Sunday, January 8, 2012

Entry #97

Genre: Fantasy

Log Line:
Half-human Tel has one chance to outwit her world’s brutal colonists, if she can overcome her dishonorable past, the deadly secret sleeping in her blood, and a handsome star-elemental weaving his own mysterious plots.

First 250 Words:
I was ten years old before I learned my absent, nameless father had given me anything more than dark red eyes and fur.

Marikha’s insufferable twins dared me up the most dangerous trail we knew. After convincing them to join me, or be shamed, I realized my mistake. With the twins behind me, I couldn’t turn back.

On a ledge fifty feet below, teal trees caught the sunlight. The rest of the canyon sank into afternoon shadows. But the wind was cool and clean up here, not the stuffy air in our safe den. If we followed the forbidden trail to a ridgeline only a few dozen feet higher, we might glimpse the blue-green grasslands to the south. Northward, the cliffs rose to the uplifted plateau of the Red Hills, wrapped in autumn storms.

Fuzzy white seed-puffs drifted between red sandstone and lavender-blue sky. One puff got too close to my nose. I sneezed.

“Tel’s sick,”said one twin.

“Tel’s always sick,” said the other.

I was small enough to turn on the trail, taunting the bigger twins with sneeze after sneeze, only some of them real. One twin lunged forward to nip me. I hopped back, drew a deep breath to yell a happy insult.

A seed-puff lodged in my throat. My eyes watered. As I felt a coughing fit approach, I wedged my body against the cliff wall. Amid my sneezing and hacking, one of my weak forepaws skidded off the edge. I lost my balance, and dropped headfirst.


  1. Hmm. About the log line--I'm a little confused by it. I want to see something universal that I'm connected to, although it is full of interesting elements from your novel. :)

    I was surprised when your MC turned out to be 10 years old, since the "handsome star elemental" sounded YA to me. Made me expect a love interest.

    I love the description in the paragraph which started out "On the ledge". Absolutely loved how I got a feel for what the world is like, with phrases like "stuffy air in our safe den." However, I didn't feel the tension that she is scared to be up on a dangerous place.

    I am fascinated by your world building, and your characters--I'm hooked!

  2. Thanks, Heather. I know that other folks have been confused by the protag's age, but I had to start the story with the first defining incident of her life: the fall when she was 10. Most of the book takes place when she's 18, and it's very adult (I don't write YA).

    This book earned personalized rejections from three agents and two editors. The first 14K won Honorable Mention in the Writers of the Future contest last year, and the whole mms won third place in a Random House-sponsored contest. It also got 66 form rejections or no-responses in a year and a half. I've trunked it for now. At 140K, it needs to be split apart and clarified. I'm working on shorter projects at the moment.

    1. The first 250 have me very interested – and I seldom read fantasy. The writing is crisp and clear, with lots of good sensory detail. World-building has already begun and you’re showing it nicely. And you get right to the initial conflict!

      The logline as it relates to Tel suffers from being too generic – not specific to *your* story (She has ‘one chance’, a ‘dishonorable past’, and a ‘deadly secret’.) Yeah – I know – what can one do with 100 words? – but with the quality of writing of your sample, I bet you can come up with a succinct phrase or two, replacing the vague with the particular.

      Good luck!


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