9/11/2012

GUTGAA'S PITCH POLISH

Hi everyone!

Since my entry didn't make into the pitch polish over at GUTGAA, I thought I'd post it over here and see if I could get your thoughts on my query and first 150 words! Thanks so much and a thousand virtual cookies to everyone!  

Query:

During her coming of age ceremony, sixteen-years-old Daela finds out she's cursed—she has no magic in her. While her friends touched Hel's ancient scroll and received their Gift, Daela's Sigil remained stubbornly blank. Still, she never expected her father to disown her, or her brother to refuse to help her. And in a world that begrudges her the air she breathes, they might as well have signed her death sentence.

When her brother is taken by an enemy long forgotten, she's the only witness—but no one believes her. After all, everyone knows the Daci are imprisoned in a desert realm, and Daela's the cursed girl from the slums no one would touch with a stick.
The only one who doesn't dismiss her as a raving maniac is Ash, her brother's favorite smuggler, sometimes friend, and the jerk who'd stolen her first kiss. Ash is reluctant to wade blindly into danger, but living on the street had long since destroyed any qualms Daela had about blackmail.

Now Daela must infiltrate the Daci's world, save her brother's traitorous behind, and find a way to warn her people that the Daci are coming. But when the truth about her stolen Gift comes to light, Daela isn't even sure who the bad guys are anymore.


THE GIRL IN THE MIRROR is a YA fantasy complete at 70,000 words. [Credentials here]

Thank you for your time.



First 150:

"Your roomie looks like she's two minutes away from stabbing that guy."

I fumbled with the glass I was drying. "What?"

"Or puking on him." Kemal cocked his head. "Maybe both."

I followed his gaze to Naji, her tray held precariously on one hand while she tried to fend off the hand pawing at her thigh. Her expression was hard to see through the smoke from the burning mischi, but the brittle line of her shoulders didn't bode well.

"Shit."

"Don't do anything stupid," he said. "She can take care of herself."

While Naji's touch of the Charm Gift wasn't strong enough to force anyone to do her bidding—not even the annoying dog that kept barking under our window at all hours of the day— she normally would have no trouble getting rid of unwanted attention.

"No, she can't," I said. "Not this time."

4 comments:

  1. Virtual cookies? But those are my favourite kind! Okay, edits are in CAPS.

    During her coming of age ceremony, sixteen-years[SHOULD BE 'YEAR']-old Daela finds out she's cursed—she has no magic in her[THIS SENTENCE FEELS A LITTLE SEGMENTED. MAYBE START WITH WHO, THEN WHAT, THEN WHERE.]. While her friends [MAYBE INSERT 'HAVE' HERE] touched Hel's ancient scroll and received their Gift, Daela's Sigil remained stubbornly blank[OKAY, WE DON'T KNOW WHAT A SIGIL IS, SO WE'RE NOT SURE WHY IT BEING BLANK IS A BAD THING]. Still, she never expected her father to disown her, or her brother to refuse to help her. And in a world that begrudges her the air she breathes, they might as well have signed her death sentence.

    [IMHO, I DON'T THINK YOU NEED THIS WHLE FIRST PARAGRAPH. START WITH THE SECOND ONE, WHERE THE ACTION HAPPENS.]

    When her brother is taken by an enemy long forgotten, she's the only witness—but no one believes her. After all, everyone knows the Daci are imprisoned in a desert realm [WHOEVER'S READING THIS QUERY DOESN'T 'KNOW' THAT. MAYBE REWORD THAT PART], and Daela's the cursed girl from the slums no one would touch with a stick. The only one who doesn't dismiss her as a raving maniac is Ash, her brother's favorite smuggler, sometimes friend, and the jerk who'd stolen her first kiss [THIS IS GREAT DESCRIPTION]. Ash is reluctant to wade blindly into danger, but living on the street had ['HAS' QUERIES ARE ALWAYS WRITTEN IN PRESENT TENSE] long since destroyed any qualms Daela had ['HAS'] about blackmail.

    Now Daela must infiltrate the Daci's world, save her brother's traitorous behind, and find a way to warn her people that the Daci are coming. But when the truth about her stolen Gift comes to light, Daela isn't even sure who the bad guys are anymore. [GOOD.]


    The last two paragraphs of this query are good and strong. I'd consider eliminating the first one as it's not really needed. You tell us she's cursed in all three paragraphs so the query still works without it. There are just a few tense issues (something I ALWAYS have trouble picking up in my own work) that you need to smooth out and then I think your query is good to go.

    Also I really like your first 150 words. It tells us a lot about the characters in a short time by only word of warning is starting on dialog. It makes it a little harder for your audience to get what's going on straight away. I'm still not entirely sure whether they're at a part, chilling with a small group of friends, or her friend just has some guy over. I'm sure you go on to mention it but some clarity would make the 150 words tighter.

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  3. the query is strong but I feel like the voice in the first paragraph doesn't match the rest of the query. The last two are more witty and filled with personality, but the first is just giving us an overview.

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  4. I like the concept, but I have to agree with the first two commenters about your opening paragraph. The first sentence should read, sixteen year old Daela (not sixteen years old, Daela). The second part of that same sentence is a little jumbled and unclear. The part about touching Hel's ancient scroll is confusing as well. The remainder of the first paragraph is good, but can not stand alone without the first part which needs some work.

    Your second paragraph is strong, full of action and conflict and might be a better place to begin your query. I love your description of her brother- you nailed that. It shows your unique voice and makes me want to read your story. Your third paragraph is also strong and grabs me as a reader.

    I love your first 150 words. I especially like that you opened with strong dialogue that hints to immediate conflict. You have written an amazing first line.

    Just my opinion and I am not published so I really lack the credentials to offer a critique, but I hope it helps.

    I am a new follower from GUTTGA.

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