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Book Talk & Giveaway: THE KILLING JAR by Jennifer Bosworth

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 21 December 2015 · 85 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/1427396591l/17608898.jpg"]https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1427396591l/17608898.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/1427396591l/17608898.jpg"[/url] width="213" /></a></div>Kenna didn't mean to kill the neighbor boy when she was a child, but his acts of cruelty towards animals drove her to do something she's never understood - draining his life force and leaving only a husk behind. The tragedy was never explained, except for a dire warning from her mother to never touch other people. Now seventeen, Kenna struggles with her feelings for her best guy pal, and the twin sister who is dying slowly - never touching either one of them.<br /><br />When a home intruder takes the family by surprise, Kenna's power is the only thing that can save them - completely eradicating every living thing around the house in a mile wide radius as well. With the life force of everything she killed tearing through her, Kenna revives her mother and sister, restoring her sister to a state of health she's never enjoyed in her entire life.<br /><br />With this new tragedy, her mother tells Kenna it's time for her to come clean, and drives her to Eclipse - a commune on the hillside that most people avoid. Well protected, secret, and completely insular, the people of Eclipse have always been a mystery - until Kenna's mom reveals she used to be one of them, and that the powers that made her one of their people have passed to Kenna.<br /><br />Left at the commune with her grandmother, Kenna discovers a world of music and happiness, art and food, a world where she doesn't have to worry about not touching others anymore because her touch cannot hurt people like herself. But she's only seeing one side of the commune, and dark hints begin to reach her that not everything at Eclipse is as it seems.<br /><br /><a class="rcptr" data-raflid="2071810b169" data-template="" data-theme="classic" [url="href="]href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b169/"[/url] id="rcwidget_o688tjth" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><br /><script [url="src="]src="https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script>[/url]

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2015/12/book-talk-giveaway-killing-jar-by.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2015/12/book-talk-giveaway-killing-jar-by.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


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Book Talk & Giveaway: THICKER THAN WATER by Kelly Fiore

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 11 December 2015 · 44 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/1434989252l/18711172.jpg"]https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1434989252l/18711172.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/1434989252l/18711172.jpg"[/url] width="212" /></a></div>CeCe knows she killed her brother, and nothing her court appointed therapist says is going to take that back. Her father won't speak to her, her stepmother has walked out, and the colleges that CeCe had been accepted to probably won't be interested anymore now that a murder charge has been added to her resume.<br /><br />CeCe's life was on the right track - and so was her brother Cyrus's - until a soccer injury took him out of the sport that he loved. With a destroyed knee and unbearable pain, the pain medications he nursed an addiction for took his old friends away, bringing new ones into his circle - and CeCe's. With her brother angry and depressed, and her father allowing much-needed money to go for the drugs his son "needs," CeCe knows she'll have to take matters into her own hands if she wants to afford college classes after graduation.<br /><br />Surely Cyrus won't notice a few missing pills, and the money she gets from them goes for a good cause. But once Cyrus gets clean the people she sells to want more, and she knows how to get it from a doctor who likes money more than morals - but that means bringing drugs back into her brother's reach.<br /><br /><a class="rcptr" data-raflid="2071810b168" data-template="" data-theme="classic" [url="href="]href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b168/"[/url] id="rcwidget_5duvnya4" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><br /><script [url="src="]src="https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script><br[/url] /><br />

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2015/12/book-talk-giveaway-thicker-than-water.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2015/12/book-talk-giveaway-thicker-than-water.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


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The Saturday Slash

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 05 December 2015 · 75 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 />Frannie is a teenager struggling with Huntington's disease, often missing school, friendless, scared. Francesca, on the other hand, is a hunter and custodian of ancient magical artifacts. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">An explanation of what Huntington's is might be in order here. Most people aren't going to be familiar. A line or two will do.</span><br /><br />But Frannie and Francesca are the same girl.<br /><br />It all started the night her father died of the same hereditary disease. Whenever Frannie closes her eyes, she wakes up on the other side of the world as Francesca, journeying through ancient monuments, darting through booby traps and racing against the many villains who wish to use the magical relics for their own gain. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">So is she in the REAL world when she does these things, or a fantas world?</span><br /><br />As Frannie gradually loses her battle with HD, she finds herself traveling across the globe and spending more time as Francesca. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">You mean physically, emotionally, or mentally?</span> She wouldn't mind being Francesca forever, but her grieving mother and best friend make it hard for her to let go. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">What would it mean for her to be Francesca forever?</span> That's when she learns of the Cintamani Stone: The ancient wish stone hidden in a secret location in South East Asia. To save Frannie, Francesca must embark on her most dangerous adventure yet. Unless... she is just a figment of imagination in Frannie's down spiraling mind. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Good sinker.</span><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;"><br /></span>THE WISH STONE is a multicultural YA contemporary fantasy, complete at 60,000 words. STILL ALICE meets NARNIA, in which fairy tales and folklore help a teenage-girl's battle against Juvenile Onset Huntington's Disease.<br /><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;">Overall you've got a great base here. You need to get the explanatory notes above ironed out and I think you're in a good place.</span>

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2015/12/the-saturday-slash.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2015/12/the-saturday-slash.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


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Congrats To Our #PitchWars Mentee Kamerhe Lane!

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 04 December 2015 · 77 views

I'm so excited to announce that our #PitchWars mentee <a href="[url="https://twitter.com/KamerheLane"]https://twitter.com/KamerheLane[/url]" target="_blank">Kamerhe Lane</a> has signed with Adriann Ranta, of Foundry Literary!<br /><br />My Pitch Wars partner&nbsp;<a [url="href="]href="http://www.katekaryusquinn.com/"[/url] target="_blank">Kate Karyus Quinn</a> and I received almost 200 submissions when this year's contest began. We whittled them down over a period of days, found two manuscripts we wanted to work with, and dove in for the long haul of reading, re-writes, edits and emails.<br /><br />I don't regret the time I've given to PitchWars. It's been lovely to relive the first-time experiences of publishing through someone else - refreshing the PitchWars entry page, checking the clock to see if the agent phone call has happened yet, glancing at the phone at stop lights to see if there's an email update.<br /><br />Kamerhe is an amazing author, and her ms, THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOAN, is stellar!<br /><br />I'm so thrilled to play a part in getting this out there, and especially pleased that she is now my agency sister.<br /><br />Congrats, Kamerhe!

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2015/12/congrats-to-our-pitchwars-mentee.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2015/12/congrats-to-our-pitchwars-mentee.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


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Book Talk & Giveaway - HALF IN LOVE WITH DEATH by Emily Ross

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 04 December 2015 · 65 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/1433629061l/25679292.jpg"]https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1433629061l/25679292.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/1433629061l/25679292.jpg"[/url] width="216" /></a></div>When Caroline's troubled older sister disappears into the Tucson desert one night, everyone is quick to accuse her boyfriend Tony. But Caroline believes Jess has run off to California, lured by the eternal summers of 1960 and promises of flower children. With her parents too shattered to contribute much more than new kitchen curtains as a coping mechanism, Caroline decides to take matters into her own hands.<br /><br />Tony his own stories about what Jess wanted, and where she was headed that night, some of them dovetailing with what Caroline knows about her sister, and some not. Every time she meets with him to learn more, she finds herself staring a little longer into his blue eyes, and spending more time with the older group of kids her sister hung out with.<br /><br />With their own secret road trip to find Jess scheduled and her suitcase packed, Caroline tries to ignore her doubts - and all the stories she's heard about another blonde girl disappearing, who also had ties to Tony.&nbsp;Inspired by the disturbing case of Charles Schmid, ‘the Pied Piper of Tucson’ HALF IN LOVE WITH DEATH&nbsp;is a heartfelt thriller that never lets up.<br /><br /><a class="rcptr" data-raflid="2071810b167" data-template="" data-theme="classic" [url="href="]href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b167/"[/url] id="rcwidget_8orxjrol" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><br /><script [url="src="]src="https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script>[/url]

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2015/12/book-talk-giveaway-half-in-love-with.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2015/12/book-talk-giveaway-half-in-love-with.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


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Debut Author Emily Ross On Inspiration

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 01 December 2015 · 55 views

Inspiration is a funny thing. It can come to us like a lightning bolt, through the lyrics of a song, or in the fog of a dream. Ask any writer where their stories come from and you’ll get a myriad of answers, and in that vein I created the WHAT (What the Hell Are you Thinking?) interview. Always including in the WHAT is one random question to really dig down into the interviewees mind, and probably supply some illumination into my own as well.<br /><br />Today's guest for the WHAT is <a href="[url="http://www.emilyrosswrites.com/about/"]http://www.emilyrosswrites.com/about/[/url]" target="_blank">Emily Ross</a>, author of HALF IN LOVE WITH DEATH, for which she received a 2014 Massachusetts Cultural Council finalist award in fiction. Her fiction and nonfiction have been published in Boston Magazine, Menda City Review, and The Smoking Poet. She is an editor and contributor at <a [url="href="]href="http://deaddarlings.com/"[/url] target="_blank">Dead Darlings</a>, a website dedicated to discussing the craft of novel writing. She attended Sarah Lawrence College and the University of Massachusetts Boston, and is a 2012 graduate of Grub Street’s Novel Incubator program.<br /><br /><b>Ideas for our books can come from just about anywhere, and sometimes even we can’t pinpoint exactly how or why. Did you have a specific origin point for your book?&nbsp;</b><br /><br />Yes I do. I was having trouble plotting my novel when my sister suggested I turn to a true crime for inspiration and not just any crime. She confided in me that when she was 12 she’d been obsessed with the case of Charles Schmid, ‘the Pied Piper of Tucson.’ Schmid was a charismatic young man who murdered three teenage girls, and buried them in the Arizona desert. Two of his victims were sisters. I was surprised to be hearing about this crime that took place in the sixties, for the first time now from my own sister. I had to look deeper into this case.<br /><br />I learned that Schmid had been very popular with Tucson teens and had lots of girlfriends. Some of the material about him read more like an episode of Gossip Girl, than the thoughts of a serial killer. Photos from an old Life Magazine article from 1966 showed him to be a handsome guy who didn’t look like a murderer. In fact he didn’t look all that different from kids I’d hung out with in high school. One of the many aspects of this case that disturbed me was that some of Schmid’s friends had known about the murders and didn’t tell anyone. I began thinking about how little I understood about my own friends as a teen, and how blindly I’d counted on love to solve everything. Slowly a story emerged about secrets, lies, and a girl who falls for someone who may not be what he seems.<br /><br /><b>Once the original concept existed, how did you build a plot around it?&nbsp;</b><br /><br />Researching this crime gave me a broad arc for my story and a sense of events that could happen. It also helped me to develop my main characters. I decided to tell the story from the point of view of a girl whose older sister goes missing, and based my protagonist loosely on Wendy Fritz, Schmid’s youngest victim. I was drawn to a photo I found of her. She looked so innocent and uncertain, and reminded me of myself at that age. Other than this photo though there was almost no information on her. Ultimately this turned out to be a good thing because it freed me to tell a story that was quite different from the case. But I didn’t leave my original concept entirely behind. I wove many details from the crime into my book, sometimes without even realizing it.<br /><br /><b>Have you ever had the plot firmly in place, only to find it changing as the story moved from your mind to paper?&nbsp;</b><br /><br />I usually don’t start with the plot firmly in place. I wish I did. Rather I have a vague idea of the major plot points and the ending, but things change a lot as I write a draft. I’m okay with that as long as I keep heading in the right general direction. But revising my novel was a painful process with lots of wrong turns. For my next novel I’d like to have the plot firmly in place before I start. We’ll see…<br /><br /><b>Do story ideas come to you often, or is fresh material hard to come by?&nbsp;</b><br /><br />A lot of vague story ideas float through my mind but they’re more like bits of a story, a line, an image, a voice. Sometimes when I write it feels like I'm making a collage out of all these little pieces of things. I have to figure out what connects them and how they fit together, but I usually don't start to see the connections until I’m well into a draft. Even then I stumble around in the dark hoping that a story will emerge from all the bits and pieces. The strange thing is that it often does.<br /><br /><b>How do you choose which story to write next, if you’ve got more than one percolating?</b><br /><br />I’m pretty indecisive so choosing what to write next is hard for me. Right now I have two novel ideas bouncing around in my head. One is about a teenage girl who aspires to be a video game designer. It will require a lot of research, since I don’t even play video games. The other is about dance teams, something I’m a little more familiar with. To help myself decide I often just start writing to see if the idea holds my interest. If I find myself writing lots of pages, that’s usually the story I choose to write next. If that doesn’t work I have also been known to arbitrarily choose one of my ideas and force myself to stick with it for a while to see if I can make it work.<br /><br /><b>Sometimes the perfect word eludes me. If I can’t come up with it in the moment I usually write something in ALL CAPS like A GREAT WORD HERE and move on to catch it later in revision. Do you roll with the flow, or go find that word right away</b>?<br /><br />I’m a bit obsessive so I try to find the word right away. I look it up in an online thesaurus or Google things like word for [fill in vague phrase]. But I rarely find the perfect word that way so then I do my best to roll with flow (difficult as that is), and add a comment in my draft that says, COME BACK. Usually the word will come to me later when I’m in the shower or at the grocery store or in some other awkward situation that makes it difficult to write it down.<br /><br />Look for a giveaway of HALF IN LOVE WITH DEATH on Friday!<br /><div><br /></div>

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2015/12/debut-author-emily-ross-on-inspiration.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2015/12/debut-author-emily-ross-on-inspiration.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


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#PitchWars Critique - BURNING HOPE

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 23 November 2015 · 68 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 />Only the Godless may live while the rest of the world burns, but seventeen-year-old Ella Shepard refuses to let hope burn with it.<br /><br />After the God war anyone left believing in a deity was branded a Witch and banished from the city Sanctuary. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">possibly vague wording here -- is the city named Sanctuary, or is there a sanctuary within the city?</span>&nbsp;Paranoid the Witches <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Again, confusion - is Paranoid the name of a group?</span>&nbsp;are planning a revolt <span style="color: #6aa84f;">against who?&nbsp;</span>, Chief Pierceson <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Is this a government leader? A police enforcer?</span>&nbsp;sends his army of Crusaders to kill and burn anyone found outside the city, except the children. Anyone under seventeen is brainwashed and turned into his army of Crusaders, a punishment worse than death. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">But why banish them if they were going to kill them in the first place? Now they have to hunt them down...</span><br /><br />Born outside the city, Ella spends her life running and hiding from the Crusaders, but she’s always had her family by her side. When the soulless <span style="color: #6aa84f;">like&nbsp;actually soulless? or just really mean people?</span>&nbsp;army kills her parents and takes her younger sister to turn into a heartless killer like them, she will have to decide: follow her family’s original plan to find an underground city of safety or go to the one place she promised to never enter to save her sister’s soul before it’s too late. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">You need a question mark here. And we need&nbsp;to know&nbsp;more about the soul issue. Are the Crusaders truly and actually soulless? Or is this more a&nbsp;metaphorical statement?</span><br /><br />Along the way, a fire-scarred Crusader saves her life making her question everything her parents told her about the merciless soldiers. A boy with a hero complex <span style="color: #6aa84f;">is this the same person as the Crusader?</span> decides he’s going to protect her, even if she doesn’t want it. And Ella will face her inner demons, discovering how easy it is to turn into the very people she hates. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">We need to know&nbsp;more about that - sounds like there's an inner conflict at work here too, but it's just tossed on at the end.</span><br /><br /><b>First Page:</b><br /><br />Tina and I sneak out of the dilapidated <span style="color: #6aa84f;">that's a big word to toss out in the first sentence</span> cottage as the sun begins to rise, making our way to the river where I can work on Tina’s fighting skills without our parents’ knowledge. Against my better judgment, I wear the white dress Mom made for my birthday. &nbsp;<span style="color: #6aa84f;">Yeah&nbsp;that seems flat out silly - 1) fighting in a dress 2) a new white one&nbsp;</span>The soft fabric slides over my skin, blossoming out from my waist and tickling my leg just above my knee where the lacy trim ends. I promise myself I’m going to be good today. The dress will still be glowing like an angel’s gown when I take it off tonight. As usual it’s a promise I break. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Unless there's a&nbsp;real plot reason for her to be wearing this&nbsp;dress, it should go.</span><br /><br />“Is this how I should stand?” Tina asks from the rocky embankment as I stand knee deep in the murky river with a fishing pole in my hand. I look over at her words.<br /><br />“Almost. Bend your knees a little bit more and spread your feet further apart.”<br /><br />“Like this?”<br /><br />“Yeah just like that,” I say paying attention to the water. “Keep doing that.” The line tightens on the pole. I’ve caught something. I reel it in. It takes a lot of energy to get it near me. Whatever it is, it’s big. I hope it tastes good. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Lots of choppy sentences here, an it's all telling after the first line or so.</span><br /><br />“Did you catch one?” Tina asks. “Mom’s going to be so proud of us when she sees what we’ve done.” <span style="color: #6aa84f;">This dialogue doesn't feel organic.</span><br /><br />I stare at the muddy object swinging in front of my face. “Yeah. I don’t think Mom’s going to be proud we caught an old boot for breakfast,” I say back. Tina grunts in response. I look back to see her squatting with her face scrunched up. “What are you doing?” I laugh.<br /><br />“You told me this is how I should stand.”<br /><br />“You look like you’re straining to poop.” I’m still laughing with hands on my knees, trying not to fall into the water. “Bring your butt in and bend your knees a little less.”<br /><br />Tina doesn’t find my laughter or her situation funny. “You said you were going to teach me to fight.” <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Decent question, since it's hard to teach&nbsp;someone to fight while you're fishing.</span>&nbsp;She breaks the pose, placing one hand on her hip.<br /><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;">Right now I'd say this ms is starting in&nbsp;the wrong place. I don't&nbsp;have a sense of place, or genre from this first page. I'm also not being pulled in because the MC is making silly decisions (wearing a new, white dress to fish and teach&nbsp;her&nbsp;sister to fight), and it feels like there's nothing at stake here in the opening. These could be any sisters, in just about any setting. Get voice, genre-feel, and some kind of&nbsp;indication&nbsp;of&nbsp;what's going on from the&nbsp;beginning.</span>

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2015/11/pitchwars-critique-burning-hope.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2015/11/pitchwars-critique-burning-hope.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


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The Saturday Slash

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 21 November 2015 · 72 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 /><div style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: normal;"><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; font-size: 12pt;">All her life, Kaliyah has trained to graduate from the Dráko</span><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; font-size: 12pt;">n Akademie, a school for dragon slayers. After all, a girl doesn’t have much choice when her father is a General.&nbsp;</span></div><div style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: normal;"><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; font-size: 12pt;"><br /></span></div><div style="line-height: normal;"><span style="font-family: Times New Roman, serif; font-size: small;">Outside the Colony walls, the battle to control magic wages on, dragons against humans, but inside the Colony walls, laws against magic have separated its people. Here, Kaliyah meets an infuriatingly troublesome prodigy who poses a threat to everything she’s worked towards. When she makes a deal with him </span><span style="color: #6aa84f;"><span style="font-family: Times New Roman, serif; font-size: small;">it might be good to&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: Times New Roman, serif;">name</span><span style="font-family: Times New Roman, serif; font-size: small;">&nbsp;this male character in the&nbsp;query if he's a&nbsp;significant plot point</span></span><span style="font-family: Times New Roman, serif; font-size: small;">, she discovers the dragons aren’t the only ones with stokers and scales. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">As a person who is not well-versed in dragons, I don't know what a stoker is.</span>&nbsp;Delving deeper into the magic the Akademie forbids, Kaliyah’s forced to acknowledge a burning secret she can no longer ignore—the desire to never slay again. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">What does her&nbsp;research and the magic have to do with this&nbsp;desire?&nbsp;</span></span></div><div style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: normal;"><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; font-size: 12pt;"><br /></span></div><div style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: normal;"><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; font-size: 12pt;">So when Kaliyah tarnishes her family’s legacy and breaks Akademie code by freeing a Stoker dragon, she learns the true meaning of&nbsp;<em>Akademie Above All.</em>&nbsp;The more secrets Kaliyah uncovers—the Akademie’s history, the reason behind the quarantine of slayer recruits, and the oppression of magic—the more Kaliyah realizes becoming an Akademie General one day is the furthest from her goals.</span></div><div style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: normal;"><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; font-size: 12pt;"><br /></span></div><div style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: normal;"><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; font-size: 12pt;">Now she must decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice: save herself from certain exile by swearing her soul to the Akademie or defend her faith in magic…at the risk of losing her life.</span></div><div style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: normal;"><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; font-size: 12pt;"><br /></span></div><div style="line-height: normal;"><span style="color: #6aa84f;"><span style="font-family: Times New Roman, serif; font-size: small;">This is&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: Times New Roman, serif;">actually</span><span style="font-family: Times New Roman, serif; font-size: small;">&nbsp;well written and quite good. The main plot&nbsp;</span></span><span style="color: #6aa84f; font-family: Times New Roman, serif;">point is clear, but what we need to know is what makes this book different from the others that already exist? A reluctant child of an&nbsp;ideology's leader who discovers something dark about her group isn't exactly a new&nbsp;story - give us&nbsp;details. What's at work here that separates this from every&nbsp;other novel that uses that storyline?</span></div>

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Book Talk: CONVERSION by Katherine Howe

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 20 November 2015 · 75 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/1381742575l/18667792.jpg"]https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1381742575l/18667792.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/1381742575l/18667792.jpg"[/url] width="212" /></a></div>Colleen knows pressure. At St. Joan's - an all girl academy where only the best and the brightest of New England's young women get in - it's a constant. And senior year will bring things to a boiling point when queen bee Clara suddenly develops tics in the middle of class. Seeing Clara rolling on the floor and sputtering nonsense is disquieting, but Colleen knows better than to let her focus slip - she's got a Harvard interview coming up... and blowing it is not an option.<br /><br />But when a second girl is felled by the mystery disease, a third loses all of her hair, and a fourth beings spitting up pins, the events at St. Joan's finally has Colleen's attention - and the nation's. Parents and reporters are demanding to know what's going on at the elite school, and Colleen starts receiving mysterious texts urging her to read <i>The Crucible</i> if she wants to understand St. Joan's Mystery Illness. Some research leads Colleen to the realization that her hometown was once known as Salem Village... a place where another group of girls suffered mysteriously 300 years ago.<br /><br /><a class="rcptr" data-raflid="2071810b165" data-template="" data-theme="classic" [url="href="]href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b165/"[/url] id="rcwidget_s9dy5iey" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><br /><script src="//widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script>

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#PitchWars Critique: SUFFER THE CHILDREN

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 16 November 2015 · 35 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 />My 42,000-word novel <span style="color: #6aa84f;">word count isn't long enough to be called a novel,&nbsp;technically - refer to this&nbsp;<a [url="href="]href="http://literaticat.blogspot.com/2011/05/wordcount-dracula.html"[/url] target="_blank">awesome&nbsp;word count post</a> from agent Jennifer Laughran</span>&nbsp;"Suffer the Children" is the opening volume in a series <span style="color: #6aa84f;">it's extremely difficult&nbsp;to&nbsp;launch a series as a debut. You're better off having a standalone with series potential. Also, given that your word count is&nbsp;very well, particular for your genre, I'm&nbsp;guessing all the volumes could be collapsed into one.</span>&nbsp;called "Voiceless Screaming." This thrilling story of speculative fiction with mild flavors of fantasy and science fiction was inspired by Frank Peretti's "This Present Darkness" and the Discworld series by the late Terry Pratchett.<br /><br />Lux is a high-ranking employee of The Agency, a <span style="background-color: #6aa84f;">mysterious</span> group with subversive goals led by an <span style="background-color: #6aa84f;">enigmatic</span> <span style="color: #6aa84f;">lots of adjectives at work here</span> person only referred to as "The Caller." Lux lost her partner Michael over 45 years ago to a religious zealot, Father. Lux has not dealt with her feelings for her former partner, or her anger at Father. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Because you queried me as a PitchWars mentor, and I only accept YA, I assume this is a YA story? But you're opening your query with a character that is over 45?</span><br /><br />Micah Solomon is the 13-year-old child of Father, the religious leader of the Frontier. Father commands a small contingent of Hybrid Children - acolytes that develop a hive mentality to the priest shortly after indoctrination. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">But what does this actually mean in terms of the story?</span>&nbsp;Father wants to bring Micah completely into his <span style="color: #6aa84f;">errant punctuation&nbsp;</span>'flock. Father does not tolerate dissent, and commands absolute obedience. There is also this strange behavior with his eyes. His glow red, and after initiation to his cult, the Hybrid Children possess one blue eye that sometimes glow. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Why?&nbsp;</span>Father's Frontier is a dark and creepy place, where horrible acts are still regarded as negative only because people try to look away from Father's wrath. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">I&nbsp;don't understand what that&nbsp;sentence is trying to say.</span><br /><br />Voiceless Screaming follows both Lux and Micah as they learns the truth behind father, what his plans are. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">comma not period&nbsp;</span>and his eventual change into someone known as The Gattler. "Voiceless Screaming" is told by two narrators: Gattler opens every chapter, and the Agents (Mick and The Rookie) relates the events. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">So neither one of the characters that you introduced in the query is a narrator? Who are these people?</span>&nbsp;At the end of "Suffer the Children," Micah finds himself in the real world <span style="color: #6aa84f;">So we weren't in the real world before?</span>, which creates a whole new series of questions with few precious answers. Lux will come to grips with her past, and in Micah, will find a new lease on life.<br /><br />Diversity is a concern of mine, but it is not germane to this specific story, but will be introduced later. &nbsp;<span style="color: #6aa84f;">Not relevant - you need to sell what's on the plate now in this story, not what might be coming up.&nbsp;</span>Micah is Jewish by way of his birth mother Elthea. Many characters in the story are white, but a majority of the important cast members are non-European in ethnicity. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Confused on this point if it&nbsp;isn't set in our world in the first place.</span>&nbsp;Another factor that is not germane, but important to me, is that Micah is asexual and does not experience aesthetic or romantic attraction in conventional ways.<br /><br />"Suffer the Children" has elements of violence towards the innocent, thrilling races against time, and makes a person ask a basic question: who are my real friends? <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Which doesn't come across in the above query at all. I really have no idea what the plot is, except that&nbsp;there is a bad guy who sometimes has red eyes, he wants Micah in his group, and there's an older woman who is angry with him. I don't know what's at stake for anyone.</span><br /><br />I am submitting both the Prologue and the first chapter. The latter alone certainly helps build the world, it is best supplemented by the Prologue. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Prologues generally are considered a no-no in publishing.</span><br /><br /><b>1st Page:</b><br /><b><br /></b>She relied on the bartender to keep the vodka coming. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Again, if this is YA, you probably can't open in a bar.&nbsp;</span>The bar was probably 3 <span style="color: #6aa84f;">spell out</span>&nbsp;years overdue for revarnishing, and the woman pouring drinks didn’t know the difference between Glenfidditch, Maker’s Mark, and Jack, but she <span style="color: #6aa84f;">who is she?</span> loved this bar. She was there when the building inspector wanted to condemn the place and the owner – a stout ‘gentleman’ in his late 70s – offered said inspector a <span style="background-color: #6aa84f;">bottle </span>on Balvenie 21 as a ‘gift’ to ignore the structural problems. She still loved this bar.<br /><br />She spent years in this place. Sooner or later the bartender Janet would ask her why she never seemed to age a day, or could down thousands of dollars in booze and not keel over.<br /><br />Noticing that the customer finished a <span style="background-color: #6aa84f;">bottle</span> of Smirnoff <span style="color: #6aa84f;">again, this is loaded with alcohol already. If this is YA, that's not happening&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;and dropped another $45, Janet prepared another <span style="background-color: #6aa84f;">bottle</span>. Grabbing the cash next to it – more than enough to pay for another <span style="background-color: #6aa84f;">bottle</span> and tip, she was quickly losing her patience with her most reliable customer. “Ya know ya ain’t gonna find yer answer in this <span style="background-color: #6aa84f;">bottle</span> of vodka.” Up until this moment, the Lux loved this bar. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Ok so Lux is "she?" We needed&nbsp;to know this sooner. Lots of echoes of "bottle" here and also the repeated concept of her loving this bar - again, if this is YA, it's not working.</span><br /><br /><br />The woman looked up at Janet and tucked a lock of blonde hair behind her ear. “If not this one, then I’ll find it in the next one.” She was not in the mood to talk – part of why she used to love this bar. Janet originally tried asking her questions when she first came there, but when she didn’t reply but kept overpaying for medium-tier vodka, she left this visitor <span style="color: #6aa84f;">why not "her"?</span>&nbsp;alone. That was almost 15 years ago. An errant thought crossed her mind; she could feel her boss’ influence. She tried to push that out. A futile effort on her part.<br /><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;">Is this the prologue or the first chapter? Either way, if this is a YA (and I assume it is since you sent it to me as a YA PitchWars mentor, then you aren't going to get anywhere&nbsp;opening in a bar with a 50+ protagonist.&nbsp;</span>

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