GUTGAA

GUTGAA Pitch Polish, A Contest & A Little Fun

I’m all over the place today. Busy, busy me. ^_^

First up, I made it into the GUTGAA Pitch Polish. Out of a whopping 109 entries, you’ll find my query (and the first 150 words of my story) sitting with the fantasies at Entry #90.

I don’t know how Deana managed to do it all, getting those entries up for us. Really I just don’t. She mustn’t have slept.
Now it is a Pitch Polish, so it would be much appreciated if you dropped by and gave some constructive criticism. I won’t bite, honest.
I’ll be swinging by the other entries myself to offer my thoughts.

Second on the list but really first place equal, I also managed to enter the Agent Contest over at Writerly Rejects. Entry #9 there (hmm … 9 … 90 … I’m sensing a pattern). Swing by here if you’ve time and you’ll find my first attempt at a Tagline and the first 250 words of my story.

Now for the bit of fun … since the story in both of those entries is Dragon. Here’s a little something different from my current WiP: Dark One’s Mistress. A fantasy novel. Again, constructive criticism is appreciated. I’d love to hear what you think.

Update: There are two versions here: Version 2 and Version 3. Please, do let me know if who resonates more than the other, or if you see something from either that would work better together as Version 4.

Query:
Version 2
Seventeen-year-old Clara wants nothing more than to regain her freedom. Kidnapped, she has been given over to the kingdom’s newly-made Lord, Lucias. Chosen from a group of similarly-stolen women, Clara soon discovers that her worse fear is true. Lucias is in need of an heir, its conception to be before the new moon.

Despite Lucias’ charm and good-looks, Clara is determined not to be his mistress. Never mind his ultimatum of deciding when she’ll come to him if she doesn’t choose on her own, there’s the small matter of him stealing souls. And there’s the ever-nearing threat of his mother, Lenora of Ne’ermore, an old enemy and ex-prisoner of the kingdom. She is sending her pet barbarian to slaughter Lucias and, to ensure no chance of an heir, Clara.

Escape is Clara’s plan, whether through persuasion or force. At least, until she learns that if Lucias dies without an heir, the soulless men enslaved in his army will be free to terrorise the land once again. Now Clara is caught in a choice between regaining her freedom or saving the kingdom before death comes to take away everything and escape is no longer an option.

Version 3

Snatched right off the streets of Everdark, seventeen-year-old Clara is given over to the kingdom’s newly-made Lord, Lucias. She is picked from a group of similarly-stolen women and soon discovers that her worse fear is true: their Lord is in need of an heir, its conception to be before the new moon.

Despite Lucias’ charm and good-looks, Clara is determined not to be his mistress. Never mind his ultimatum of coming to him willingly or be forced, there’s the small matter of him stealing souls. To complicate things further, Lenora of Ne’ermore, an old enemy and ex-prisoner of the kingdom, is sending her pet barbarian to slaughter Lucias. To ensure no chance of an heir, Clara has to die as well.

Clara needs to escape, whether through force or persuasion. But then she learns that if Lucias dies without an heir, the soulless men enslaved in his army will be free to terrorise the land once again. Now Clara is caught in a choice between regaining her freedom or losing it completely for the good of the kingdom. She doesn’t have long to decide before death comes to take away everything and escape is no longer an option.

First 150 Words:
“Clarabelle!” The cry rang out, scattering the pigeons resting atop the roofs and sending the nearby cats into a fit of hissing as they scampered for cover.
Clara halted on the edge of the street, her face burning as the echo of her mother’s manly bellow continued. All around her, men and women paused in their daily business. The street gained an eerie silence. In the past, she’d heard worldlier folk boast that such deathly quiet could only be heard here in Everdark.
Then someone coughed, another person sneezed, and the sounds flooded back. The hum of talk. The clink of coins. A few turned to stare at her, the young woman in question, but mostly, the irate cry seemed to be forgotten.
A sigh huffed through her lips. Why does she have to scream like that? She contented herself with the roll of her eyes, wishing the heat in her cheeks would fade.
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11 thoughts on “GUTGAA Pitch Polish, A Contest & A Little Fun

  1. Hi. I figured you'd get a ton of advice on the query up on Pitch Polish, so I thought I'd comment on this one. 🙂

    Never has freedom become so important to Clara, yet so difficult to obtain.

    This doesn't feel strong enough as a first line, and it seems to skip tenses. Or something. I can't put my finger on what. I also want to know from the beginning how old Clara is because that will affect how I relate to the character. Also, the line about Lucian's mother killing him skips POV from Clara as the MC of the query to Lucian. It's a little confusing. So, I was thinking maybe something like:

    Seventeen-year old Clara wants nothing more than her freedom. Spirited away from her home, she's been given over to the newly-made dark Lord, Lucias. It turns out he needs an heir and Clara has been chosen to produce his first child.

    Before I go any further, I wanted to suggest that you might want to rethink the phrase, “Dark Lord.” There's nothing wrong with the name other than that it's so prevalent in the Harry Potter series that a ton of people will automatically equate it with Lord Voldemort.

    Yet she is determined not to become his mistress. Despite Lucias' charming manner and good looks, there’s the small matter of him stealing souls. This felt like it should be switched around a bit. IE: Despite Lucias' charm and good-looks, Clara is determined not to be his mistress. After all, there's the small matter of him stealing souls.

    And, eventually, his mother’s pet barbarian will barge in to slaughter him. Then her.

    I didn't understand this part at all. Who is the pet barbarian? Why would Lucias' mother kill her son and the baby's new mother? This part feels like it needs more detail to work.

    But is escape really an option? If the Lord dies without an heir, then not only does it leave the kingdom defenceless, but the soulless men enslaved in his army will be free to terrorise the land once again.

    That was a really long sentence. Maybe you could shorten it to something like: Escape is the plan until Clara learns that if the Lord dies without an heir, the soulless men enslaved in his army will rise up against the now-defenseless kingdom.

    Clara is caught in a choice between regaining her freedom or saving the kingdom before death comes to destroy both.

    Both what? her freedom and the kingdom or her and Lucias'? The wording here felt a little off.

    As far as the first 150, I loved it!! The only suggestion I had for that would be this sentence: A few turned to stare at her, the young woman in question, but mostly, the irate cry seemed to be forgotten.It's understood that Clara is the young woman in question, so I'd leave that part out.

    Other than that, you have a great voice that instantly drew me into the story. Nice job on this!!

    I have mine up Pitch up on my website too but I got a bunch of comments, so I'd actually like your help with something else if you have a minute? I am having a super hard time choosing a title for my book. If you could hop over to my blog real quick and tell me which one you like out of my choices, I'd really appreciate it!!

    I didn't get to you on the meet and greet bloghop. There were just too many blogs to visit. I'm glad I found you now though. I'm always looking for new writer friends, so you have a new follower. 🙂 Good luck with GUTGAA!

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  2. Wow.
    Firstly, thanks for such an in-depth breakdown. I know the query needs much work. It's the first version. ^_^
    I've posted the second version. Let us see how that fairs. ^_~

    And I've four comments on my Pitch Polish entry so far. Does that qualify under tons? Well, the week is young and Dragon's query is as baby-new as DOM's.

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  3. 🙂 You're welcome. I hope it helped. Queries are such a pain in the ass!! I rewrote mine about–no exaggeration–twenty-five times. I think I finally got it right, but I couldn't have done it without all the people who critiqued it for me.

    And I'm sure you'll get more comments as the week goes on. Thanks for coming by my blog!

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  4. Okay. I just went back and read your revised copy. WOW! Way better. I think it's really good. Nice job! I think you have a typo in this sentence:

    Kidnapped, she is been given over to the kingdom's newly-made Lord, Lucias.

    That's supposed to be she has been

    You really cleaned this up though. I think it's clear and concise and gets the conflict of Clara's story across really well.

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  5. Really, when things are perfect, how can you improve them?

    Well done, well done. I *love* it!

    did I mention it was good?

    Thanks for commenting on my query. I haven't revised yet. I have been almost non-stop trying to make it around to everyone's blogs to say hi and introduce myself. I kinda feel like I already “know” you, but still wanted to say hi. AND wish you the best of best luck this month with GUTGAA:)

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  6. Seventeen-year-old Clara wants nothing more than to regain her freedom.< -- I'D CUT THIS AND START WITH SOMETHING LIKE: AFTER BEING STOLEN FROM (WHEREVER SHE WAS KIDNAPPED FROM), SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD CLARA IS given over to the kingdom's newly-made RULER, Lucias. Chosen from a group of similarly-stolen women, Clara soon discovers that her worse fear is true. <--STRUCTURE OF THIS SENTENCE AND THE ONE BEFORE ARE TOO SIMILAR. CAN YOU CHANGE THEM UP? Lucias is in need of an heir, its conception to be before the new moon. <-- KEEP THE FOCUS ON CLARA. SOMETHING LIKE: "SHE HAD BEEN SELECTED TO BIRTH THE KINGDOM'S HEIR -- AND CONCEPTION MUST HAPPEN BEFORE THE NEW MOON." MAYBE CONSIDER THROWING IN HOW LONG SHE HAS. Despite Lucias' charm and good-looks, Clara is determined not to be his mistress. ODD? GENERALLY BABIES BORN OUT OF WEDLOCK CAN'T BECOME HEIRS. Never mind his ultimatum of deciding when she'll come to him if she doesn't on her own, < -- I THINK THERE'S A TYPO IN HERE. OR SOMETHING'S MISSING, BECAUSE THIS SENTENCE DOESN'T MAKE SENSE. ALSO, IF YOU'RE GOING TO USE THE WORD ULTIMATUM, YOU MIGHT WANT TO FORM THIS IN A MORE DIRECT FORM: "EITHER SHE'D GO TO HIM OR... WELL, THERE'S ALWAYS THE OPTION OF STEALING HER SOUL." OR SOMTHING LIKE THAT. there's the small matter of him stealing souls. TO COMPLICATE THINGS FURTHER, Lenora of Ne'ermore, an old enemy and ex-prisoner of the kingdom, IS sending her pet barbarian to slaughter Lucias. TO ensure no chance of an heir, Clara HAS TO DIE AS WELL. DOES CLARA KNOW THIS? IF NOT, YOU CAN'T USE IT IN YOUR QUERY LIKE THIS, BECAUSE YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE WRITING IT FROM HER POV IN HER VOICE. CLARA NEEDS TO ESCAPE, whether through persuasion or force. BUT THEN SHE learns that if Lucias dies without an heir, the soulless men enslaved in his army will be free to terrorise the land once again. Now Clara is caught in a choice between regaining her freedom or saving the kingdom before death comes to take away everything and escape is no longer an option. < --IF ESCAPE IS NO LONGER AN OPTION, THEN THERE'S NO CHOICE BETWEEN REGAINING HER FREEDOM AND SAVING THE KINGDOM. ALSO, YOU CAN REWORD THE SENTENCE IN A WAY THAT THE CHOICE IS SEPARATED FROM THE STAKES. BECAUSE THE STAKES ARE THE FINAL CHANCE TO HOOK THE READER. Your story sounds like an awesome read. I hope my crit is of some use to you!

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  7. Thank you for reading through my query. That was the second version (I've left it up along with the third). And she does indeed know it all.
    Though her belief is wrong, I don't want to get too specific in the ultimatum and turn people off because of something that doesn't happen. Your re-wording suggestion is wonderful, but sadly, he cannot do that. No soul, no baby.

    If you feel up to it, please do check out my query entry for GUTGAA. DRAGON, #90 Newest version in the comments. ^_^

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