Monday, February 20, 2017

8. Scales: YA contemporary Fantasy

8.
Title: Scales
Category and Genre: YA Contemporary Fantasy
Word Count: 80,000

Query:
Eric was the only orphan at Kingston Prep—a hidden school for magic users in rural Illinois—until Ben arrived, scared and crying about monsters. Within days he’d latched on to Eric and soon the two were as close as brothers.

While Ben reaches the top of their Sophomore class, Eric squeaks by and focuses on making sure his stash of drugs lasts the whole summer. Even his favorite teacher gave up on him developing his weak abilities and it’s common knowledge his future promises menial jobs at best. He might as well have fun on his race to the bottom.

When Eric’s arch-nemesis (and Ben’s crush) warns him about the Curator, a man who traffics magic users, he dismisses it as a childish conspiracy theory. Eric gave up believing in monsters and fairy tales a long time ago.

But, Ben has a secret, one that makes him the perfect addition to the very real Curator’s personal collection. It’s the secret that brought him Kingston, and—despite Eric’s assurances otherwise—proves at least one monster exists.

When the Curator’s Hunters attack their school in search of him, Ben and Eric escape and go into hiding where they think they’ll be safe. They’re wrong.

Now, to save Ben from a life of slavery, Eric has to believe in another person he dismissed long ago: himself. 

First 250 Words:
Eric took his exam. The words “Magic Theory, Practice, and Society” were centered on the cover.

What a joke.

This test was a joke.

The practical portion would be a joke.

The whole class was a joke.

All the knowledge in the world wouldn’t make him stronger. And it wasn’t like he would be able to get a job in any Luxen field either; he’d be doing construction or flipping burgers alongside Anluxen even if he studied hard and aced the test. He thought he’d done well enough in English, passable in Geometry, miraculously managed a C- in Chemistry, but here in this cruel joke of a class was where his worth was defined.

Worth. The word echoed around his mind, making him laugh to himself.

Behind him, Alex received her test. Her self-satisfied sigh warmed the back of his neck in a humid puff. Without thinking, he turned to glare at her. She was a dusty-looking girl with dusty blue eyes, wrapped in dusty tanned skin, topped with dusty blond hair.

Dusty, dusty, dusty.

And evil.

“Eyes on your own test, Eric,” Ms. Finley said, causing the entire class to look at him. He cursed at her inwardly, but complied.

“Ms. Finley,” Alex stated. Eric rolled his eyes and a wave of sighs and creaks of desks spread around the classroom. 

“Here we go,” someone whispered a little too loudly.

“Yes, Alex?” the teacher responded, her face a mask of professional caring. 

5 comments:

  1. 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 love this. I really want this to be as good as it feels in the query. There are only two things I’m concerned with. Thing 1: I’m not 100% convinced about that last line. It feels a little overdramatic, but on the other hand, it sort of works.

    Thing 2: I’m not convinced by all the multiple paragraph thing. It’s a minor quibble, but I feel like those breaks could be put together more or less.

    Regardless, I like this and I want to see how and where it goes.

    First 250:

    I don’t really have anything to add. I really wanted to keep going with this story. I liked the way it felt natural, like the words were just a gateway to the story you were telling. Great job.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello! Thanks for the critiques and suggestions!! :D Can you elaborate on the "multi-paragraph" bit a little? I am a sucker for ~*drama*~ (obviously) where should I, shouldn't I break?

      Like this?

      Eric was the only orphan at Kingston Prep—a hidden school for magic users in rural Illinois—until Ben arrived, scared and crying about monsters. Within days he’d latched on to Eric and soon the two were as close as brothers. While Ben reaches the top of their Sophomore class, Eric squeaks by and focuses on making sure his stash of drugs lasts the whole summer. Even his favorite teacher gave up on him developing his weak abilities and it’s common knowledge his future promises menial jobs at best. He might as well have fun on his race to the bottom.

      When Eric’s arch-nemesis (and Ben’s crush) warns him about the Curator, a man who traffics magic users, he dismisses it as a childish conspiracy theory. Eric gave up believing in monsters and fairy tales a long time ago. But, Ben has a secret, one that makes him the perfect addition to the very real Curator’s personal collection. It’s the secret that brought him Kingston, and—despite Eric’s assurances otherwise—proves at least one monster exists. When the Curator’s Hunters attack their school in search of him, Ben and Eric escape and go into hiding where they think they’ll be safe. They’re wrong.

      Now, to save Ben from a life of slavery, Eric has to believe in another person he dismissed long ago: himself.


      ???

      Delete
  2. These comments posted on behalf of Elsie

    Query – your query reads really well to me. I thought the phrasings, the build up of conflict, the internal conflict – all of that works. I’d pick up this book and read it. Now. Awesome.

    First 250 Words:
    Eric took his exam.( booklet or as in sat down and answered questions or took it from someone’s hand?) The words “Magic Theory, Practice, and Society” were centered on the cover.

    What a joke.

    This test was a joke.

    The practical portion would be a joke. (practical – magic maybe?:)

    The whole class was a joke.


    All the knowledge in the world wouldn’t make him stronger. And it wasn’t like he would be able to get a job in any Luxen field either; he’d be doing construction or flipping burgers alongside Anluxen even if he studied hard and aced the test.(Love this definition – signs of the world) He thought he’d done well enough in English, passable in Geometry, miraculously managed a C- in Chemistry, but here in this cruel joke of a class was where his worth was defined. ( love that –)

    Worth. The word echoed around his mind, making him laugh to himself.

    Behind him, Alex received her test. Her self-satisfied sigh warmed the back of his neck in a humid puff. (like this J) Without thinking, he turned to glare at her. She was a dusty-looking girl with dusty blue eyes, wrapped in dusty tanned skin, topped with dusty blond hair.

    Dusty, dusty, dusty. (I love this and want to know why he sees her this way)

    And evil. (and this J)

    “Eyes on your own test, Eric,” Ms. Finley said, causing the entire class to look at him. He cursed at her inwardly, but complied.

    “Ms. Finley,” Alex stated. Eric rolled his eyes and a wave of sighs and creaks of desks spread around the classroom.

    “Here we go,” someone whispered a little too loudly.

    “Yes, Alex?” the teacher responded, her face a mask of professional caring.

    The first sentence threw me, but once I read on, I understood and am totally sold by the end. I like the subtle explanation of Luxen and this totally picked up for me when he began reacting/interacting with Alex – the dusty descriptions – awesome. I wanted more words to read. (seriously)

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

    ReplyDelete
  3. These are my opinions. Please keep what helps and forget what doesn't.

    Query:
    Eric was the only orphan at Kingston Prep—a hidden school for magic users in rural Illinois—until Ben arrived, scared and crying about monsters. Within days he’d latched on to Eric and soon the two were as close as brothers. (OMG Illinois! I grew up there! And what does Eric want? Who is he?)

    While Ben reaches the top of their Sophomore class, Eric squeaks by and focuses on making sure his stash of drugs lasts the whole summer. (So had he ever believed in himself?) Even his favorite teacher gave up on him developing his weak abilities and it’s common knowledge his future promises menial jobs at best. He might as well have fun on his race to the bottom.

    When Eric’s arch-nemesis (and Ben’s crush) warns him about the Curator, a man who traffics magic users, he dismisses it as a childish conspiracy theory. Eric gave up believing in monsters and fairy tales a long time ago.

    But, Ben has a secret, one that makes him the perfect addition to the very real Curator’s personal collection. It’s the secret that brought him (to?) Kingston, and—despite Eric’s assurances otherwise—proves at least one monster exists.

    When the Curator’s Hunters attack their school in search of him, Ben and Eric escape and go into hiding where they think they’ll be safe. (Where?) They’re wrong.

    Now, to save Ben from a life of slavery, Eric has to believe in another person he dismissed long ago: himself. (Put down the drugs and get off your butt!)

    (Sounds fun!)

    First 250 Words:
    Eric took his exam. The words “Magic Theory, Practice, and Society” were centered on the cover.

    What a joke.

    This test was a joke.

    The practical portion would be a joke.

    The whole class was a joke. (Love this already.)

    All the knowledge in the world wouldn’t make him stronger. And it wasn’t like he would be able to get a job in any Luxen field either; he’d be doing construction or flipping burgers alongside Anluxen even if he studied hard and aced the test. He thought he’d done well enough in English, passable in Geometry, miraculously managed a C- in Chemistry, but here in this cruel joke of a class was where his worth was defined.

    Worth. The word echoed around his mind, making him laugh to himself.

    Behind him, Alex received her test. Her self-satisfied sigh warmed the back of his neck in a humid puff. Without thinking, he turned to glare at her. She was a dusty-looking girl with dusty blue eyes, wrapped in dusty tanned skin, topped with dusty blond hair.

    Dusty, dusty, dusty.

    And evil. (Haha! Awesome!)

    “Eyes on your own test, Eric,” Ms. Finley said, causing the entire class to look at him. He cursed at her inwardly, but complied.

    “Ms. Finley,” Alex stated. Eric rolled his eyes and a wave of sighs and creaks of desks spread around the classroom.

    “Here we go,” someone whispered a little too loudly.

    “Yes, Alex?” the teacher responded, her face a mask of professional caring.

    (Love it! All of it!)

    ReplyDelete

I love comments! Let me know what's on your mind.