Monday, February 20, 2017

9. Renegade: YA Fantasy

9.
Title: Renegade
Category and Genre: YA Fantasy
Word Count: 110,000

Query (UPDATED):
When Nathan Coleman’s vision tells him that his younger brother, Jeffrey, will meet an early death, Nathan plots to steal supernatural power in an attempt to make Jeffrey invincible.

Visions like Nathan’s come with one of ten available abilities, but Nathan doesn’t believe one is enough. Through the creation of his own rogue power generator, he should be able to tap into the source of the supernatural and control the flow of power to channel more towards his brother. However, the last time someone tried to harness the source of power, it bit back. It sparked a civil war between the two secret coalitions boiling beneath modern North American society: the Fortis and the Renegade.

For years, the Coleman brothers called the ancient Fortis compound their home. But in uncovering the bloody history of his world, Nathan soon realizes his quest for Jeffrey’s salvation must take him down the unruly streets of the Renegade. He leaves the Fortis, but his influence lingers as he uses amiable yet naive Fortis arrival, Quinn Hale, to watch over Jeffrey. But in Nathan’s mind, even Quinn’s help is not enough to keep his brother safe. His obsession with granting Jeffrey invincibility grows, posing more danger to his brother than the threats of the vision he first feared.

First 250 words:
"Moonlight streaming through the broken window glinted off my silver blade, winking at me as if we shared a secret. I twisted the weapon between my trembling fingers. As if the stacks of withering books lining the walls of the library could see through me, I tried to hide my uncertainty.

I forced my eyes away from the knife to look back at Jeffrey, my younger brother by four years. Fiercely intuitive, his deep eyes bore into me, daring me to give him a good reason as to why I'd retreated from the world for the past week. I had one, but I offered nothing more than his name and a request.

"Jeffrey, I need to do something you're not going to like."

My brother did no more than roll his eyes like any other fourteen-year-old kid would have. "If you know it’s something I won’t like, what makes you think I’ll do it?"

That was how we usually talked, comments shot dryly at each other because we knew it was its own weird form of affection. Serious stuff usually went down well, but this was something more than serious.
"Because," I said, "I'll make you."

Jeffrey kicked his heels into the floor like this whole thing meant next to nothing. After my week of solitude, this conversation was what he thought he wanted.

"How do you think you'll do that, then?" he shot back. "What is it anyways?"

I paused a moment, glancing down at the small knife and flipping it from hand to hand." 

13 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 really wanted this to focus more on the conflict. It’s there at the end, but the second paragraph really gets bogged down with details that aren’t necessary at the pitch level. That being said, it’s really great that you can bring out that level of details, but really sharpen down to the conflict: Nathan is trying to save his brother and is going to have to resort to some moral shaky ground to save him.

    I feel like much of what’s happening in the second paragraph could be tightened up or discarded so we can get back to the heart of the matter—what exactly is Nathan doing to save his brother? Is he leading an army? Is he stealing a secret serum that will create a super human with all ten abilities? Specifics will help set your story apart from all the other stories about someone having a vision and trying to save the person who dies in that vision. You have given us an excellent view into your setting.


    First 250:

    I love the bit about the knife winking back. Excellent way to draw us into that moment. Be careful of overusing “as if” as a construct. You use it twice in the first paragraph.

    There appears to be some missing words, here, so if you get them to me, I can update this post to include them. It looks like maybe this version got interrupted, so I don’t want to put in a lot of feedback here to have it change completely.

    Let me know if you have any questions, you can email me, or contact me on twitter.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for the critique! I see what you mean in saying that the query gets bogged down with setting; I may have gone a bit overboard when some critique partners told me I needed more. I'll play with it and maybe post it back here, if that's fine with you.

    As for the words, I have no idea what caused such a mishap. There were words there when I sent it, I promise! I pasted it below:


    "Moonlight streaming through the broken window glinted off my silver blade, winking at me as if we shared a secret. I twisted the weapon between my trembling fingers. As if the stacks of withering books lining the walls of the library could see through me, I tried to hide my uncertainty.

    I forced my eyes away from the knife to look back at Jeffrey, my younger brother by four years. Fiercely intuitive, his deep eyes bore into me, daring me to give him a good reason as to why I'd retreated from the world for the past week. I had one, but I offered nothing more than his name and a request.

    "Jeffrey, I need to do something you're not going to like."

    My brother did no more than roll his eyes like any other fourteen-year-old kid would have. "If you know it’s something I won’t like, what makes you think I’ll do it?"

    That was how we usually talked, comments shot dryly at each other because we knew it was its own weird form of affection. Serious stuff usually went down well, but this was something more than serious.
    "Because," I said, "I'll make you."

    Jeffrey kicked his heels into the floor like this whole thing meant next to nothing. After my week of solitude, this conversation was what he thought he wanted.

    "How do you think you'll do that, then?" he shot back. "What is it anyways?"

    I paused a moment, glancing down at the small knife and flipping it from hand to hand."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And updated!

      I like your first 250. There's maybe a bit much of the telling, especially when you're talking about how they communicate in Teenage common, but it's not too overpowering. Hope that helps!

      Delete
    2. It definitely does! I'll take your advice to heart and make some revisions. Thanks again!

      Delete
  3. These comments posted on behalf of Elsie:

    Your query has really great info but I was slowed in a few places with so much info. It’s definitely critical to the story, but I wonder if it’s essential to have it included in the query. You’re definitely on the right track! Great concept.

    Query:
    When Nathan Coleman’s ominous vision tells him that his younger brother, Jeffrey, will meet an early death, Nathan bends the physical and moral limitations of his universe in an attempt to make Jeffrey invincible.

    Visions like Nathan’s come with supernatural abilities and possession grants access to a secret coalition boiling beneath modern North American society. Within, they face two paths: One, residing at the Fortis compound, (an ancient safe haven hanging dimensionless among clouds in lieu of a physical description cold you allude to the behavioral aspects which are really part of the conflict here.). The second, the Renegade, is a loose alliance of pariahs rampaging freely among the streets. The two groups clash within their age-old culture of prejudice and superstition.

    The Coleman brothers follow the rules of the Fortis. However, Nathan soon realizes Jeffrey’s salvation must take him down the unruly streets of the Renegade. He leaves the Fortis, but his influence lingers as he uses amiable yet naive Fortis arrival, Quinn Hale, to watch over Jeffrey. But in Nathan’s mind, even Quinn’s help is not enough to keep his brother safe. His obsession with granting Jeffrey invincibility grows, posing more danger to his brother than the threats of the vision he first feared. In your last paragraph, I wonder if it’s necessary to call out Quinn – in lieu of a trusted friend. Does this also lead to more conflict? I wonder if there’s a bit more to reveal to make the ending feel more ominous.

    First 250 words:
    Moonlight streaming through the broken window glinted off my silver blade, winking at me as if we shared a secret. (excellent J) I twisted the weapon between my trembling fingers. As if the stacks of withering books lining the walls of the library could see through me, I tried to hide my uncertainty.

    I forced my eyes away from the knife to look back at Jeffrey, my younger brother by four years. Fiercely intuitive, his deep eyes bore into me, daring me to give him a good reason as to why I'd retreated from the world for the past week. I had one, but I offered nothing more than his name and a request.

    "Jeffrey, I need (You?) to do something you're not going to like."

    My brother did no more than roll his eyes like any other fourteen-year-old kid would have. "If you know it’s something I won’t like, what makes you think I’ll do it?"

    That was how we usually talked, comments shot dryly at each other because we knew it was its own weird form of affection. Serious stuff usually went down well, but this was something more than serious.
    "Because," I said, "I'll make you." (this! Such big brother words.

    Jeffrey kicked his heels into the floor like this whole thing meant next to nothing. After my week of solitude, this conversation was what he thought he wanted.

    "How do you think you'll do that, then?" he shot back. (ha, let’s go because he knows it could happen J "What is it anyways?"

    I paused a moment, glancing down at the small knife and flipping it from hand to hand.

    Here’s the deal – I need more. That was a great intro for me. I marked one place where I thought a word was omitted based on the dialogue but – wow. Dialogue and tension are great. Fabulous start.

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

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. TEAM REBEL WINS!!! Anyways, thanks for the critique! I have one small question regarding your suggestion to mentioning Quinn by name in the last paragraph... A lot of people have asked me that. However, I've stayed stubborn on sticking his name in there because, while the story revolves around Nathan, Quinn actually has a good chunk of POV a bit into the novel. I want to focus my query on Nathan, but I don't want the reader to get to Quinn's POV and wonder if they're in the wrong book for a page or two. I'm not calling your words -- or anyone else's -- irrelevant by any means, but considering the POV dilemma, do you have any suggestions? Thanks again!

      Delete
  4. Based on what both of you said, I have some revisions on my query! Let me know what you think when you get a chance. Thanks again!

    When Nathan Coleman’s vision tells him that his younger brother, Jeffrey, will meet an early death, Nathan plots to steal supernatural power in an attempt to make Jeffrey invincible.

    Visions like Nathan’s come with one of ten available abilities, but Nathan doesn’t believe one is enough. Through the creation of his own rogue power generator, he should be able to tap into the source of the supernatural and control the flow of power to channel more towards his brother. However, the last time someone tried to harness the source of power, it bit back. It sparked a civil war between the two secret coalitions boiling beneath modern North American society: the Fortis and the Renegade.

    For years, the Coleman brothers called the ancient Fortis compound their home. But in uncovering the bloody history of his world, Nathan soon realizes his quest for Jeffrey’s salvation must take him down the unruly streets of the Renegade. He leaves the Fortis, but his influence lingers as he uses amiable yet naive Fortis arrival, Quinn Hale, to watch over Jeffrey. But in Nathan’s mind, even Quinn’s help is not enough to keep his brother safe. His obsession with granting Jeffrey invincibility grows, posing more danger to his brother than the threats of the vision he first feared.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Please take what comments work for you and forget the rest.

    Updated query,
    When Nathan Coleman’s vision tells him that his younger brother, Jeffrey, will meet an early death, Nathan plots to steal supernatural power in an attempt to make Jeffrey invincible. (I LIKE THIS OKAY LET'S GO!)

    Visions like Nathan’s come with one of ten available abilities, but Nathan doesn’t believe one is enough. Through the creation of his own rogue power generator, he should be able to tap into the source of the supernatural and control the flow of power to channel more towards his brother. (That last sentence might be a bit long...) However, the last time someone tried to harness the source of power, it bit back. It sparked a civil war between the two secret (magical?) coalitions boiling beneath modern North American society: the Fortis and the Renegade.

    For years, the Coleman brothers called the ancient Fortis compound their home. But in uncovering the bloody history of his world, Nathan soon realizes his quest for Jeffrey’s salvation must take him down the unruly streets of the Renegade. He leaves the Fortis, but his influence lingers as he uses amiable yet naive Fortis arrival, Quinn Hale, to watch over Jeffrey. But in Nathan’s mind, even Quinn’s help is not enough to keep his brother safe. His obsession with granting Jeffrey invincibility grows, posing more danger to his brother than the threats of the vision he first feared.
    (Ah the old, in trying to save him, he destroys him. JUST LIKE ANAKIN! Does Nathan see the danger? Does he see the obsession? Is there a place where he has to choose to go forward or not? This is pretty darn cool! Great premise! About the question of putting Quinn in the query...if he plays a major part, other than just babysitting, include him, but be sure we know that he has a role to play. But this is a query...we want to main story line, enough info to make us want to read the ms. No one will feel cheated if Quinn appears in the ms and wasn't in the query. The query is a means to an end. What throws me off is when the query is in one POV and the ms starts in a completely different one. Hope that helps, that's my opinion anywho.)

    First 250...from when you pasted it in the comments...

    "Moonlight streaming through the broken window glinted off my silver blade, winking at me as if we shared a secret. I twisted the weapon between my trembling fingers. As if the stacks of withering books lining the walls of the library could see through me, I tried to hide my uncertainty.

    I forced my eyes away from the knife to look back at Jeffrey, my younger brother by four years. Fiercely intuitive, his deep eyes bore into me, daring me to give him a good reason as to why I'd retreated from the world for the past week. I had one, but I offered nothing more than his name and a request.

    "Jeffrey, I need (you?) to do something you're not going to like."

    My brother did no more than roll his eyes (like any other fourteen-year-old kid would have)<I don't think you need this. "If you know it’s something I won’t like, what makes you think I’ll do it?"

    That was how we usually talked, comments shot dryly at each other because we knew it was its own weird form of affection. Serious stuff usually went down well, but this was something more than serious.
    "Because," I said, "I'll make you."

    Jeffrey kicked his heels into the floor like this whole thing meant next to nothing. After my week of solitude, this conversation was what he thought he wanted. (I don't understand this..."what he thought he wanted")

    "How do you think you'll do that, then?" he shot back. "What is it anyways?"

    I paused a moment, glancing down at the small knife and flipping it from hand to hand."

    (I like the tone. It's a bit creepy and mysterious! I like him flipping his knife. I like the interaction...or lack of...between the brothers. I want to know what he needs him to do!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for critiquing! Each bit of input I get brings me a bit closer to where I think I want to be. I'll take your words into consideration and update soon!

      Delete
  6. WOW, the updated query really crackles with tension, and I LOVE the new detail you've added. Great job!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I've got a couple more things I tweaked -- mainly just wording in a couple places. I'll update sometime tomorrow. Truly, this is a blessing.

      Delete
  7. Hey, I made just a couple revisions. The biggest ones, I think, are cutting Quinn's name from the query and adding another little detail at the end. I'd love to know what you think!

    When Nathan Coleman’s vision tells him that his younger brother, Jeffrey, will meet an early death, Nathan plots to steal supernatural power in an attempt to make Jeffrey invincible.

    Visions like Nathan’s come with one of ten available abilities, but Nathan doesn’t believe one is enough. He theorizes that by creating his own rogue power generator, he should be able to tap into the source of the supernatural. Through this, he could control the flow of power to channel more towards his brother. However, the last time someone tried to harness the source of power, it bit back. The retaliation resulted in a civil war between the two secret supernatural coalitions boiling beneath modern North American society: the Fortis and the Renegade.

    For years, the Coleman brothers called the ancient Fortis compound their home. But in uncovering the bloody history of his world, Nathan soon realizes his quest for Jeffrey’s salvation must take him down the unruly streets of the Renegade. He leaves the Fortis, but his influence lingers as he uses allies left behind in the compound to watch over Jeffrey. But in Nathan’s mind, even the help of trusted friends is not enough to keep his brother safe. His obsession with granting Jeffrey invincibility grows, posing more danger to his brother than the threats of the vision he first feared; the Fortis and the Renegade are growing restless, and the source of power has it’s sights on making a pawn of Nathan’s little brother.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Also, here are my updated first 250 words!

    Moonlight streaming through the broken window glinted off my silver blade, winking at me as if we shared a secret. I twisted the weapon between my trembling fingers. Imagining that the stacks of withering books that lined the walls of the library could see through me, I tried to hide my uncertainty.

    I forced my eyes away from the knife to look back at Jeffrey, my younger brother by four years. Fiercely intuitive, his deep eyes bore into me, daring me to give him a good reason as to why I'd retreated from the world for the past week. I had one, but I offered nothing more than his name and a request.

    "Jeffrey, I need you to do something you're not going to like."

    My brother did no more than roll his eyes like any other fourteen-year-old kid would have. "If you know it’s something I won’t like, what makes you think I’ll do it?"

    I brushed his brashness aside; we typically shot dry comments at each other in our own weird form of affection. Serious stuff went down well, but this was something more than serious.

    "Because," I said, "I'll make you."

    Jeffrey kicked his heels into the floor like this whole thing meant next to nothing. But after my week of solitude, he couldn't keep his gaze cast for long.

    "How do you think you'll do that, then?" he shot back. "What is it anyways?"

    I paused a moment, glancing down at the small knife and flipping it from hand to hand.

    ReplyDelete

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