Monday, September 18, 2017

Son Of A Pitch #5: IMMUNITY HUNTER

Son Of A Pitch #5

Title: IMMUNITY HUNTER
Category and Genre: YA Fantasy
Word Count: 98,000

Query:
Two years after Sasame’s parents were devoured alive by undead mutants known as Konadai, she joined an agency that helped turn her grief into revenge. Now an Immunity Hunter, seventeen-year-old Sasame kidnaps those who are immune to the Konadai virus. Her victims are harvested for their blood and bones by the agency so they can create a stronger antidote.

Although the work tears at her conscience, Sasame trusts her boss, Omi, and his belief that this is the only way to save her island city.

Then she meets Konan, a persistent teen working with a group fighting to figure out why people are vanishing. His passion and dedication to the city reel her in, but she fights her attraction to him—connections lead to distractions and heartache. Eventually, Konan’s constant interference breaks down her guard and Sasame uses his attention to distract from the madness.

Her weakness angers Omi. His Immunity Hunters are well-oiled machines, and a petty romance is a distraction he won’t tolerate. After forcing her to watch the murder of another agent's girlfriend, Omi presents Sasame with a choice: kill Konan to prove her loyalty to the cause, or be killed herself.

First 250 Words:

Prey comes in different forms. Luckily for me, my target is an idiot.

With his face glued to that small, bright screen, this will be an easy hunt. Forget sneaking—short of yelling his name, he won’t notice me.

I follow him past decorated storefronts and dull office buildings. The faint scent of pastries and coffee still lingers in the midnightair. Sakura trees line the sidewalks a few feet apart. Pink and white petals give pleasant color to the concrete surroundings.

Downtown is deserted this late at night. Few people live close to the oversized buildings towering just high enough to see the top of the concrete wall surrounding our city. And around this time, most people are locked safely away in their cozy beds. They prefer living in the smaller homes in quiet neighborhoods and farmland.

Anything to avoid reminding themselves of the outside world.

Usually, my prey takes the time to enjoy the lasting smell of baked goods and the blossomed sakura, or at the very least, care. But this guy refuses to turn around or take his eyes off the screen. I could’ve taken him down at any point during this seemingly endless trek through the empty downtown streets, but his attentiveness to the phone intrigues me. How can someone get attached to something so trivial?

Irritation rushes over me—both from the fool I was sent to capture and the too-tight bra strap cutting into my shoulder. Then it hits me.

15 comments:

  1. Before I get started, I’d like to preface my feedback with the disclaimer that what you do with your query and first page is totally up to you. Take what’s useful from my suggestions, and ditch the rest as you see fit.
    Query:

    There’s a lot going on in this query: there’s the world level arc—the undead mutants destroying the world—and the personal level arc, her boss threatening to murder either her or her boss. I like that you’ve made the stakes personal and high. I like that she makes these choices. I don’t know why, but I feel like I’m missing the voice that is present in the first 250. To be clear: this is a really strong query. If I were to change it, I would look for a way to infuse it with some of the voice I see in the first 250.

    First 250:
    I love this first page. I love that they are distracted by screens (just like we are!), but I worry that the target audience will find this as a drawback as teens are under a constant barrage of “put down your phone!” Still, it’s great, and it helps draw us in because we are currently so into our phones.

    I would like to have a name for the city air. I like that you’re using the backdrop of a Japanese culture and geography.

    The only real comment for this sample is that I felt we are really wrapped up in the MC’s head and she doesn’t do enough to draw us into the world through showing but rather tells a lot. And I get it, but I wonder at the character who doesn’t fall into the beauty and inevitable comparison of life and death of cherry blossoms and their fleeting moment. So, I feel like she should be taking it in, even if her mark isn’t. Maybe show us in this first bit that she has this other piece in her, this desire for these other things, forshadowing her choice to not be a stone hard killer. Just a thought. Really great writing here.

    If you have any questions, or want any clarification about my statements here, feel free to drop me a line.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello. Kathy from #TeamRarity stopping by to read! My comments are my opinions only. Take what helps and forget the rest. It's your show.

    Two years after Sasame’s parents were devoured alive by undead mutants known as Konadai, she joined an agency that helped turn her grief into revenge. Now an Immunity Hunter, seventeen-year-old Sasame kidnaps those who are immune to the Konadai virus. Her victims are harvested for their blood and bones by the agency so they can create a stronger antidote. (That is really cool! Great character set up!)

    Although the work tears at her conscience, Sasame trusts her boss, Omi, and his belief that this is the only way to save her island city. (Yup. Let's kill the healthy people! I don't know about this guy...)

    Then she meets Konan, a persistent teen working with a group fighting to figure out why people are vanishing. (How does this link to the Konadai virus?) His passion and dedication to the city reel her in, but she fights her attraction to him—connections lead to distractions and heartache. Eventually, Konan’s constant interference (constant interference...how is he interfering? What is he doing?) breaks down her guard and Sasame uses his attention to distract from the madness. (From the madness of hunting and killing people?)

    (Her weakness angers Omi.)<Don't think you need this. His Immunity Hunters are well-oiled machines, and *Omi won't tolerate a petty romance (is a distraction he won’t tolerate)*A word order suggestion?. After forcing her to watch the murder of another agent's girlfriend, Omi presents Sasame with a choice: kill Konan to prove her loyalty to the cause, or be killed herself. (Well...that's some big personal stakes. What about the mutants you mention them, then nothing. Are they not a big threat? But we're killing people to create ways to cure them?)
    A strong query. And cool concept!

    First 250 Words:
    Prey comes in different forms. Luckily for me, my target is an idiot. (HAHA!)

    With his face glued to that small, bright screen, this will be an easy hunt. Forget sneaking—short of yelling his name, he won’t notice me.

    I follow him past decorated storefronts and dull office buildings. The faint scent of pastries and coffee still lingers in the midnight air. (And she enjoys the smells?) Sakura trees line the sidewalks a few feet apart. Pink and white petals give pleasant color to the concrete surroundings. (Is this world and all its wonders and colors and beauty what she fights for?)

    Downtown is deserted this late at night. (It's late at night? Are the stars out?Street lights on?) Few people live close to the oversized buildings towering just high enough to see the top of the concrete wall surrounding our city. (but not beyond the wall?) And around this time, most people are locked safely away in their cozy beds. They prefer living in the smaller homes in quiet neighborhoods and farmland.

    Anything to avoid reminding themselves of the outside world. (WHAT IS OUTSIDE THE WALL, PRECIOUS?!?!?!)

    Usually, my prey takes the time to enjoy the lasting smell of baked goods and the blossomed sakura, or at the very least, care. But this guy refuses to turn around or take his eyes off the screen. I could’ve taken him down at any point during this seemingly endless trek through the empty downtown streets, but his attentiveness to the phone intrigues me. How can someone get attached to something so trivial? (Why does this upset her?)

    Irritation rushes over me—both from the fool I was sent to capture and the too-tight bra strap cutting into my shoulder. Then it hits me.
    (Does she feel any hesitation at this taking a person down? Add a hint as to why she's taking him down?)
    The mc from the query feels different than the mc from the first page. That throws me off a bit. I really like this!
    Thanks for sharing your words!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for the comments! I tried adding a bit of voice to my query but it ended up being the same thing. Also, I'm not sure how to tie in the world stakes with personal. It's a multi-POV MS and the main issue are the zombies, but Sasame is also an anti-hero stuck "on the wrong team". Without the zombies, there'd be no need for the agency.

    Query:
    Two years after disgusting undead mutants known as Konadai killed Sasame’s parents, she joined an agency that turned her grief into revenge. Now an Immunity Hunter, seventeen-year-old Sasame kidnaps those who are immune to the Konadai virus. The downside: her victims are harvested for their blood and bones by the agency in order to create a stronger antidote.

    Although the work causes gut-churning nightmares, Sasame trusts her boss, Omi, and his belief that this is the only way to save her island city.

    Then she meets Konan, a persistent teen working with a group fighting to figure out why people are vanishing. His passion and dedication to the city reel her in, but she refuses to fall for him. Connections lead to distractions and heartache. Eventually, Konan’s constant interference with her missions breaks her guard and Sasame uses his attention to distract from the madness.

    Immunity Hunters are well-oiled machines, and Omi won’t tolerate a petty romance distracting his agents. After forcing her to watch the murder of another agent's girlfriend, Omi presents Sasame with a choice: kill Konan to prove her loyalty to the cause, or be killed herself.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Are the vanishing people related to the zombies? Does Konan know things that can stop the zombies? If Sasame doesn't save him will they lose his knowledge that could save the world from the zombies forever? The zombie problem should connect to something...otherwise they don't feel like part of the story and I think they are. There's a secret there...right? SECRETS ARE FUN! And that must link to Konan, which will link to Sasame, who wants to save him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. People are vanishing because the agency Sasame works for are kidnapping them to use their immunity to create a stronger antidote. Konan got roped into joining a small group of people that are secretly investigating the disappearances. It's usually the military police's job but they claim people are running off outside the wall that surrounds the city on their own and getting killed.

      Four other MCs personally interact with the zombies (they are Konan's friends and join the military squad. Two of the females are the daughter of the general that runs the military). Konan doesn't know Sasame is kidnapping people. Sasame doesn't know Konan is trying to figure out what's going on. Konan DOES have an idea that Omi, Sasame's boss is behind everything. None of Konan's friends know what Sasame does. BUT, the daughters of the general know Omi is hiding something as well but refuse to help Konan because Omi is a family friend.

      So basically:
      Sasame is trying to fight the zombies by finding a cure
      Konan is trying to protect the citizens by figuring out why people are disappearing
      The other two males are fighting the zombies with force and magic
      The other two girls are trying to figure out what their father is hiding...and also fight the zombies with magic (Sasame has magic as well but she hides it)

      I know this probably has nothing to do with the query but I have a lot going on in the MS and I can't squeeze everyone in. Sasame's stakes are personal. If she fails to complete her job, the zombies will still be there and she'll get killed by her boss. If she does complete her job, the antidote is for the living, not the dead...so the zombies will still be there. BUT the antidote will help keep military personnel healthy enough to eradicate the zombies without contracting the virus and possibly creating another apocalypse.

      Delete
    2. OH! Dude. I like that no one knows what the others are doing! Is there a moment when they find out? Sasame learns Konan is looking into what she's been doing? That is a big deal!!! Like that must affect if she wants to be with him? Or him with her? Okay...I'm getting distracted. You go with your main story...focus on that.

      Delete
    3. Not to give too much away, but Konan makes a harmless move on Sasame and she denies him. Later, he's handed some evidence that may or may not show that Sasame is hiding something. Things get rocky from there but Konan still has hope that it's a coincidence. Sasame doesn't figure things out about Konan until book 2 and I have a few twists planned for that.

      It's a very very slow burn relationship with these two and she's not sure how she feels about him. The reason she's having trouble deciding what to do is because she refuses to kill anyone personally. She knows what her agency does but she convinced herself that it's for the greater good. The deaths of the immune are justified to save everyone else and avenge her parents by helping to get rid of the zombies. So killing Konan would go against her beliefs and take away the one person that showed her any real attention since her parents died.

      I hope that makes sense...I over-explain things sometimes.

      Delete
  5. This concept is layered and amazing, the stakes are compelling, and your writing is fabulous. The one thing I would do here in the pages is take out the backstory about the buildings and the people wanting to live in farmland, etc. Show us that later, because you need to keep the plot moving in the first pages.

    I say that because I was mad...if that stuff hadn't been in there I might have gotten to find out what happens :)

    I don't mean to sound jerky, because I mean this as a serious compliment. Your descriptions are beautiful and ALSO make me want to read on - to see you describe this world - but first pages are so important and so I really recommend sticking with the plot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, sorry about that. I get mixed feedback about shaping the world in the first 5 pages. I'll see where else I can add that paragraph, I may have to rearrange some scenes.

      Glad you enjoyed it :)

      Delete
  6. Crit from Cari:

    Title: IMMUNITY HUNTER
    Category and Genre: YA Fantasy
    Word Count: 98,000

    Query:
    Two years after Sasame’s parents were devoured alive by undead mutants known as Konadai, she joined an agency that helped turn her grief into revenge. Now an Immunity Hunter, seventeen-year-old Sasame kidnaps those who are immune to the Konadai virus. Her victims are harvested for their blood and bones by the agency so they can create a stronger antidote. (I really love this opening. It’s strong, tells me who and why Sasame is the way she is, and what the inciting incident is)

    Although the work tears at her conscience, Sasame trusts her boss, Omi, and his belief that this is the only way to save her island city. (why is this all by itself? I’d combine with below paragraph.)

    Then she meets Konan, a persistent teen working with a group fighting to figure out why people are vanishing. His passion and dedication to the city reel her in, but she fights her attraction to him (I’d end the sentence here, and start a new one that clearly states why she’s pushing away. Something like: Immunity Hunters are forbidden to form relationships)—connections lead to distractions and heartache. Eventually, Konan’s constant interference breaks down her guard and Sasame uses his attention to distract from the madness.(This reads weird. Is she with him because he annoyed her into submission? Have her take a stand, and claim that she wants to be with him, and why. It’ll have more impact for the conflict later.)

    (Angered by her weakness, and disregard for rules, Omi lashes out. Immunity Hunters are supposed to be well-oiled machines. Petty romances are a distraction and danger he won’t tolerate.) Her weakness angers Omi. His Immunity Hunters are well-oiled machines, and a petty romance is a distraction he won’t tolerate. After forcing (Sasame)her to watch the murder of another agent's girlfriend, Omi presents Sasame with a choice: kill Konan to prove her loyalty to the cause, or be killed herself. (Love the stakes!!!!!!!!!!)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Crit From Cari:

    First 250 Words:
    Prey comes in different forms( I feel like the opening line has the potential to say so much more than it does. What about something like: Hunting for prey isn’t always easy. Sometimes they fight back. Sometimes they scream. Beg. Cry…. or something that more captures the tone of the book.). Luckily for me, my target is an idiot.

    With his face glued to that small, bright screen, this will be an easy hunt. Forget sneaking—short of yelling his name, he won’t notice me.

    I follow him past decorated storefronts and dull office buildings. The faint scent of pastries and coffee still lingers in the midnight (space)air. Sakura trees line the sidewalks a few feet apart. Pink and white petals give pleasant color to the concrete surroundings.

    Downtown(Dowtown where? Give me location) is deserted this late at night. Few people live close to the oversized buildings towering just high enough to see the top of the concrete wall surrounding our city. And around this time, most people are locked safely away in their cozy beds. They prefer living in the smaller homes in quiet neighborhoods and farmland (far away from the wall, and the reminder of why it looms over us...or something to really nail the mood and setting There’s a reason ppl prefer to live away, and you need to tell it).

    Anything to avoid reminding themselves of the outside world.

    (Typically, the people I hunt… it sounds weird written the other way)Usually, my prey takes the time to enjoy the lasting smell of baked goods and the blossomed sakura, or at the very least, care. But this guy refuses to turn around or take his eyes off the screen. I could’ve taken him down at any point during this seemingly endless trek through the empty downtown streets, but his attentiveness to the phone intrigues me. How can someone get attached to something so trivial?

    Irritation rushes over me—both from the fool I was sent to capture and the too-tight bra strap cutting into my shoulder. Then it hits me. (This seems really strange and an out of place thing to say all of a sudden. Also, to mention the bra strap is weird without context. Why does it bother her? Are there none her size? Are clothes hard to come by? Is she undercover, wearing someone else’s clothes? There’s an opportunity here to show us more about the MC, who she is, and the world we’re exploring.

    Great start. Best of luck!)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Update:

    Query
    Two years after undead mutants known as Konadai killed Sasame’s parents, she joined an agency that turned her grief into revenge. Now an Immunity Hunter, seventeen-year-old Sasame kidnaps those who are immune to the Konadai virus. The downside: her victims are harvested for their blood and bones by the agency in order to create a stronger antidote.

    Although the work causes gut-churning nightmares, Sasame trusts her boss, Omi, and his belief that this is the only way to save her island city. Then she meets Konan, a persistent teen working with a group fighting to figure out why people are vanishing. His dedication to the city reel her in, but she refuses to fall for him. Immunity Hunters are forbidden to have personal relationships. Eventually, Konan’s constant interference with her missions breaks her guard and Sasame uses his attention to distract from the madness.

    Angered by Sasame’s petty romance—and disregard for rules—Omi lashes out. He mocks her for putting the life of a boy over thousands then forces Sasame to watch the murder of another agent's girlfriend. As Sasame sits covered in blood, Omi presents her with a choice: kill Konan to prove her loyalty to the cause, or be killed herself.

    Still haven't found anything that works for the first page...I'm working on it

    ReplyDelete
  9. Two years after undead mutants known as Konadai killed Sasame’s parents, she joined an agency that turned her grief into revenge. Now an Immunity Hunter, seventeen-year-old Sasame kidnaps those who are immune to the Konadai virus. The downside: her victims are harvested for their blood and bones by the agency in order to create a stronger antidote.

    Although the work causes gut-churning nightmares, Sasame trusts her boss, Omi, and his belief that this is the only way to save her island city. (I love this line)Then she meets Konan, a persistent teen working with a group fighting to figure out why people are vanishing. His dedication to the city reel(s) her in, but (she refuses to fall for him...do you need this? Or perhaps...reels her in, but Immunity Hunters are forbidden to have personal relationships). Immunity Hunters are forbidden to have personal relationships. Eventually, Konan’s constant interference with her missions breaks her guard and Sasame uses his attention to distract from the madness. (She's just using him?)

    Angered by Sasame’s petty romance—and disregard for rules—Omi lashes out. (Keep us with Sasame POV...Omi does what to her, what does she experience?) He mocks her for putting the life of a boy over thousands then forces Sasame to watch the murder of another agent's girlfriend. As Sasame sits covered in blood (feeling angry? Upset?), Omi presents her with a choice: kill Konan to prove her loyalty to the cause, or be killed herself. (Whoa. Covered in blood...whoa. Still love these stakes.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Edited the last paragraph:

      Sasame’s petty romance—and disregard for the rules—gets back to Omi. She’s mocked for putting the life of a boy over thousands and then forced to watch the murder of another agent's girlfriend. As Sasame sits covered in blood horrified, she’s given a choice: kill Konan to prove her loyalty to the cause, or be killed herself.


      Yes she uses him, at first, then slowly falls for him as the story progresses.

      Thanks for all the help!

      Delete

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