Monday, February 20, 2017

3. Moonstruck: YA Fantasy

3.
Title: Moonstruck
Category and Genre: YA fantasy
Word Count: 74,000

Query:
The gods have prophesied annihilation to Moriah’s sunless, seaside village.
Moriah has one lunar cycle left until her world is destroyed, unless her village provides a worthy sacrifice. She has never condoned violent rituals, but when her high priest, Mercury, chooses the boy she loves to die as an offering, she sets out on a quest to overpower him.
Aided only by her best friend, Moriah seeks to become the next priestess and garner sacred magic to defeat Mercury. But even if she rescues the boy she loves from Mercury’s wrath, she must still appease the gods with an ultimate sacrifice.

First 250 Words:
As I climb Mount Halex, I look out at my sparkling village and wish I could save it.
I’ve explored it all as a gatherer. From the glowing seaside shrubs to our thick forests enchanted with sacred light. I’ve swum in the crushing presence of the gods’ magic my entire life.
But I’ve never climbed this mountain, clinging to ropes that threaten to snap. I’ve never risked my life to gather the sacred zyca fruits.
All I can do is try to breathe through the suffocating cold, and remember what it feels like to be warm. Larah climbs next to me, groaning with every pull upward. I imagine her hands are dry and cracked like mine. Our work gloves are too slick for climbing, and without them, my blood pools up around the rope and stains it. I’ll leave my mark on this mountain, one way or another.
I can’t hear much over the wind, but Larah’s breath is ragged. She seems so delicate here. Small frame, small arms, small hands. Not many know her true power. Her true ferocity.
“We’re almost there,” I shout, hoping I’m right. The wind impossibly roars louder and any hope of conversation dies.
Death.
               It’s a word that means less every day. I’ve always known about the Prophecy, but sometimes it doesn’t feel real. Still, I can hardly glance at the moon. I don’t want it to know how much I miss the sunlight—that yellow glow and warmth.

5 comments:

  1. I'm posting these for Elsie. My feedback will follow later.

    Your query is on the right track. More fleshing out with details and amping up the tension will get you where you want to be. I threw in some questions and thoughts as I read. Hope they help. Best of luck.

    Query:
    After the gods prophesied annihilation to(of) Moriah’s sunless, seaside village, only one lunar cycle remains until her world is destroyed. (how old is Moriah?) Their only chance at salvation rests on her village’s ability to provide a worthy sacrifice. (name of village?)
    Moriah has never condoned the violent rituals (of her people or violent rituals in general? ), but when her (the?) high priest, Mercury, chooses the boy she loves to die as the offering, she sets out on a quest to overpower him. (does she also want to save the village another way?I think you should move up the part about becoming the next priestess. )
    Aided only by her best friend, Moriah seeks to become the next priestess and garner sacred magic to defeat Mercury. What will she have to do in order to achieve this? Sounds like time is not on her side J What kind of magic? Can the magic also defeat the gods so they wont burn her village? But even if she rescues the boy she loves from Mercury’s wrath, she must still appease the gods with an ultimate sacrifice. And what will that be? Is there a bigger what if?


    First 250 Words:
    As I climb Mount Halex, I look out at my sparkling village and wish I could save it.
    From the glowing seaside shrubs to our thick forests enchanted with sacred light, I’ve explored it all as a gatherer.. (Another detail about the village she loves could be nice since the next sentence is dark J?) And I’ve swum in the crushing presence of the gods’ magic my entire life.
    But I’ve never climbed this mountain. (separate into new thought?clinging to ropes that threaten to snap. I’ve never risked my life to gather the sacred zyca fruits.(So why is she doing this now? The impending deadline? Need a little clarity here to understand the plight?)
    All I can do is try to breathe through the suffocating cold, and remember what it feels like to be warm. (is the air thinner? Cooler? Or does the temperature have to do with the god’s judgment?) (my best friend, my sister? Who is Larah?) Larah climbs next to me, groaning with every pull upward. (Did she come by choice? ) I imagine her hands are dry and cracked like mine. Our work gloves are too slick for climbing, and without them, my blood pools up around the rope and stains it. I’ll leave my mark on this mountain, one way or another. (I like this reference – leaves me wondering why she’s climbing)
    I can’t hear much over the wind, but Larah’s breath is ragged. She seems so delicate here. Small frame, small arms, small hands. Not many know her true power. Her true ferocity. (Is she shy? Why don’t others know? It sounds almost protective and I like the vibe but want to understand why.)
    “We’re almost there,” I shout, hoping I’m right. The wind impossibly roars (louder – needed?) and any hope of conversation dies.
    Death. (I feel like I need a transition to this next part. Is the view triggering her thought? What’s the segue?
    It’s a word that means less every day. I’ve always known about the Prophecy, but sometimes it doesn’t feel real. Still, I can hardly glance at the moon. I don’t want it to know how much I miss the sunlight—that yellow glow and warmth.

    I like the start of the story and your use of details. I had a few questions and thoughts as I read, so I added it to the text. Good stuff!!

    All opinions/suggestions/thoughts are humbly offered. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Whenever I give feedback, I’m not telling you what to do with your story or query. I’m only offering suggestions for how I would change it if it were mine. In the end, no one knows their story as well as the writer, and as such, it is up to the writer how to take any suggestions. Good luck, and it was a privilege having all of you on my blog!

    Query:

    I find that I am intrigued by the query. It’s very short, but that sometimes works. In this case, I would like to know a little bit more. I like the conflict, but I want to know how she plans to overthrow the current priest. It seems like that might need to be explained a little more because it’s fairly generic at this point. I do like the stakes (nicely done), and I like that her whole village is at risk. I do want to know more about the main character as we don’t even have an age.

    First 250:

    Your first page is good. I have one bit of a quibble. You let us know that she’s a gatherer. I found that particular term to be interesting because that’s what an anthropologist would call someone who doesn’t hunt or farm. I doubt that’s what a person in the act of gathering food would call it. I suspect she’d call it work or feeding her family. If gatherer means something else in your story, I do apologize, but it can be difficult with just 250 words.

    This is very engaging and I was disappointed to get to the end of the sample. Good luck, and I hope this helps.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's great to know! In this case, she collects food and cooks it. They have hunters, too :)

      Delete

  3. Query:
    The gods have prophesied annihilation to Moriah’s sunless, seaside village.
    Moriah has one lunar cycle left until her world is destroyed, unless her village provides a worthy sacrifice. She has never condoned violent rituals, but when her high priest, Mercury, chooses the boy she loves to die as an offering, she sets out on a quest to overpower him. (How old is Moriah? I know she loves her home...she loves a boy...she wants to save her home. Good set up.)
    Aided only by her best friend, Moriah seeks to become the next priestess (How? By killing Mercury? By defeating him in a game?) and garner sacred magic to defeat Mercury (What magic? What does she have to do to get it?). But even if she rescues the boy she loves from Mercury’s wrath, she must still appease the gods with an ultimate sacrifice. (A bit more at the end...show me the obstacles she faces, she me the moment she faces a choice...The stakes...dude, save her love, but then have to condemn someone else to death or lose her love. Suck.

    First 250 Words:
    As I climb Mount Halex, I look out at my sparkling village and wish I could save it. (How does it sparkle? I am imagining a sunny day...though your query says sunless... Love that she wishes she could save it. Makes me know something is wrong...or going to happen. What other description? Sights? Sounds? Smells? What's the weather like?)
    I’ve explored it all as a gatherer. From the glowing seaside shrubs to our thick forests enchanted with sacred light (Sacred how? Light from where?). I’ve swum in the crushing presence of the gods’ magic my entire life.
    But I’ve never climbed this mountain, clinging to ropes that threaten to snap. (Oh, like climbing climbing, not just hiking!) I’ve never risked my life to gather the sacred zyca fruits. (Why risk it now?)
    All I can do is try to breathe through the suffocating cold, and remember what it feels like to be warm. Larah climbs next to me, groaning with every pull upward. I imagine her hands are dry and cracked like mine. Our work gloves are too slick for climbing, and without them, my blood pools up around the rope and stains it. I’ll leave my mark on this mountain, one way or another. (Ow.)
    I can’t hear much over the wind, but Larah’s breath is ragged. She seems so delicate here. Small frame, small arms, small hands. Not many know her true power. Her true ferocity.
    “We’re almost there,” I shout, hoping I’m right. The wind impossibly roars louder and any hope of conversation dies.
    Death.
    It’s a word that means less every day. I’ve always known about the Prophecy, but sometimes it doesn’t feel real. Still, I can hardly glance at the moon. I don’t want it to know how much I miss the sunlight—that yellow glow and warmth. (so there's a moon...but no sun...but she remembers the sun? I want to know more. Why are they climbing to get this fruit, why risk their lives when it seems death is coming?)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you all for the stellar feedback! :)

    ReplyDelete

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