Sunday, July 17, 2011

Another contest...really? YEP

An awesome contest from Brenda Drake.  Her book club, a group of young adults, will be reading our 35 word pitch and the first 250 words of our novel.  They will choose which one they would pick in a book store.  How awesome is that? oh wait, it gets better.  The winner gets a 10 page critique plus synopsis critique from Cassandra Marshall.  Wow, right? Well, wish me luck and as always thanks for you
r feed back.

Keeping the secret of becoming a faery warrior wasn’t helping Liz get what she wanted: new friends, a boyfriend and her first kiss.
First Page:
Title: “In Irons”
Genre/Wordcount: YA Fantasy 60,000 words
In the coolness of the summer night, Liz Kavanagh crossed her backyard, trailing uncertainly behind her mother. Her heart beat faster with each step. Sure, it was her thirteenth birthday, and she was excited to hear that a surprise was waiting for her. But the party and the presents had been more than enough, and she found it strange that her mom had stopped her just as she was going to bed and led her outside. What kind of surprise would be out here, anyway, near the tree-lined edge of their property?
Her mother’s ivory skin seemed to glow faintly in the moonlight. Liz’s confusion grew as they drew closer to the cliff’s edge, and she concentrated on the comforting sound of the waves rolling onto the shore below. Her mom offered a gentle, reassuring smile as she stopped beside the largest oak, the one Liz’s little sister loved to climb.
Liz watched, wide-eyed, as the tree began to sway, and then shudder. The bark sank inward in spots, forming a rectangular seam. Then a section of the trunk just...swung open. The blackness inside looked dense and impenetrable. Instinctively, Liz reached for her mom. But her shock was so intense that, by the time her arm obeyed her brain’s command, her mother had already stepped through this bizarre doorway and was signaling for Liz to follow.
“Come now, love, and don’t be afraid, ” her mother whispered. “They’re all waiting for you.”

Don't forget to go to the other participants and give them your feedback. 
Thanks Everyone


  1. Excellent! I'm not one for fantasy in general but this drew me right in.

    Loved your logline. (I had so much trouble with mine :()

    My only real suggestion is that the use of "her mom" is somewhat distancing. We know who's POV we're in and a simple "Mom" might place us more inside Liz's head.

  2. I LOVE your logline. Your excerpt is really smooth and written well. My only question is why a 13-year old would have NO IDEA there's a secret door to a faery world in her backyard? I think she'd probably have seen something at some point or at least been suspicious. Maybe I was too precocious at 13? :)

  3. Great log line! And nice excerpt! There's a lot of description here - watch the excessive use of adverbs and adjectives, but what I'd like you to do is get me more inside this chick's head. Really put me there as a reader. Don't tell me she's confused - show me.

    Overall very intriguing and I would definitely read more!

    PS - just a final thought. Most kids are reading UP these days. With the age of your protag, I think this would make a very cool MG fantasy. Most YA protags tend to be at least 16. Just sayin.

    Hope this helps!

  4. I love your pitch and the excerpt is awesome! I tend to agree w/Alison above. Could you maybe age your protag so she's of the YA range? You'd hit a wider demographic that way. :)

  5. I really like the pitch! Now, I'm not a writer, just a reader so the only thing that threw me off was the word "property." If the first paragraph is supposed to be Liz's thoughts, the word seems too grown-up. Maybe another word like "back yard" would be more appropriate? Just food for thought. :)

  6. Awesome excerpt! I definitely wanted to walk through that door with her and find out what was going on!

    Good luck in the contest!

  7. The description is great in this excerpt. It paints the scene well. I have to agree with Kaya, some of the MC's thoughts seem too grown up for a thirteen year old. Maybe a little more show and little less tell. But, all that said, I want to read more and find out what happens inside that tree.