Monday, February 20, 2017

5. Silver and Ice: YA Fantasy

5.
Title: Silver and Ice
Category and Genre: YA Fantasy
Word Count: 80k

Query:
Ebraham hunts silvertongues--those born with a voice capable of controlling minds. With the aid of a magicked amulet, an uncanny ability to read people, and just a touch of overconfidence, he has become Elysia's most renowned silvertongue hunter. So when the Winter Queen commands him to capture the silvertongue who has infiltrated the Fifth Regiment, he is sure he'll have this mission closed in a blink.
Until he discovers the regiment’s beloved Captain Alivia Youngblood is the hidden silvertongue. A brilliant military strategist, Youngblood may be the key to finally turning the tides of a decade-long war against the Vigilanthams, the kingdom's mortal enemy. However, with orders from the Winter Queen to seize Dark Water Point--a Vigilantham stronghold impossible to breach--it appears that the Fifth Regiment is doomed to a suicidal battle. . . unless someone comes up with a plan to save them all.
Caught in a world of lies and deceptions, Ebraham must decide who the kingdom's real enemy is: the hidden silvertongue, or the Queen he serves.

First 250 Words:
I once chased a silvertongue up the twenty-third peak of the Devil’s Ridgeback in the dead of winter. Didn’t have a cloak, furs, gloves, or anything a sane person would think to wear in the middle of a blizzard. Nearly lost my left ear to frostbite, and two toenails blackened and fell off afterwards. Still caught the silvertongue at the end though, and that’s what matters—placing the mission above all.
Now I can’t help but compare the coldness settling over my skin to that wretched adventure from two winters ago.
A cool draft whispers against the nape of my neck. The soft swish of a heavy cloak dragging along the marble floor echoes in the throne room. Frost spiderwebs beneath my leather boots, chilling my feet into a deep ache. Only one person in the kingdom of Elysia controls such powerful magic.
“Rise, young Tracer.” Queen Hiema’s voice comes like a breath of snow.
I finally straighten from my deep bow, spine protesting, neck and shoulders stiff. By the time I lift my eyes, the Winter Queen has already made her way onto the dais in front of me, though she doesn’t sit on the throne. My breath hitches at the sight of the queen. In person, her cold and terrible beauty is more devastating than even the most vivid descriptions sung by the bards. Pale lashes frame cat-like eyes the color of ice chips. Lips stained a deep wine red, long fingernails painted gold and studded with diamonds.

13 comments:

  1. Posted on behalf of Elsie. My feedback will follow soon!

    Query:
    Umpteen year old Ebraham hunts silvertongues--those born with a voice capable of controlling minds. (ooh, I like this) With the aid of a magicked amulet, an uncanny ability to read people, and just a touch of overconfidence, he has become Elysia's most renowned silvertongue hunter. (Ooh, and I like that too!) So when the Winter Queen commands him to capture the silvertongue who has infiltrated the Fifth Regiment, he is sure he'll have this mission closed in a blink.
    Until he discovers the regiment’s beloved Captain Alivia Youngblood is the hidden silvertongue. A brilliant military strategist, Youngblood may be the key to finally turning the tides of a decade-long war against the Vigilanthams, the kingdom's mortal enemy. However, with orders from the Winter Queen to seize Dark Water Point--a Vigilantham stronghold impossible to breach--it appears that the Fifth Regiment is doomed to a suicidal battle. . . (unless someone comes up with a plan to save them all. This is the only part that I wonder if you need.)
    Caught in a world of lies and deceptions, Ebraham must decide who the kingdom's real enemy is: the hidden silvertongue, or the Queen he serves.
    OMG! Killer last lines.

    That’s was an awesome read for me. I suggest adding his age and that’s it – Excellent.

    First 250 Words:
    I once chased a silvertongue up the twenty-third peak of the Devil’s Ridgeback in the dead of winter. (that’s a fabulous first line for me) Didn’t have a cloak, furs, gloves, or anything a sane person would think to wear in the middle of a blizzard. Nearly lost my left ear to frostbite, and two toenails blackened and fell off afterwards. (great details – love this) Still caught the silvertongue at the end though, and that’s what matters—placing the mission above all.
    Now I can’t help but compare the coldness settling over my skin to that wretched adventure from two winters ago. (** here, bowed mention?)
    A cool draft whispers against the nape of my neck. The soft swish of a heavy cloak dragging along the marble floor echoes in the throne room stills me?Took me two reads to realize he was describing the changes occurring at her presence. Maybe a snippet for clarity in here?) Frost spiderwebs beneath my leather boots, chilling my feet into a deep ache. Only one person in the kingdom of Elysia controls such powerful magic.
    “Rise, young Tracer.” Queen Hiema’s voice comes like a breath of snow. (wow)
    I finally straighten from my deep bow (might also mention above he was in a bowed position? **) , spine protesting, neck and shoulders stiff. By the time I lift my eyes, the Winter Queen has already made her way onto the dais in front of me, though she doesn’t sit on the throne. My breath hitches at the sight of (the queen her?). In person, her cold and terrible beauty is more devastating than even the most vivid descriptions sung by the bards. Pale lashes frame cat-like eyes the color of ice chips. Lips stained a deep wine red, long fingernails painted gold and studded with diamonds.

    Okay, so hard core love this. Beautiful writing and gorgeous imagery. I am sad I ran out of words. I made two minor suggestions about clarity but I think this is fabulous. Just lovely.

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

    ReplyDelete
  2. All comments are my opinions. Please take what helps and forget the rest.

    Query:
    Ebraham (How old?) hunts silvertongues--those born with a voice capable of controlling minds. (OMG I LOVE THIS!) With the aid of a magicked amulet, an uncanny ability to read people, and just a touch of overconfidence, he has become Elysia's most renowned silvertongue hunter. So when the Winter Queen commands him to capture the silvertongue who has infiltrated the Fifth Regiment, he is sure he'll have this mission closed in a blink. (he's cool...and he knows it...)
    Until he discovers the regiment’s beloved Captain Alivia Youngblood is the hidden silvertongue. A brilliant military strategist, Youngblood may be the key to finally turning the tides of a decade-long war against the Vigilanthams, the kingdom's mortal enemy. However, with orders from the Winter Queen to seize Dark Water Point--a Vigilantham stronghold impossible to breach--it appears that the Fifth Regiment is doomed to a suicidal battle. . . unless someone comes up with a plan to save them all.
    Caught in a world of lies and deceptions, Ebraham must decide who the kingdom's real enemy is: the hidden silvertongue, or the Queen he serves.
    (LOVE! LOVE LOVE! Wanna read it!)

    First 250 Words:
    I once chased a silvertongue up the twenty-third peak of the Devil’s Ridgeback in the dead of winter. Didn’t have a cloak, furs, gloves, or anything a sane person would think to wear in the middle of a blizzard. Nearly lost my left ear to frostbite, and two toenails blackened and fell off afterwards. Still caught the silvertongue at the end though, and that’s what matters—placing the mission above all. (Nice! Good character building, through telling! And I don't care that it's telling. It has voice and awesome details.)
    Now I can’t help but compare the coldness settling over my skin to that wretched adventure from two winters ago. (where is he that he's cold? Set the scene for me a bit. Sights. Sounds. Smells.)
    A cool draft whispers against the nape of my neck. The soft swish of a heavy cloak dragging along the marble floor echoes in the throne room. Frost spiderwebs beneath my leather boots, chilling my feet into a deep ache. Only one person in the kingdom of Elysia controls such powerful magic. (Oh...dude...)
    “Rise, young Tracer.” (Rise from where? Is he sitting?) Queen Hiema’s voice comes like a breath of snow.
    I finally straighten from my deep bow, spine protesting, neck and shoulders stiff. By the time I lift my eyes, the Winter Queen has already made her way onto the dais in front of me, though she doesn’t sit on the throne. My breath hitches at the sight of the queen. In person, her cold and terrible beauty is more devastating than even the most vivid descriptions sung by the bards.(good description!) Pale lashes frame cat-like eyes the color of ice chips. Lips stained a deep wine red, long fingernails painted gold and studded with diamonds. (SHE IS EVIL-ISH AND I LOVE HER I don't have much to say. Maybe a bit more detail...But great start!)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for all the feedback so far! Sounds like adding Ebraham's age in the query and indicating that he's bowing in the opening scene are two changes that could help improve the writing :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. 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 your query. I am intrigued by the concept and I already want to know more. That being said, you can always ramp up the stakes. Currently, Ebraham has very little other than his honor at stake, and I suspect there might be more. For instance is there anything personal between him and this silvertongue? If not it seems like a no brainer to use her to do this one thing the kingdom needs then bring her in post haste. No muss, no fuss. But it can’t be that easy, and I’d like to see a little bit more of how you plan to torment your characters in the novel (yes, I’m evil, sorry, but I’m excited for the story, and you have some GREAT opportunities to really put your characters through the grinder).
    First 250:

    I want more.

    It didn’t even bother me that you hadn’t mentioned him bowing. And I love that you make her seem creepy even before we really meet her.

    Fantastic start, I really want to know more and I have an idea about how things are going to go. Great job.

    (when do we get more?)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you so much for the opportunity to read your work! I really appreciate it.

    I love the rich detail in your query, and the concept of your story. The conflict is clear, and you’ve got a lot of meat here to dig into. Sounds like a lot of great characters I want to get to know.  One of my first thoughts is, could this be a series? You’ve certainly got a lot to work with. Kudos!

    My only question is in your second paragraph – ‘unless someone comes up with a plan to save them all’ – it seems clear that Ebraham will be the one to come up with the plan – he clearly is your hero – not sure how your story will go, of course, but it seems like he should be the one coming up with the plan – will he have helpers? All I’m saying is, don’t give away the power and high stakes you’ve so beautifully established in the first paragraph – give it to your hero. Let him own it! 

    I love this excerpt! You’ve set the scene beautifully, with lots of sensory details. Showing v. telling is an art, and you’re painting with words – excellent! I assume this is Ebraham. I want to get to know him better! As a reader, you had me at hello – I would definitely turn the page and hunker into this story. I wish you all the best!

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  6. Same as above critique - I want to read more ;)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you everyone for the feedback so far! In a different version of my query, my third paragraph is slightly different. I'm not sure if I'm adding too much info with it:

    To make matters more complicated, Youngblood confesses to Ebraham she's going insane. The fate of Elysia lies in the hands of a silvertongue captain slowly losing grip on her mind. Caught in a world of lies and deceptions, Ebraham must decide who the kingdom's real enemy is: the hidden silvertongue, or the Queen he serves.

    The only issue I have with the above ^^ paragraph is that I'm afraid the whole 'mentally unstable/insanity' part comes out of the blue. At the same time, Youngblood slowly losing her mind *does* play a major role in the conflict of the novel.

    Thoughts, please? Do you think I should keep the last paragraph as it is, or use the older version?

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At this point, I don't think you need more complication. What you need is to tie things in so they seem more personal. It's great to save the world, but saving your best friend from the evil scientist planning to use their beating heart to destroy the world has both personal stakes and world stakes. If you have more of that, I'd go that direction. It increases tension.

      Delete
    2. Okay--gotcha!

      So elaborating a bit more on the relationship between Ebraham and Youngblood would help make the stakes more personal, correct?

      If so, how about a final paragraph like this:

      Caught in a world of lies and deception, Ebraham must decide who the kingdom's real enemy is: the Queen he serves, or the silvertongue he has grown to respect.

      Delete
  8. I AM VOTING FOR THIS ONE!!!! VOTE VOTEY VOTE

    ReplyDelete
  9. Posted on behalf of Elsie:

    You have one of Elsie's Votes!

    ReplyDelete

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