Monday, April 18, 2011

Submission Eliza

Name: Eliza Tilton
Title/Genre: Broken Forest: A Keening Blade Novel YA Fantasy
Pitch: 17yr old Avikar thought he was rescuing his sister from bandits, not a reptilian lord planning a world invasion.

1st 250 words:

The blueberry patch looked like a grisly crime scene. Avikar’s stomach turned as he studied the red and blue stains, covering the ground in a sloppy mess. He knelt down, swiped his pointer across the sticky substance and smelled it. Raspberries, he concluded. Thank goodness, it’s not blood. Footprints smeared the grass in a tangling design. Calli’s were the easiest to spot. He tracked her steps to where he saw two wicker baskets. One had been smashed into splinters.

Derrick stared down at the last place Jeslyn had been. “Do you think that she’s still…I mean she has to be okay.” His hand grasped the wooden emblem that dangled from his neck.

Avikar turned to his friend and put a hand on his shoulder. “I don’t know what it is, but I know she’s still alive. We’re going to find her.”

Derrick’s chin quivered, but he held his ground. “Let’s hurry, then.”

Avikar traced each step, imagining how the attack unfolded. He pictured the men his five-year-old sister, Calli, described. He was still amazed she managed to escape. The kidnappers would have headed west towards the main trade road.

His eyes spotted a red silk ribbon stuck on a tree branch, swaying in the wind. He grabbed it and held it in his hands.

“Find anything?” Derrick asked.

Avikar nodded and handed over the soft material.

Derrick’s face paled. He slowly wrapped the precious item around his wrist. “I gave this to her yesterday,” he replied in a strained tone.


  1. Fast-paced start. I like it. Of course, I also want to know if "she's still....."

    The pitch is strong. Everything seems just as it isn't, sort of thing.

    The beginning would be stronger to me if the first sentence was eliminated altogether. Instead of "soft material," naming the item (scarf, hair band, etc) would be clearer.

    Sounds like the start of a strong story.

  2. Your pitch got me to read more, so good job on that. :)
    I LOVE the imagery in the first paragraph. A fight in a blueberry patch? That's so awesome. I especially liked the detail with him testing the redness to make sure it was only raspberries. (Now that I think of it though, you may want to just say it's a berry patch, since I wasn't picturing raspberries from the very first sentence.)
    I do feel a little bit like I walked into the middle of the book though. The MC is obviously worried about Jeslyn, who I assume was in the middle of this fight or whatever it was in the berry patch. But I don't know enough about the MC or Jeslyn to feel that same worry. I don't know anything about your story, obviously, but it seems like maybe the story could start earlier. Maybe we see the MC with Jeslyn in a really great opening scene, and then it goes to this one. I just want to be able to really feel like this is a tragic thing that J is missing. I want to be right there with them hoping that she's still alive.
    One other little thing. I did get confused when he mentions his little sister. I thought for a sec that she was the one that was kidnapped.
    With all that said though, I think your story sounds really interesting. Good job on the pitch! And your writing is good. :)

  3. I love the tension and pace of this. From the very first sentence I was pulled in and wanted to know what happened next. I would definitely read more!