Son of a Pitch Team Ursula Entry 6: NASCENT

soap-FINALTitle: NASCENT

Age and Genre: YA Paranormal

Word Count: 109,000

 

Query:

The love of seventeen-year-old Tori’s life went missing six months ago. In the months since, Tori has managed to spend time in a mental institution, stab her brother, and have full-blown conversations with imaginary people. The doctors say, ‘hallucinations,’ Tori says, ‘crazy,’ but her best friend says ‘ghosts.’ If only ghosts existed, maybe Tori could find Terrance. As it is, finding her sanity seems impossible enough.

Then a questionable traveler accosts Tori at a pop-up carnival and claims all is not lost for Terrance. That is, if Tori is willing to buy into a world of magic and death. On one hand, she could save not only Terrance, but her own crumbling psyche. On the other, there’s the small matter of a would-be necromancer who happens to be controlled by wraith bent on human sacrifice.

Saving Terrance will require digging into the depths of what reality and humanity truly mean. Not to mention her family’s past, where she will unearth secrets her parents would prefer to forget. With time running out, Tori must quickly decide whether to trust what only she can see. If she can’t put that same faith in herself soon, she could lose her love, her family and friends, and ultimately her own life.

 First 250 Words:

Clara isn’t the first person to try forcing me out of the house, but she may be the first to succeed. Not because boozing it up with her and her new bestie, Kelli, is my idea of a good time, but because she’s so dang whiny about it.

“Come on, Tori. My mom won’t be home. The house will be all ours, and I know where she keeps the stash.” 

It’s not like Sherri’s stash is hard to find. Most of it is under her bed, in the back bedroom she thinks we never enter. In the back bedroom, where she thinks she can go to drink and mourn and not affect anyone else. But grief doesn’t work that way. Especially not when the son she’s mourning was one of my closest friends. Not to mention Clara’s brother.

“Tonight’s not a great night.” 

Which isn’t saying much. I’d have to go back a year to reach my last decent night. Back before I spent some of those nights in a mental hospital my fellow crazies and I lovingly termed Hotel Briarwood. Before the incident with my brother that landed me there. I’d have to shoot right past six months ago, when Terrance went missing in the Everglades. I’d have to go all the way back to before the hallucinations and the soundless buzzing frequencies in my head. Thinking about how far back I’d have to go just to feel normal exhausts me. 

 

10 thoughts on “Son of a Pitch Team Ursula Entry 6: NASCENT”

  1. Query:
    This is a concept after my own heart.

    Since you already say it was six months ago, you can just say, “Since then,” instead of “In the months since.”

    “…wraith bent on human sacrifice,” probably should be “a wraith”, or “wraiths”.

    The only thing I would really consider changing significantly here is in the last paragraph, “…Tori must quickly decide whether to trust what only she can see.” This sentence is correct, but I stumbled over it. I would clarify the concept: “Tori must decide whether to put her trust in what other people call reality, or in things only she can see.”

    250:
    This is good writing.
    In the first paragraph, “forcing” caught me up, because I imagined Clara was trying to kick her out of the house, instead of get her to go out. You might consider “hauling” or something, instead.
    You give too much away for the opening pages for my taste. The second paragraph I’d end with “…bedroom she thinks we never enter.” Show us the rest later.
    Similarly, with the last paragraph, you could leave it at, “…go back a year to reach my last decent night.” I’ll bet you sneak this info in later, anyway.
    Great entry!

  2. Query…
    The love of seventeen-year-old Tori’s life went missing six months ago. In the months since, Tori has managed to spend time in a mental institution, stab her brother, and have full-blown conversations with imaginary people. ( I am intrigued!) The doctors say, ‘hallucinations,’ Tori says, ‘crazy,’ but her best friend says ‘ghosts.’ (Ooooh, yes! Ghosts!) If only ghosts existed, maybe Tori could find Terrance. (Who is Terrance?) As it is, finding her sanity seems impossible enough.

    Then a questionable traveler accosts Tori at a pop-up carnival and claims all is not lost for Terrance. That is, if Tori is willing to buy into a world of magic and death. (Yes please!) On one hand, she could save not only Terrance, but her own crumbling psyche. On the other, there’s the small matter of a would-be necromancer who happens to be controlled by wraith bent on human sacrifice. (OMG…YES!)

    Saving Terrance will require digging into the depths of what reality and humanity truly mean. Not to mention her family’s past, where she will unearth secrets her parents would prefer to forget. (This is where you lose me. First of all, is Terrance the guy who went missing six months ago? Second, this is Tori’s story, give me her in here, what does she really want and what is she fighting to get it? What “reality and humanity truly mean”, doesn’t give me Tori and her emotional journey, her change. Family’s past and secrets, these are too vague for me to really sink my teeth into. She’s fighting for herself and her friends…give me what makes your story unique here and up the tension.)

    With time running out, Tori must quickly decide whether to trust what only she can see. If she can’t put that same faith in herself soon, she could lose her love, her family and friends, and ultimately her own life. ( I like this. To trust herself. Good! But why does she have to trust what only she can see? What are these things trying to tell her? Just a bit more here. But dude, you had me at ghosts and wraiths. I’d read this.)

    First 250…
    Clara isn’t the first person to try forcing me out of the house, but she may be the first to succeed. Not because boozing it up with her and her new bestie, Kelli, is my idea of a good time, but because she’s so dang whiny about it. ( I like the voice. I like this mc.)

    “Come on, Tori. My mom won’t be home. The house will be all ours, and I know where she keeps the stash.”

    It’s not like Sherri’s stash is hard to find. Most of it is under her bed, in the back bedroom she thinks we never enter. In the back bedroom, where she thinks she can go to drink and mourn and not affect anyone else. But grief doesn’t work that way. (Love this line!) Especially not when the son she’s mourning was one of my closest friends. Not to mention Clara’s brother.

    “Tonight’s not a great night.”

    Which isn’t saying much. I’d have to go back a year to reach my last decent night. Back before I spent some of those nights in a mental hospital my fellow crazies and I lovingly termed Hotel Briarwood. (Love this) Before the incident with my brother that landed me there. (Interesting) I’d have to shoot right past six months ago, when Terrance went missing in the Everglades. (Oh…no…and he is Clara’s brother?) I’d have to go all the way back to before the hallucinations and the soundless buzzing frequencies in my head. Thinking about how far back I’d have to go just to feel normal exhausts me. (I’m in. I get a great feel for Tori, that she has a complicated past and we’ve just heard about a tiny part. She’s walled herself away because of grief, because of hallucinations. And there’s a great set up for all sorts of weird and creepy fun.)

  3. I’ve updated my Query! I’ll work on the 250 when I get the chance 🙂

    The love of seventeen-year-old Tori’s life went missing in the Everglades and is presumed dead. In the six months since Terrance disappeared, Tori conversed with increasingly realistic imaginary people, accidentally stabbed her brother, and was institutionalized. The doctors say, ‘hallucinations,’ Tori says, ‘crazy,’ but her best friend says ‘ghosts.’ If only Tori believed ghosts existed, maybe she could find Terrance. As it is, finding her sanity seems impossible enough.

    But then a questionable traveler at a pop-up carnival claims Terrance is alive, for now. He’s trapped in the clutches of a necromancer bent on raising a particular soul – even if it requires a few human sacrifices. The carnie insists there’s a way Tori can save Terrance and also regain control of her own crumbling psyche. That is, if she’s willing to buy into a dangerous world of magic.

    With time running out, Tori must quickly decide whether to trust her own eyes, despite what the rest of the world calls reality. If she can’t put her faith in herself soon, she could lose her love, her family and friends, and ultimately her own life.

    NASCENT is a stand-alone YA paranormal/magical realism complete at 109,000.

    1. The love of seventeen-year-old Tori’s life went missing in the Everglades and is presumed dead. In the six months since Terrance disappeared, Tori conversed with increasingly realistic imaginary people, accidentally stabbed her brother, and was institutionalized.

      This is still bugging me a bit…I think it actually flowed a bit better in the original. I’m going over and over it and I can’t say exactly what bugs me, except it doesn’t flow and isn’t punchy enough for a beginning. I’d play with it a bit.

      1. I’m going to take Elsie’s advice for that first sentence, because y’all are totally right.

        “Seventeen-year-old Tori lost the love of her life in the Everglades. In the six months since Terrance’s disappearance, Tori has conversed with increasingly realistic imaginary people and earned a priority ticket to Briarwood Psychiatric Hospital. Where else would she go after accidentally stabbing her brother?”

  4. Since you posted an updated query, I started there. I typically don’t read the originals but I did this time. Great work here!

    The love of seventeen-year-old Tori’s life went missing in the Everglades and is presumed dead. (17yo T lost the love of her life in the Everglades. In the six months since Terrance’s disappearance, Tori has conversed with increasingly realistic imaginary people and accidentally stabbed her brother. Being institutionalized came as a shock to no one. The doctors say, ‘hallucinations,’ Tori says, ‘crazy,’ but her best friend says ‘ghosts.’ If only Tori believed ghosts existed, maybe she could find Terrance. As it is, she’d settle for finding her sanity.
    Tori feels the needle being pushed farther towards cuckoo when a questionable traveler at a pop-up carnival claims Terrance is alive, for now. (just tinkered for fun) He’s trapped in the clutches of a necromancer bent on raising a particular soul – even if it requires a few human sacrifices. (excellent – sacrifices ☺) The carnie insists there’s a way Tori can save Terrance and regain control of her own crumbling psyche. That is, if she’s willing to buy into a dangerous world of magic.
    With time running out, Tori must quickly decide whether to trust her own eyes, despite what the rest of the world calls reality. (good! Wow ☺)If she can’t put her faith in herself soon, she could lose her love, her family and friends, and ultimately her own life. (Putting her faith in herself is definitely an important part of a young woman’s life when battling a necromancer for the soul of her boyfriend, but it doesn’t seem like a strong enough end sentence. Is she going to have to do more than believe to save everyone? If the answer to that question is yes, no sweat. Tweak the sentence to raise tension. If not, what will it take for her to defeat the bad guy? Or to save Terrance? Can she see ghosts? I think the drama in your last sentence needs to be higher – to match the mood of the rest of the query …but other than that, I loved the tone of your story and approach. The tale sounds fun and a bit spooky. I loved Heroes so send in the weird carnies!! Great work! I’ll swing back by to look at your 250.

    Best of luck.

    NASCENT is a stand-alone YA paranormal/magical realism complete at 109,000.

    1. Thank you for your critique and feedback! Your comment about the last line needing more of a ‘punch’ is spot-on.

      “With time running out, Tori must quickly decide whether to trust her own eyes, despite what the rest of the world calls reality. If she can’t defeat the demons inside her and the darkness that surrounds her, she will forfeit not only her life, but the lives of everyone she loves.”

  5. Tweaked First 250:

    Clara isn’t the first person to try coaxing me out of the house, but she may be the first to succeed. Not because boozing it up with her and her new bestie, Kelli, is my idea of a good time, but because she’s so dang whiny about it.

    “Come on, Tori,” she pouts over the phone. “My mom won’t be home. The house will be all ours, and I know where she keeps the stash.”

    It’s not like Sherri’s stash is hard to find. Most of it is under her bed, in the back bedroom she thinks we never enter. In the back bedroom, where she thinks she can go to drink and mourn and not affect anyone else. But grief doesn’t work that way.

    “Tonight’s not a great night.”

    Which isn’t saying much. I’d have to go back a year to reach my last decent night. Back before I spent some of those nights in a mental hospital my fellow crazies and I lovingly termed Hotel Briarwood.

    “It’s never a great night,” Clara huffs. “It’s always, ‘I don’t feel good,’ or ‘tonight isn’t the best,’ or ‘why don’t we try another time?’ But we never do! The only time I see you is when I come over, and you know my mom doesn’t like it when I take the car. She carpooled tonight, so this is one of the only shots we have. Are you seriously going to stay home?”

    I clench my jaw so tight it hurts.

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