Monday, September 18, 2017

Son Of A Pitch #9: ELISE AND THE SEER

Son Of A Pitch #9

Title: ELISE AND THE SEER
Category: Young Adult, Contemporary Fantasy
Word Count: 69,000 words

QUERY
Space opera nerd Elise Kan only wishes there was a Dark Side to defeat.

Instead, she’s stuck with Calc problem sets, pseudo-friends who throw up M&Ms in class, and (literally) hovering Asian parents who keep nagging her about how much she eats. Yes, half the population may manifest unique Gifts when they reach their teens, but most of these abilities are useless, and others completely suck.

So Elise counts calories. Obsessively. Because maybe the most significant thing she can do right now is prevent the Freshman Fifteen.

Then a shapeshifting fiasco forces her to cross paths with Tanata, a new kid with Gift-related problems of his own. As they bond over eighties space opera Third Millennium, Elise’s eating disorder tightens its downward spiral. Elise has to decide if she’ll open up about her mental health—and in the process, learn how to fight for good even when there’s no clear Dark Side.


FIRST 250 WORDS

By October, no one cares that Ms. Stickelman steps in through the back wall to start first period Econ, but she keeps doing it anyway.


“Okay, AP guys, I’d say we’re eighty-seven-point-five percent awake,” she says, solidifying as she sits down at her desk. Her words come rapid-fire like she’s on Five Hour Energy, except she doesn’t drink caffeine. If she did, I think the world might explode. “Which is decent, considering last week it was only--” she picks up her attendance sheet-- “seventy-five. Kevin Shao?”


Kevin jerks awake. His butt is starting to float a few inches above his seat-- only his knees, which knock on the underside of the desk, keep him from drifting to the ceiling. “Huh?”


“G’morning to you too,” Stickelman says, smiling pleasantly. “Can you give us a reason why a firm’s supply curve might move right?”


Kevin flushes all the way up to his carefully sideswept bangs. Stickelman moves on with her attendance/cross-examination, calling on Jane Meyerowitz (Gift: making cutesy rain clouds above the heads of people she doesn’t like), Mara Dale (Gift: baking perfectly round macaroons), and James Jorgensen (Gift: running super fast, so he can’t compete in regular track meets but all the girls flock to him anyway).


I stuff my cold hands under my legs. The heater roars, but there has to be a draft from the window because I always have goosebumps crawling up my neck and my fingers are blocks of ice.


Not enough body fat, Mom nags in the back of my head. You get too cold, you will die of pneumonia. 


Yeah, right. I push her voice away.

7 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:
    This query is really good and I don’t know how to make it better. I really like how you’ve mingled a common everyday problem (eating disorder) with a fantastical issue. I also like how she’s into 80’s space operas, and I REALLY want there to be some Ice Pirates references! If you’re looking to expand, I’d look into the external conflict which isn’t really apparent in this rendition of the query. It’s really strong, but at this point, it reads like a contemporary novel with very light hints of fantastical elements. If that’s the case, Excellent. If that’s not the case, revise accordingly.

    First 250:

    I really like how you capture the essence of what a common subject class like Econ would be like with a bunch of gifted students. I’m really curious where this goes and would absolutely read more. I’m also completely absorbed by the fact that this is her world and she isn’t surprised by it. I find that sort of refreshing in this age of people being suddenly exposed to the realm of magic and having their initial freak out near page one. Good job, really strong!

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

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks so much for your feedback! It is a contemporary fantasy (my comps were Eleanor & Park meets X-men, with Star Wars fandom-- though I'll check out Ice Pirates!) and I'm glad you liked it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To be clear, Ice Pirates was terrible, but it was a Space Opera with time travel elements, and I LOVED it as a kid.

      Delete
  3. Hi! Kathy from #TeamRarity here. My comments are my opinions only. Please take the thoughts that help and disregard the rest!

    Space opera nerd Elise Kan only wishes there was a Dark Side to defeat. (HOLY S@%* I'M IN)

    Instead, she’s stuck with Calc problem sets, pseudo-friends who throw up M&Ms in class (throw up...as in vomit?), and (literally) hovering Asian parents who keep nagging her about how much she eats. Yes, half the population may manifest unique Gifts when they reach their teens, but most of these abilities are useless, and others completely suck. (LOVE! What is her ability?)

    So Elise counts calories. Obsessively. Because maybe the most significant thing she can do right now is prevent the Freshman Fifteen. (OMG IT ME! Well was me...I can relate!)

    Then a shapeshifting fiasco (WHAT HAPPENED? Wait...she can shapeshift?) forces her to cross paths with Tanata, a new kid with Gift-related problems of his own. As they bond over eighties space opera Third Millennium, Elise’s eating disorder tightens its downward spiral. (OH GEEZ...does she see it as a problem? Is she aware?) Elise has to decide if she’ll open up about her mental health—and in the process, learn how to fight for good even when there’s no clear Dark Side.
    I. Love. This. That's all I got.

    FIRST 250 WORDS

    By October, no one cares that Ms. Stickelman steps in through the back wall to start first period Econ, but she keeps doing it anyway. (HAHAHA! LOVE!)


    “Okay, AP guys, I’d say we’re eighty-seven-point-five percent awake,” she says, solidifying as she sits down at her desk. Her words come rapid-fire like she’s on Five Hour Energy, except she doesn’t drink caffeine. If she did, I think the world might explode. “Which is decent, considering last week it was only--” she picks up her attendance sheet-- “seventy-five. Kevin Shao?”


    Kevin jerks awake. His butt is starting to float a few inches above his seat-- only his knees, which knock on the underside of the desk, keep him from drifting to the ceiling. “Huh?”


    “G’morning to you too,” Stickelman says, smiling pleasantly. “Can you give us a reason why a firm’s supply curve might move right?”


    Kevin flushes all the way up to his carefully sideswept bangs. Stickelman moves on with her attendance/cross-examination, calling on Jane Meyerowitz (Gift: making cutesy rain clouds above the heads of people she doesn’t like), Mara Dale (Gift: baking perfectly round macaroons), and James Jorgensen (Gift: running super fast, so he can’t compete in regular track meets but all the girls flock to him anyway). (Love how you intro them with their gift!)


    I stuff my cold hands under my legs. (What is mc's gift?)The heater roars, but there has to be a draft from the window because I always have goosebumps crawling up my neck and my fingers are blocks of ice.


    Not enough body fat, Mom nags in the back of my head. You get too cold, you will die of pneumonia. (Ah...the beginnings of trouble.)


    Yeah, right. I push her voice away.

    Love the opening! Enough to keep me reading! Interesting world and a mc with a nagging mom voice in her head, hinting at problems.

    I second Rena's comment that Ice Pirates was terrible, but I also loved it as a kid. And now I need to see it, because it's been way too long...

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is the concept that keeps on giving! There's a huge, towering silo of awesome here.

    In the query, I would concentrate more on the gifts - I love your descriptions of them in the 250 - because that sounds like a really cool part of your world. Give a couple specifics instead of just telling us that most are useless/annoying.

    Also, I need a clearer connection between what's going on that bugs her, and her eating disorder/calorie counting.

    Thank you for doing a MC with MH issues, especially in a YA fantasy!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Crit from Cari:

    Title: ELISE AND THE SEER
    Category: Young Adult, Contemporary Fantasy
    Word Count: 69,000 words

    QUERY
    Space opera nerd Elise Kan only wishes there was a Dark Side to defeat.

    Instead, she’s stuck with Calc problem sets, pseudo-friends who throw up M&Ms in class, and (literally) hovering Asian parents who keep nagging her about how much she eats. Yes, half the population may manifest unique Gifts when they reach their teens, but most of these abilities are useless, and others completely suck.

    So Elise counts calories. Obsessively. Because maybe the most significant thing she can do right now is prevent the Freshman Fifteen.

    Then a shapeshifting fiasco forces her to cross paths with Tanata, a new kid with Gift-related problems of his own. As they bond over eighties space opera Third Millennium, Elise’s eating disorder tightens its downward spiral. Elise has to decide if she’ll open up about her mental health—and in the process, learn how to fight for good even when there’s no clear Dark Side.


    FIRST 250 WORDS

    By October, no one cares that Ms. Stickelman steps in through the back wall to start first period Econ, but she keeps doing it anyway.
    (I love this first line)

    “Okay, AP(AP what?) guys, I’d say we’re eighty-seven-point-five percent awake,” she says, solidifying as she sits down at her desk. Her words come rapid-fire like she’s on Five Hour Energy, except she doesn’t drink caffeine. If she did, I think the world might explode. “Which is decent, considering last week it was only--” she picks up her attendance sheet-- “seventy-five. Kevin Shao?”


    Kevin jerks awake. His butt is starting to float a few inches above his seat-- only his knees, which knock on the underside of the desk, keep him from drifting to the ceiling (love this detail. Really gives me a feel for the world you’re building). “Huh?”


    “G’morning to you too,” Stickelman says, smiling pleasantly. “Can you give us a reason why a firm’s supply curve might move right?”


    Kevin flushes all the way up to his carefully sideswept bangs. Stickelman moves on with her attendance/cross-examination, calling on Jane Meyerowitz (Gift: making cutesy rain clouds above the heads of people she doesn’t like), Mara Dale (Gift: baking perfectly round macaroons), and James Jorgensen (Gift: running super fast, so he can’t compete in regular track meets but all the girls flock to him anyway).
    (I’m not sure how I feel about the use of parenthesis here (says the critiquer using parenthesis). I think you can split these up into different sentences maybe?)


    I stuff my cold hands under my legs. The heater roars, but there has to be a draft from the window because I always have goosebumps crawling up my neck and my fingers are blocks of ice.


    Not enough body fat, Mom nags in the back of my head. You get too cold, you will die of pneumonia.


    Yeah, right. I push her voice away.
    (I really love your concept. This is something I’d read more of. Well done!)

    ReplyDelete

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