Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Entry 2 mshatch

Title and genre: The Way to Dendara/YA fantasy
Contact: marcy@tidewater.net

Pitch: Lucy, a young woman with bad dreams and a tragic past, inherits a kingdom. But it isn't the nice kingdom with the fairies and elves and wood sprites. It's the other one.

Second line, first paragraph: No return address, no postage, not even any tape to keep the paper from being torn.

First 250, second chapter: She saw it as soon as she woke. The creature. The thing that had stolen her away, standing by the only door, waiting, watching her with a cat’s yellow eyes. She looked around, noting the ornate bed and heavy velvet drapes, pulled back and tied.

This was not her room.

Dreaming, she thought, still dreaming. She closed her eyes and told herself to wake up, but when she opened her eyes again everything was just the same.

The room was immense, the size of her flat, and as richly appointed as the bed. The decor was French, all rococo and curved lines, plush upholstery in deep, vibrant colors. She could smell incense burning.

The creature hadn’t moved, still stood by the tall wooden door, watching her with its amber eyes. She had thought at first it was some horribly deformed person. She had hoped. But now she saw there could be no doubt about its lack of humanity. It was not a person at all. No person she’d ever seen had ridges or scars so perfectly made. No person was ever so tall or had hands like claws and no one wore leather armor except in books or movies.

She shuddered. Not real, she told herself. Couldn’t be. A dream. She would simply get up and leave, and this dream would slip into another from which she could awake.


  1. Hello mshatch! Congrats on making it into the contest!

    Pitch Comments: Actually I REALLY enjoyed your pitch! It sucked me right in with its wit. My only quibble is that I wish you'd gone on to say exactly what the 'other one' entailed, if even just in a passing manner. For instance: It's the other one, the one people are usually trying to escape from. Or some such. I get the idea the way you have it worded (I'm thinking unseelie folk, goblins etc) but the 'ideal' kingdom is so well described, I want a little more about the not-so-great kingdom too.

    Second Line Comments:

    I liked the second line a lot. I want to know what the letter pertains to, is it old paper is it handwritten. I'd totally read on to find out. My only ? moment is about the tape, because I don't normally get letters with tape on them. Unless you're meaning that there's nothing to keep the letter closed, like glue.

    First 250 of the Second Chapter Comments:

    Yeah, okay, no bantering about... I am HOOKED. Like I want to keep reading NOW. Seriously.

    My only remarks are about the creatures eyes, which in the first paragraph you describe them as a 'cat's yellow eyes' which made me think like sungold yellow, and then later you called them amber, which makes me think more harvest orange like tree amber.

    Second remark refers to the line 'No person she'd ever seen had ridges or scars so perfectly made.' I know (I think) what you're going for here. In my head I see a creature with maybe bony ridges on various parts of its face/anatomy, and ritual-type scarification, or something. But the sentence as is reads clunky and awkward. Perhaps because you've put the ridges, which seem to be part of the creature's natural given form, with the scars, which seem to have been created by it or another outside force.

    Overall, like I already said, I'm so totally sold on your story it's ridiculous. Very good, and I can't wait to see it on shelves! Good luck and happy writing! :)

  2. Hey Marcy!


    At first I was going to quibble about all the fragment sentences, but then found I really liked them. I love the voice here.

    Now, for the pitch. For one thing, as Artemis said, I have no idea what "It's the other one" means, exactly. More importantly, though, I don't know what the book is actually about. What's her goal? To clean up the kingdom? To oust some horrible underling who has control right now? I can imagine a lot of different things, but right now I'm not seeing what it's about. Try to include the basics: inciting incident, goal, obstacle, and stakes.

    The only other comments I have are, like Artemis, about the creature. I wanted a clearer image earlier on in reading. "Creature" doesn't scare me. We don't need info dump or anything, but perhaps a word or two of description a little earlier in the paragraph would help.

  3. Hi Marcy,

    Nice. Just nitpicking here.
    Pitch: I would delete "a young woman with bad dreams and a tragic past" and maybe add a bit of what's to come. I did get what she means by the other one. It would be the opposite.

    I like your second sentence. Nice.

    I felt the snippet focused too much on her believing it a dream rather than tension of what is around her. Which is fine if that is your intent. Giving us a bit of visual of the monster would probably help with that. Even in a dream with monsters may frighten someone, maybe??? Just thoughts. Overall good job!

  4. Marcy--

    Definitely intrigued. The pitch makes me think the story will be similar in tone to TITHE, which I'd say is a plus. Not sure we need to know about her tragic past in the pitch - I'd be happy to get a few more words about where this is going.

    As for the chapter section - her denial brought me a bit out of the story. I want to see her engaging - mentally, if not physically or verbally - with the world around her. The language, especially the part when she starts listing why the creature can't be human, felt quite distant to me.

    Good luck!

  5. I absolutely have to start by saying your entry definitely developed an atmosphere of anxiety for me. I felt on edge while I read, wondering what was to come.

    Pitch: A couple of things. I like to see the stakes in a pitch, and I am not sure what is at stake for Lucy. Also, "It's the other one" could mean anything to a reader. I have a sense of where you're going, but the sentence is too vague for me. I would like to have just a little more info. about it.

    2nd sentence: I find it hard to comment on since it is taken out of context. But I do like the clipped sentence. It adds, for me, to the sense of something is going to happen.

    250 words: I like your use of sensory imagery, especially the incense burning. Many of us fail to use smell in our writing.
    Nitpicky things: you mentioned the cat's eyes twice. The first time, I would say yellow cat eyes b/c I find myself stumbing over cat's yellow eyes when I read it aloud. But then you mention them again. The second time I think you can eliminate it b/c what else would the creature be watching her with other than its eyes (and the color is different then, as well).
    I would like to be shown more of the details in the room rather than be told they were "plush" or "vibrant". What kind of colors and what were the items in the room? But that's just me.
    Finally, I was thrown by the line "She had thought at first it was some horribly deformed person. She had hoped." I know what you're saying, but I immediatly thought to myself, "Why would you hope to see a deformed person?"

    But I love, love, love the tension you have created! I felt almost nervous reading your passage b/c I had no idea what that creature was going to do! Nice job!