the planet Kuldor and beyond, it is deemed a sin to doubt the god Nihil’s magic, and heresy to fail to worship him correctly. The Azwans, still on Hadara’s island home, have begun punishing disbelievers with a vengeance.</i></span><br /><span style="color: #ea9999;"><i><br /></i></span><span style="color: #ea9999;"><i>Hadara can’t shake her own skepticism, though, especially when she suspects that the demon they destroyed isn’t entirely gone. What if bits and pieces are, in fact, floating around inside her and maybe taking root? Since she stood at the altar that fateful night, she’s developed the ability to understand foreign tongues, among other odd talents she never had before. Had she perhaps swallowed some part of the dying demon? She suspects no one can answer that question for her, but she doesn’t trust anyone enough to ask it.</i></span><br /><span style="color: #ea9999;"><i><br /></i></span><span style="color: #ea9999;"><i>But then a temple guard who she once thought was dead comes back into her life and points her toward new truths and a new sense of purpose: somewhere in the murky jungles surrounding her city, another people beckon her and demand she fulfill the destiny foretold by the falling star.</i></span></div><div><br /></div></div><div><div><div><div><div><div><div><div style="text-align: center;"><span style="color: orange;">*****************************************************************************************</span></div><div><br /></div><span style="color: #ea9999;">And don't forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of signed books by me, Anne Boles Levy, and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is</span>&nbsp;<span style="color: lime;">9</span>.&nbsp;<span style="color: #ea9999;">Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the</span>&nbsp;<span style="color: lime;">green team</span>&nbsp;<span style="color: #ea9999;">and you'll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!</span><br /><span style="color: #ea9999;"><br /></span><span style="color: #ea9999;">And enter to win a signed copy of NOT A DROP TO DRINK below - even if you don't&nbsp;win the big giveaway with&nbsp;all the </span><span style="color: lime;">green team</span><span style="color: #ea9999;"> members, you can still have a shot at a signed copy of my debut!</span><br /><span style="color: #ea9999;"><br /></span><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a [url="href="]href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-zyaSI5SAn60/Vg1vLCtH-6I/AAAAAAAADYA/j3r5AE3EUPI/s1600/YASH%2BGREEN%2BTEAM%2B2015.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="400" [url="src="]src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-zyaSI5SAn60/Vg1vLCtH-6I/AAAAAAAADYA/j3r5AE3EUPI/s400/YASH%2BGREEN%2BTEAM%2B2015.jpg"[/url] width="400" /></a></div><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><b>CONTINUE THE HUNT</b></div><div style="text-align: center;"><b><br /></b></div><div><span style="color: #ea9999;">To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the&nbsp;<a [url="href="]href="http://authoraghoward.blogspot.com/"[/url] target="_blank">next author</a>!</span>&nbsp;</div><br /><a class="twitter-hashtag-button" data-related="bethrevis" data-size="large" [url="data-url="]data-url="http://YAScavengerHunt.blogspot.com"[/url] [url="href="]href="https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?button_hashtag=YASH&amp;text=Check%20it%20out%20RIGHT%20NOW!%20The%20YA%20Scavenger%20Hunt%2C%20with%20over%20a%20hundred%20signed%20books%20as%20a%20grand%20prize!">Tweet[/url] #YASH</a><br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><span style="color: lime;">Just FYI the e-book version of NOT A DROP TO DRINK is $1.99 <a [url="href="]href="http://www.amazon.com/Not-Drop-Drink-Mindy-McGinnis-ebook/dp/B00BATIJYE/ref=sr_1_3_twi_kin_2?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1443723657&amp;sr=8-3&amp;keywords=mindy+mcginnis"[/url] target="_blank">right now!</a></span></div><br /><a class="rcptr" data-raflid="2071810b156" data-template="" data-theme="classic" [url="href="]href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b156/"[/url] id="rcwidget_h7nbox0h" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><br /><script src="//widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script></div></div></div></div></div></div></div>

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2015/10/fall-ya-scavenger-hunt-yash.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2015/10/fall-ya-scavenger-hunt-yash.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


#PitchWars Crit - NEVERLAND

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 30 September 2015 · 75 views

My PitchWars mentor-partner&nbsp;<a href="[url="http://katekaryusquinn.blogspot.com/"]http://katekaryusquinn.blogspot.com/[/url]" target="_blank">Kate Karyus Quinn</a>&nbsp;and I agree that we didn't read a single query that was bad - nor did we read any first pages that were unsalvageable. And honestly with as many submissions as we had, we were surprised at the quality of them. Which is why we decided to offer query and first page critiques on our blogs to everyone who submitted to us.<br /><br />Quite a few people have taken us up on the offer. Through November,&nbsp;<a [url="href="]href="http://katekaryusquinn.blogspot.com/"[/url] target="_blank">Kate</a>&nbsp;and I will be posting these critiques on Mondays and Wednesdays. Any writer can learn from these - not just the author of the material being critiqued. You'll see my comments in&nbsp;<span style="color: #6aa84f;">green</span>.<br /><br /><b>Query:</b><br /><br />All beautiful and intelligent Tinkerbell wants is to survive, though granted <span style="color: #6aa84f;">I'd cut "granted" for flow</span>&nbsp;she does it differently than other UnSeelie Fae. Neverland is a carnival, petting zoo, playground, fun-filled wonderland, and Tinkerbell has happily spent her centuries luring children there with the help of her brainwashed, broken, and beloved Peter Pan. There children are safe from that nasty outside world full of horrific pain, and can be carefree and happy always. At least until the day prior to their thirteenth birthday. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">It's unclear how this ties into her survival, and how what she does is different than&nbsp;other fae.</span><br /><br />But now some useless, nasty, scum-filled imaginary friend by the name of Wendy has come along. She thinks Tinkerbell’s Neverland is barbaric, that Peter Pan needs to be saved, that Neverland needs to come crashing down and Tinkerbell needs to die. So naturally, Tinkerbell wants her gone. But paradise has gotten boring, so a game is decided upon rather than just sending the snivelling thing to whatever afterlife imaginary friends have.<br /><br />So it’s a chess game to gain control over Peter Pan; whoever captures the king’s mind wins the chess game. If Tinkerbell wins she’ll make sure a fate worse than full body mutilation awaits her opponent. But if Wendy wins, one way or another Neverland will fall.<br /><br />NEVERLAND is a 61,000 word YA psychological thriller retelling of Peter Pan, and is told from the point of views of both Tinkerbell and Wendy <span style="color: #6aa84f;">If this is the case then I think the query needs to reflect this a little more. Right now the query feels entirely&nbsp;Tink-centric</span>. There are examples of racial diversity as well as LGBTA+ diversity in my manuscript, as I believe diversity in literature is essential. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">That's great, but&nbsp;mentioning it here almost feels like a marketing ploy. I'd leave it alone in the query and let it speak for itself in the manuscript.</span><br /><br /><b>First Page:</b><br /><br />Tinkerbell yawned and shifted in the warm morning’s rays <span style="color: #6aa84f;">there's no mention of a sun here - just morning rays&nbsp;</span>to glance down at the human bed below her warm nest. Her boy hadn’t left without her then, good, and a smile curled as the Fae watched him rub his eyes. She tied her pixie dust bag to her waist and then wings fluttered to bring feet cloaked in leaves and dandelion puffs down to rest upon her twelve-year-old’s pillow. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Awkward phasing - the wings sound like they're acting independently of Tink</span>&nbsp;He was so cute, he had been even before she magicked him to be twelve forever.<br /><br />“Good morning my Peter Pan…” Tiny fingers brushed through auburn hair as he shifted into them. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">&nbsp;</span>“Are you fully awake yet my darling? How did you sleep?”<br /><br />Brown eyes <span style="color: #6aa84f;">I mentioned this on my last crit as well, and it may be a personal preference, but I think character description slipped into narrative like this&nbsp;always feels awkward</span>&nbsp;fluttered open, and a cute crocodile grin stretched his lips as Tinkerbell’s Peter Pan scrambled up and her wings fluttered wildly to keep from tipping over. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Lots of -ed verbs at work in this sentence, it's slowing down the narrative.</span><br /><br />“Mornin’ Tink! I slept good how’d you sleep? What’re we gonna do t’day, somethin’ fun?”<br /><br />“Yes, yes of course.” She fluttered out of the way as he rolled out of bed and shook his hair about. “Lots of fun things but you must do what I please too darling. Always obey me.” He rarely needed a reminder, but sometimes it was nice to give one.<br /><br />“Yes Tink!” He was an amusing and cute little thing, and Tinkerbell followed as her Peter Pan galloped down the swirled staircase of their tree. “Up up ev’rybody up!” The excitable crowing that amplified itself with each word made everyone stir, and soon all twenty three twelve-year-olds were yawning and grumbling. Tinkerbell gave Oliver a sweet smile and wave as she landed on his wooden clock that dangled from his shelf, and his <span style="background-color: #bf9000;">delighted grin gained him noises akin to falling glitter. </span><span style="background-color: white;">&nbsp;<span style="color: #6aa84f;">Unsure what you're saying here -- is&nbsp;Tink making the noises? Does falling glitter make a noise?</span></span><br />&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; <br />Each boy was greeted as Tinkerbell checked the days left on their clocks and dove down into the depths of the tree to greet more of them. “Tinkerbell…?” Who was this little brunet boy, David? Yes, David. Her tinkles of gibberish that they all thought was “fairy language” &nbsp;eased a small smile onto his face as he rose and adjusted his yarmulke. The standing was strange, <span style="color: #6aa84f;">I don't know what you're saying here - standing?</span>&nbsp;but it was likely just a cultural happening among whatever his race of humans were.<br /><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;">You have a lot of awkward phrasing at work here, and some sentences that are quite frankly, confusing. It's easy for an author to read&nbsp;their own work and interpret it&nbsp;correctly because you know exactly what you mean, and your brain fills in the blanks. I would suggest getting a critique partner to read over this to mark passages that are confusing.</span>

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An SAT With Chris Von Halle

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 29 September 2015 · 40 views

Today's guest for the SAT (Successful Author Talk) is Chris Von Halle.&nbsp;Chris's books recreate his childhood memories of such outlandish locations as the near and distant future Earth, other planets, and even other dimensions. He lives in Ridgewood, New Jersey, and enjoys such extraordinary activities as playing videogames, tennis, and basketball, and writing the occasional comic strip. His debut, <a href="[url="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26053886-the-fourth-generation?from_search=true&amp;search_version=service"]https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26053886-the-fourth-generation?from_search=true&amp;search_version=service[/url]" target="_blank">THE FOURTH GENERATION</a>, is available now.<br /><br /><b>Are you a Planner or Pantster?</b><br /><br /><i>I’m definitely a pantser at heart, but over the years I’ve incorporated some planning into the equation. It’s an ever-evolving process ☺</i><br /><b><br /></b><b>How long does it typically take you to write a novel, start to finish?</b><br /><br /><i>I think the average is about two years. Usually that involves setting the book aside for months at certain points in order to work on revisions for another manuscript or simply to get distance from the book so I can return to it with fresh eyes.</i><br /><br /><b>Do you work on one project at a time, or are you a multi tasker?</b><br /><br /><i>As I hinted at above, I’m a bit of a multi-tasker, since I will sometimes set a book aside to work on another depending on which one needs my attention the most at the moment. However, over the course of any long period (say, two years), one project typically occupies most of my time and effort.</i><br /><br /><b>Did you have to overcome any fears that first time you sat down to write?</b><br /><br /><i>I’ve been writing ever since I can remember, so I’m pretty sure I wasn’t even old enough to be aware that writing could be “scary” the first time I sat down to do it. I just wrote for the sheer joy of it. However, the notorious self-doubt monster is definitely something that has periodically reared its ugly head over the years. I think that’s something every writer deals with at some point, though, if not often; even the most “successful” ones.</i><br /><br /><b>How many trunked books did you have before you were published?</b><br /><br /><i>It’s embarrassing to say, but technically six.</i><br /><br /><b>Have you ever quit on an ms, and how did you know it was time?</b><br /><br /><i>Yes, six times. In the beginning it was clear that I wasn’t writing at a professional level yet, based on the type of feedback I received from critique partners and agents, so that’s why I shelved a few. Later it was the fact that I sent out so many queries I couldn’t even count, and hardly received any requests or interest.</i><br /><br /><b>How did it feel the first time you saw your book for sale?</b><br /><br /><i>It felt absolutely fantastic, like a dream come true. Even cooler since I think the cover is so awesome (thanks, Cora Graphics!).</i><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a [url="href="]href="https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1438901462l/26053886.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1438901462l/26053886.jpg"[/url] width="212" /></a></div><b>How much input do you have on cover art?</b><br /><br /><i>Speaking of which, I did have some input on the cover. That’s what I really like about my publisher, Clean Reads. The cover artist and I had a little back-and-forth action to iron out a couple things, and the result is stunning, I think.</i><br /><br /><b>What's something you learned from the process that surprised you?</b><br /><br /><i>I think it’s the importance of evolving and trying different paths if one path isn’t working for you. During my long seven or so years of shooting for publication, I had always envisioned myself trespassing the so-called traditional path: get a literary agent who then gets me a book deal with a major publisher. But after beating down that path for so long without much success, and giving a small press a shot without an agent, I’ve come to realize that that’s also a viable and rewarding path. So, bottom line: Don’t be afraid to try different avenues if one in particular isn’t working for you.</i><br /><br /><b>How much of your own marketing do you?</b><br /><br /><i>I do a fair amount of marketing. At least, these days I split up my writing time down the middle between marketing and writing the next book. I have a <a [url="href="]href="http://chrisvonhalle.blogspot.com/"[/url] target="_blank">blog</a>, a <a [url="href="]href="http://www.chrisvonhalle.com/"[/url] target="_blank">website</a>, and <a [url="href="]href="https://twitter.com/ChrisvonHalle"[/url] target="_blank">Twitter</a>.</i><br /><br /><b>When do you build your platform? After a book deal? Or should you be working before?</b><br /><br /><i>I think you can really start building your platform after you get an agent or a book deal, but it doesn’t hurt to have a blog or website while you’re shooting for those things. But, still, I’d say that prior to getting an agent or book deal, your time is best spent honing your writing skills, since ultimately that’s what will bring your work and your writing career to the next level.</i><br /><br /><b>Do you think social media helps build your readership?</b><br /><br /><i>Certainly. I’m not sure how much it ultimately helps, but it definitely makes you and your book(s) more visible and accessible to the market.</i><br /><div><br /></div>

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